Modern psychology shows that we all have a little bit of Narcissus in us. Most of us like people who remind us of ourselves — whether that is someone else with the same name or the same birthday. Renee Klahr/NPR hide caption

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Renee Klahr/NPR

Me, Myself, and IKEA: What Our Love For Swedish Furniture Says About Narcissism

Are women named Virginia more likely to move to Virginia? Are people with the last name of Carpenter more likely to be carpenters? This week on Hidden Brain, we bring you a favorite 2017 episode about our preference for things that remind us of ourselves, and why this tendency can have larger implications than we might at first imagine.

Me, Myself, and IKEA: What Our Love For Swedish Furniture Says About Narcissism

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A recent study found that black doctors were more effective than non-black doctors at convincing black men to use preventative health services. Angela Hsieh hide caption

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Angela Hsieh

People Like Us: How Our Identities Shape Health And Educational Success

Generations of Americans have struggled against segregation. Most of us believe in the ideal of a colorblind society. But what happens when that ideal come up against research that finds colorblindness sometimes leads to worse outcomes?

People Like Us: How Our Identities Shape Health And Educational Success

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More Divided Than Ever? Excavating the Roots Of Our Political Landscape

Many of us intuitively feel that the bitter partisanship of American politics is bad for our nation. So should we be concerned about the health of our democracy? This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit two of our favorite conversations about U.S. politics. We start by talking with political scientist John Hibbing about the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. Then, we explore the role of conflict in democracy with historian David Moss.

More Divided Than Ever? Excavating the Roots Of Our Political Landscape

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Some People Are Great At Recognizing Faces. Others...Not So Much

It happens to all of us: someone recognizes you on the street, calls you by name, and says hello. You, meanwhile, have no idea who that person is. Researchers say this struggle to read other faces is common. This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit a favorite 2016 episode about "super-recognizers" and the rest of us.

Some People Are Great At Recognizing Faces. Others...Not So Much

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New research suggests that early investments in children's education can have benefits that last for more than one generation. Angela Hsieh hide caption

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Angela Hsieh

What's Not On The Test: The Overlooked Factors That Determine Success

Smarts matter. But other factors may play an even bigger role in whether someone succeeds. This week, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman about the skills that predict how you'll fare in life. We'll also look at programs that build these skills in the neediest of children – and new research that suggests the benefits of investing in kids and families can last for generations.

What's Not On The Test: The Overlooked Factors That Determine Success

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Muslim women praying together in Istiqlal mosque, Jakarta, Indonesia. Afriadi Hikmal/Getty Images hide caption

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Where Does Religion Come From? One Researcher Points To 'Cultural' Evolution

If you've taken part in a religious service, have you ever stopped to think about how it all came to be? How did people become believers? Where did the rituals come from? And what purpose does it all serve? This week, we bring you a July 2018 episode with social psychologist Azim Shariff. He argues that we should consider religion from a Darwinian perspective, as an innovation that helped human societies to thrive and flourish.

Where Does Religion Come From? One Researcher Points To 'Cultural' Evolution

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All The World's A Stage—Including The Doctor's Office

Placebos belong in clinical trials, not in the doctor's office. At least, that's been the conventional wisdom for decades. This week, we ask whether placebos have more to offer than we've realized, and what they might teach us about healing. For research related to this episode, please visit: https://n.pr/2B9v2B0

All The World's A Stage—Including The Doctor's Office

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Social psychologist Keith Payne says we have a bias toward comparing ourselves to people who have more than us, rather than those who have less. Marcus Butt/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Why No One Feels Rich: The Psychology Of Inequality

If you've ever flown in economy class on a plane, you probably had to walk through the first class cabin to get to your seat. Maybe you noticed the extra leg room. The freshly-poured champagne. Maybe you were annoyed, or envious. Social psychologist Keith Payne says we tend to compare ourselves with those who have more than us, but rarely with those who have less. This week, we explore the psychology of income inequality, and how perceptions of our own wealth shape our lives.

Why No One Feels Rich: The Psychology Of Inequality

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Courtesy of Pottermore.com

What Can A Personality Test Tell Us About Who We Are?

The desire to find our tribe is universal. We like to know who we are and where we belong. This fascination has led to a thriving industry built on the marketing and sale of personality tests. These tests offer individuals – and, increasingly, employers – quick and easy insights that can be used to make some of life's biggest decisions. But most fail to stand up to scientific scrutiny. This week, we revisit our 2017 episode about the world of personality testing, and explore the many different ways we assess personality and potential – from the Chinese zodiac to Harry Potter houses to the Myers-Briggs test.

What Can A Personality Test Tell Us About Who We Are?

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What are the reasons for the dramatic decline in anti-gay bias in the United States? Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Radically Normal: How Gay Rights Activists Changed The Minds Of Their Opponents

For generations, living openly as a gay person in the United States was difficult, and often dangerous. But there's been a dramatic change in public attitudes toward gay people. This week, we explore one of the most striking transformations of public attitude ever recorded. And we consider whether the strategies used by gay rights activists hold lessons for other groups seeking change.

Radically Normal: How Gay Rights Activists Changed The Minds Of Their Opponents

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After a long history of civil war and corruption, many Liberians didn't trust their government's attempts to control Ebola. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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Don't Panic: Stories Of Coping Amidst Chaos

Chaos is a part of all of our lives. Sometimes we try to control it. And other times, we just have to live with it. On this week's Hidden Brain, we bring you two of our favorite stories about coping with chaos. They come from our 2016 episodes "Panic in the Streets" and "Embrace the Chaos."

Don't Panic: Stories Of Coping Amidst Chaos

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In March of 2017, the two sets of Bogotá twins, Jorge, William, Carlos and Wilber (left to right), gathered to celebrate Carlos's graduation. Diana Carolina/St. Martin's Press hide caption

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Diana Carolina/St. Martin's Press

What Twins Can Tell Us About Who We Are

In December 1988, two pairs of twin boys were born in Colombia. One twin from each pair was accidentally given to the wrong mother — a mistake that wasn't discovered for decades. The twins' story is a tragedy, a soap opera, and a science experiment, all rolled into one. It also gives us clues about the role that genes and the environment play in shaping our identities. We talk with psychologist Nancy Segal about her work with twins, and her encounters with these now-famous brothers. For research related to this episode, please visit https://n.pr/2uvpvPe

What Twins Can Tell Us About Who We Are

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Researcher Elizabeth Currid-Halkett says celebrity can be boiled down to a simple formula. Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images/Caiaimage hide caption

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Never Go To Vegas

All social classes have unspoken rules. From A-list celebrities to teachers, doctors, lawyers, and journalists — there are social norms that govern us, whether we realize it or not. This week on Hidden Brain, we look celebrity culture, as well as another elite group: the yoga-loving, Whole Foods-shopping, highly-educated people whom one researcher calls the new "aspirational class." This episode is from December 2017.

Never Go To Vegas

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Kate Devlin, who studies human-computer interactions, says we're on the cusp of a sexual revolution driven by robotics and artificial intelligence. Angela Hsieh/NPR hide caption

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Love, Sex, And Robots

From stone statues to silicone works of art, we have long sought solace and sex from inanimate objects. Time and technology have perfected the artificial lover: today we have life-size silicone love dolls so finely crafted they feel like works of art. Now, with the help of robotics and artificial intelligence, these dolls are becoming even more like humans. This week we talk with researcher Kate Devlin about the history of the artificial lover, and consider what love and sex look like in the age of robots.

Love, Sex, And Robots

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For Sale, By Owner: The Psychology Of Repugnant Transactions

You own your body. So should you be able to sell parts of it? This week, we explore the concept of "repugnant transactions" with the man who coined the term, Nobel Prize- winning economist Al Roth. He says repugnant transactions can range from selling organs to poorly-planned gift exchanges — and what's repugnant in one place and time is often not repugnant in another.

For Sale, By Owner: The Psychology Of Repugnant Transactions

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Radio Replay: Playing The Gender Card

Annie Duke was about to win $2 million. It was 2004, and she was at the final hand of the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. But as a woman at a table full of men, she wasn't sure she deserved to be there. In this week's Radio Replay, we tell the stories of two people who grappled with gender stereotypes on the job. Annie Duke shares her experiencing at the World Series of Poker, and then we hear the story of Robert Vaughan, a former Navy sailor who decided to pursue a new career as a nurse.

Radio Replay: Playing The Gender Card

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Are awards a more effective motivator than a cash prize? Economist Bruno Frey says yes. Mint Images/Getty Images/Mint Images RF hide caption

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Mint Images/Getty Images/Mint Images RF

Better Than Cash: How Awards Can Shape Our Behavior

Our modern world is saturated with awards. From elementary school classrooms to Hollywood to the hallways of academia, there's no shortage of prizes — and people who covet them. Yet we rarely stop to ask, do they work? We pose that question to economist Bruno Frey, who argues that awards can have a powerful, positive effect on our behavior — but only if they're designed well.

Better Than Cash: How Awards Can Shape Our Behavior

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Carrie and Emma Buck in 1924, right before the Buck v. Bell trial, which provided the first court approval of a law allowing forced sterilization in Virginia. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University at Albany, SUNY hide caption

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M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University at Albany, SUNY

Emma, Carrie, Vivian: How A Family Became A Test Case For Forced Sterilizations

In 1924, a 17-year-old girl was admitted to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. The superintendent of the colony classified her as "feeble-minded of the lowest grade, moron class." With that designation, this girl, Carrie Buck, was set on a path she didn't choose. What happened next laid the foundation for the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people. This week, we revisit a 2018 episode about the eugenics movement and one of the most tragic social experiments in American history.

Emma, Carrie, Vivian: How A Family Became A Test Case For Forced Sterilizations

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Close Enough: The Lure Of Living Through Others

Today, more and more of us are living through the people on our screens and in our headphones. It's a world just beyond our reach, where we can get the ocean without the seaweed and sunsets without clouds. Where we can experience love without the risk of rejection. It's not real, but for many of us, it's close enough. This week, we explore the dangers, and the delights, of living vicariously.

Close Enough: The Lure Of Living Through Others

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One Head, Two Brains: How The Brain's Hemispheres Shape The World We See

This week, we search for the answer to a deceptively simple question: why is the brain divided? Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist explains why popular distinctions between the "left brain" and "right brain" aren't supported by research. He argues that one hemisphere has come to shape Western society — to our detriment.

For more information about this episode, please visit https://n.pr/2SxITco

One Head, Two Brains: How The Brain's Hemispheres Shape The World We See

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Radio Replay: Creative Differences

What happens when we connect with people whose view of the world is very different from our own? In this month's Radio Replay, we bring you stories about the relationship between diversity, conflict, and creativity. This episode features reporting from our July 2018 podcast, "The Edge Effect," and from one of our 2016 shows, "Tribes and Traitors."

Radio Replay: Creative Differences

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Laura Ogden, Jack Hannan, and Dr. Jones the dog. Courtesy of Laura Ogden hide caption

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Courtesy of Laura Ogden

Rewinding & Rewriting: The Alternate Universes In Our Heads

All of us are time travelers. We go back in history to turning points in our lives, and imagine how things could have turned out differently. Psychologists refer to this as "counterfactual thinking." This week on Hidden Brain, we look at why some events prompt these "What if?" questions, while others do not. This episode originally aired in May 2018.

Rewinding & Rewriting: The Alternate Universes In Our Heads

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How Science Spreads: Smallpox, Stomach Ulcers, And 'The Vegetable Lamb Of Tartary'

We like to think that science evolves in a way that is...rational. But this isn't always the case. This week, we look at how information and misinformation spread in the world of science, and why evidence is often not enough to convince others of the truth. We talk with philosopher and mathematician Cailin O'Connor. For more information about this episode, please visit https://n.pr/2S3onzK

How Science Spreads: Smallpox, Stomach Ulcers, And 'The Vegetable Lamb Of Tartary'

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The Best Medicine: Decoding The Hidden Meanings Of Laughter

If you listen closely to giggles, guffaws, and polite chuckles, you can discern a huge amount of information about people and their relationships with each other. This week, we talk with neuroscientist Sophie Scott about the many shades of laughter, from cackles of delight among close friends to the "canned" mirth of TV laugh tracks. You can find more about the research discussed in this episode here: https://n.pr/2RORlDs

The Best Medicine: Decoding The Hidden Meanings Of Laughter

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