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Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam

Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.

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Success 2.0: Getting to the Top and Staying There

There are plenty of talented people in the world. So why do only a tiny percentage of us reach the... more

29 May 2023 · 51 minutes
Success 2.0: The Psychology of Self-Doubt

We all have times when we feel like a fraud. In the latest installment of our Success 2.0 series, we... more

22 May 2023 · 49 minutes
Success 2.0: The Obstacles You Don't See

Think about the last time you tried to bring up an idea at work, and it was shot down. What... more

15 May 2023 · 48 minutes
Introducing Hidden Brain+

Do you love the ideas we explore on Hidden Brain and want more of them? Then please join Hidden Brain+,... more

14 May 2023 · 2 minutes
Success 2.0: Getting What You Want

We all rely on incentives to get people to do things they might otherwise avoid. Parents reward kids for doing... more

08 May 2023 · 50 minutes
Success 2.0: Taking the Leap

American culture celebrates those who persevere in the face of adversity. So how do we know when to walk away... more

01 May 2023 · 49 minutes
A Secret Source of Connection

We all have moments in our lives when we see someone who could use a helping hand. It could be... more

24 Apr 2023 · 49 minutes
Remember More, Forget Less

It happens to the best of us — we blank on someone's name, or forget an important meeting, or bomb... more

17 Apr 2023 · 49 minutes
Crying Wolf

It used to be that we tried our best to conceal disadvantages, hardships, and humiliations. But new research explores a... more

10 Apr 2023 · 50 minutes
The Snowball Effect

Why do some companies become household names, while others flame out? How do certain memes go viral? And why do... more

06 Apr 2023 · 48 minutes
Less is More

At every stage of life, there are moments when we need buy-in from other people. Yet most of us make... more

03 Apr 2023 · 48 minutes
How To Make Amends

When James and Donovan first met, they knew little about each other, except that Donovan had stolen James' bike. Donovan... more

27 Mar 2023 · 51 minutes
Made of Honor

Stories help us make sense of the world, and can even help us heal from trauma. They also shape our... more

20 Mar 2023 · 47 minutes
Revealing Your Unconscious: Part 2

In the second part of our series on implicit bias, we explore the relationship between beliefs and behaviors. We also... more

14 Mar 2023 · 52 minutes
Revealing Your Unconscious: Part 1

Would you consider yourself to be prejudiced against people who are different from you? Most of us would say no.... more

13 Mar 2023 · 54 minutes
How Your Beliefs Shape Reality

As you move through the world, it's inevitable that your way of seeing things won't always align with the people... more

06 Mar 2023 · 49 minutes
Happiness 2.0: The Reset Button

Many of us rush through our lives, chasing goals and just trying to get everything done. But that can blind... more

27 Feb 2023 · 55 minutes
Happiness 2.0: Surprising Sources of Joy

Sometimes, life can feel like being stuck on a treadmill. No matter how hard you try to feel happier, you... more

23 Feb 2023 · 45 minutes
Happiness 2.0: Cultivating Your Purpose

Having a sense of purpose can be a buffer against the challenges we all face at various stages of life.... more

20 Feb 2023 · 50 minutes
Happiness 2.0: The Only Way Out Is Through

It's natural to want to run away from difficult emotions such as grief, anger and fear. But what happens when... more

13 Feb 2023 · 48 minutes
Happiness 2.0: The Path to Contentment

Many of us believe that hard work and persistence are the key to achieving our goals. But is that true... more

06 Feb 2023 · 54 minutes
When You Need It To Be True

When we want something very badly, it can be hard to see warning signs that might be obvious to other... more

30 Jan 2023 · 49 minutes
Persuasion: Part 2

Think back to the last time someone convinced you to do something you didn't want to do, or to spend... more

23 Jan 2023 · 50 minutes
Persuasion: Part 1

We all exert pressure on each other in ways small and profound. We recommend movies or books to a friend.... more

16 Jan 2023 · 48 minutes
Who's In Your Inner Circle?

If you think about the people in your life, it's likely that they share a lot in common with you.... more

09 Jan 2023 · 53 minutes
Who Do You Want To Be?

We all have to make certain choices in life, such as where to live and how to earn a living.... more

02 Jan 2023 · 51 minutes
You, But Better

It's the time of year when many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. We pledge to quit smoking,... more

26 Dec 2022 · 49 minutes
How to Complain Productively

We often look down on people who complain a lot. Yet when something goes wrong in our own lives, many... more

19 Dec 2022 · 52 minutes
An Ancient Solution to Modern Problems

People in every country and culture mark important milestones, such as births, marriages and deaths, with intricately choreographed scripts. We... more

12 Dec 2022 · 51 minutes
The Secret to Gift Giving

With the holidays upon us, many of us are hunting for that special something for the special someones in our... more

05 Dec 2022 · 48 minutes
Relationships 2.0: What Makes Relationships Thrive

Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated. In the final episode of our Relationships 2.0 series, we revisit a conversation... more

28 Nov 2022 · 48 minutes
Relationships 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

No one will deny that marriage is hard. In fact, there's evidence it's getting even harder. This week on the... more

21 Nov 2022 · 52 minutes
Relationships 2.0: An Antidote to Loneliness

When you go to a medical appointment, your doctor may ask you several questions. Do you smoke? Have you been... more

14 Nov 2022 · 49 minutes
Relationships 2.0: The Power of Tiny Interactions

As you're going about your day, you likely interact with family, friends and coworkers. These relationships can help you feel... more

07 Nov 2022 · 49 minutes
Relationships 2.0: How To Keep Conflict From Spiraling

When it comes to conflict, most of us just want to shut it down. But psychological research is increasingly taking... more

31 Oct 2022 · 53 minutes
A Better Way to Worry

Anxiety is an uncomfortable emotion, which is why most of us try to avoid it. But psychologist Tracy Dennis-Tiwary says... more

24 Oct 2022 · 52 minutes
Thriving in the Face of Contradiction

We all face tough decisions in life, whether we're juggling the demands of work and family or deciding whether to... more

17 Oct 2022 · 53 minutes
Did I Really Do That?

Have you ever been falsely accused of something? Many of us think there’s only one way we’d act in such... more

10 Oct 2022 · 52 minutes
Watch Your Mouth

If you're bilingual or multilingual, you may have noticed that different languages make you stretch in different ways. This week,... more

03 Oct 2022 · 49 minutes
Taking Control of Your Time

Many of us feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. We struggle to make time for all the... more

26 Sep 2022 · 48 minutes
How to Really Know Another Person

So often, we think we know what other people are thinking. But researchers have found that our attempts at reading... more

19 Sep 2022 · 55 minutes
Decoding Emotions

We like to think that all humans are born with the same core emotions: anger, fear, joy, sadness and disgust.... more

12 Sep 2022 · 52 minutes
Making the World a Safer Place

All of us want to feel safe in our daily lives. Yet when we think about crime, our first response... more

05 Sep 2022 · 49 minutes
You 2.0: How to Open Your Mind

In the United States, we often praise people with strong convictions, and look down on those who express doubt or... more

29 Aug 2022 · 52 minutes
You 2.0: Overcoming Stage Fright

The pressure. The expectations. The anxiety. If there’s one thing that many of us have in common, it’s the stress... more

22 Aug 2022 · 56 minutes
You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

Some challenges can feel insurmountable. But psychologist Emily Balcetis says the solutions are often right in front of our eyes.... more

15 Aug 2022 · 49 minutes
You 2.0: How To See Yourself Clearly

How well do we know ourselves? Maybe the better question to ask is how well can we truly know ourselves?... more

08 Aug 2022 · 50 minutes
You 2.0: Befriending Your Inner Voice

You know that negative voice that goes round and round in your head, keeping you up at night? ... more

01 Aug 2022 · 52 minutes
Reframing Your Reality: Part 2

We often assume that we see ourselves and the world around us accurately. But psychologist Alia Crum says that our... more

25 Jul 2022 · 50 minutes
Reframing Your Reality: Part 1

We often assume that we see ourselves and the world around us accurately. But psychologist Alia Crum says that our... more

18 Jul 2022 · 48 minutes
Separating Yourself from the Pack

Have you ever gotten into a heated argument about politics? Maybe you’ve said something you're not proud of during game... more

11 Jul 2022 · 54 minutes
What We Gain from Pain

We've all heard the saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." But is there any truth to this idea?... more

04 Jul 2022 · 50 minutes
A Founding Contradiction

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Those words, penned by Thomas Jefferson 246... more

27 Jun 2022 · 49 minutes
The Premonition

When Paul Burnham was a teenager, he received what felt like a premonition: he would die at the age of... more

20 Jun 2022 · 49 minutes
Why You're Smarter Than You Think

From the time we are schoolchildren, we are ranked and sorted based on how smart we are. But what if... more

13 Jun 2022 · 48 minutes
Do Less

The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But our desire... more

06 Jun 2022 · 53 minutes
Money 2.0: Let's Go Shopping!

What do the things you buy say about you? Many of us like to think of ourselves as immune to... more

30 May 2022 · 48 minutes
Money 2.0: The Rich and the Rest of Us

Where do you stand on the income ladder? Do you think of yourself as rich, as poor, or as somewhere... more

23 May 2022 · 48 minutes
Money 2.0: Emotional Currency

What’s the point of money? The answer might seem obvious: we need it to get paid for our work and... more

16 May 2022 · 35 minutes
Money 2.0: Why We Bust Our Budgets

Have you had a recent surprise expense? You're not alone. More than half of American households report facing an unplanned... more

09 May 2022 · 52 minutes
Hidden Brain
Do Less
Hidden Brain

Listen now on

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The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But our desire for innovation... more