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Hidden Brain

A weekly human behavior, Arts and Science podcast featuring Shankar Vedantam
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Episodes of Hidden Brain

Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated. But psychologist Harry Reis says there’s another ingredient to successful relationships that’s every bit as important as love.If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! A
It's 1979, and Wendy is eight years old, crying alone in an airport. Then she sees a woman in white walking towards her.In a few weeks we'll be running these episodes exclusively on the My Unsung Hero feed. Please don’t miss any of these wonder
The rift between police and Black Americans can feel impossible to bridge. But in his work with police departments across the U.S., Yale psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff has found novel ways to address the problem.If you like this show, please c
All of us make choices all the time, and we may think we're making those choices freely. But psychologist Eric Johnson says there's an architecture behind the way choices are presented to us, and this invisible architecture can influence decisi
At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work out more, to procrastinate less, or to save more money. Though some people stick with these aspirations, many of us fall short. This week, we r
Justin is  sitting on the side of the freeway, hoping someone will help him fix his busted wheel. Right around the time he’s about to give up, a van pulls over.Would you like to share the story of an unsung hero who helped you in a moment of ne
Bababa, dadada, ahgaga. Got that? Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue what they're saying. To us non-babies, it all sounds like charming, mysterious gobbledegook. To researchers, though, babbling conveys importan
We all have times when we feel like a fraud. Psychologist Kevin Cokley studies the corrosive effects of self-doubt, and how we can turn that negative voice in our heads into an ally.  If you like this show, please check out our new podcast, My
It's 1994, and two men corner Leah on a dark street as she's walking home. Then she sees a car, and a glimmer of hope.To hear more stories like this, subscribe to our new podcast, My Unsung Hero. And we'd love to hear your own story: send a voi
It’s psychologically simpler to see the world in black and white. But reality often comes in shades of gray. This week, how our minds grapple with contradictions, especially those we see in other people. If you like this show, please check out
If you’re working from home, you might be reveling in your daily commute to the dining room table. Or you might be saying, “Get me out of here.” In the final episode of our Work 2.0 series, economist Nicholas Bloom joins us from his spare bedro
Tony is angry at his English teacher, Mrs. Holman, for making him stay after class. But on the last day of school, she takes his hand, and tells him something he'll never forget.To hear more stories like this, subscribe, and enjoy!
Francesca Gino studies rebels - people who practice "positive deviance" and achieve incredible feats of imagination. They know how and when to break rules that should be broken. So how can you activate your own inner non-conformist? This week,
Many of us spend our workdays responding to a never-ending stream of emails and texts. We feel stressed out and perpetually behind on our to-do list. But what if there was a better way to work? This week, we revisit a favorite conversation abou
Today we're sharing another episode of our new podcast, My Unsung Hero. To hear more stories like this, subscribe, and enjoy! It's a few days after her mother's death, and Terri Powers is at the checkout line in a grocery store. As she turns to
The world of play and the world of work are often seen as opposites. But they may have more in common than we think. In the second installment of our new Work 2.0 series, Ethan Mollick makes the case that we can make our jobs more engaging by i
Introducing new ideas is hard. Most of us think the best way to win people over is to push harder. But organizational psychologist Loran Nordgren says a more effective approach is to focus on the invisible obstacles to new ideas. If you like o
We’ve grown accustomed to viewing climate change as an enemy we must urgently defeat. But is that the right metaphor for the greatest existential problem of our time? This week, we consider how to reframe the way we think about life on a changi
Today we're sharing another episode of our new podcast, My Unsung Hero. Subscribe, and enjoy! In 2008, while driving to work, Rick Mangnall crashes into a slab of granite rock. He's hanging upside down in his seatbelt when he sees an old Ford t
In 1978, Judy, Lyn and Donna Ulrich were driving to a volleyball game when their Ford Pinto was hit from behind by a van. The Pinto caught fire, and the three teenagers died. This week, we revisit a 2020 episode with a former Ford insider who p
Self-criticism is often seen as a virtue. But psychologist Kristin Neff says there’s a better path to self-improvement — self-compassion. She says people who practice self-compassion are more conscientious and more likely to take responsibility
My Unsung Hero is here! We're excited to share one of the first episodes of our new podcast. Episode one features listener Jackie Briggs from Portland, Oregon. In 2006, a stranger noticed an unusual mark on Jackie's arm, and realized something
When we want something very badly, it can be hard to see warning signs that might be obvious to other people. This week, we bring you two stories about how easy it can be to believe in a false reality — even when the facts don’t back us up. If
Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. But maybe we should be focusing our energies elsewhere. In this episode from 2020, political scientist Eitan Hersh says there's been a rise in "political hobbyism" in the United
Longtime Hidden Brain listeners know that for years, we've thanked an unsung hero at the end of every episode. Now, we're launching a new show inspired by that tradition. Each week, we'll share a short story about a moment when one person helpe
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