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

From NPR

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

Most Recent Episodes

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You Can't Hit Unsend: How A Social Media Scandal Unfolded At Harvard

Social media sites offer quick and easy ways to share ideas, crack jokes, find old friends. They can make us feel part of something big and wonderful and fast-moving. But the things we post don't go away. And they can come back to haunt us. This week, we explore how one teenager's social media posts destroyed a golden opportunity he'd worked for all his life.

You Can't Hit Unsend: How A Social Media Scandal Unfolded At Harvard

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Dan Gilbert says we're not great at predicting how much we will enjoy an experience in part because we fail to consider all of the details. We think a visit to the dentist will be terrible, but we're forgetting about the free toothbrush, the nice chat with the dental hygienist and the magazines in the waiting room. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images hide caption

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Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

You 2.0: Decide Already!

For the last episode in our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite conversation with Harvard researcher Dan Gilbert. He explains why we're bad at predicting our future happiness, how that affects our decision making, and why we're actually happier after making a decision that feels irrevocable.

You 2.0: Decide Already!

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Every time you give in to your phone or computer that's buzzing with notifications, you pay a price: little by little, you lose your ability to focus. Veronica Grech/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Veronica Grech/Getty Images/Ikon Images

You 2.0: Deep Work

When your phone buzzes or a notification pops up your screen, do you stop what you're doing to look and respond? That's what many of us are doing. Even though we think we should be less distracted by technology, we haven't admitted the true cost of these interruptions. This week, we revisit our 2017 conversation with computer scientist Cal Newport, and consider ways we can all immerse ourselves in more meaningful work.

You 2.0: Deep Work

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You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

Francesca Gino studies rebels — people who practice "positive deviance" and achieve incredible feats of imagination. They know how, and when, to break the rules that should be broken. So how can you activate your own inner non-conformist? This week, we ponder the traits of successful rebels as we revisit our 2018 conversation with Gino.

You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

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Researchers say there's growing evidence that nature has a powerful effect on us, improving both our physical and psychological health. Angela Hsieh hide caption

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Angela Hsieh

You 2.0: Our Better Nature

If you live in a big city, you may have noticed new buildings popping up — a high-rise here, a skyscraper there. The concrete jungles that we've built over the past century have allowed millions of us to live in close proximity, and modern economies to flourish. But what have we given up by moving away from the forest environments in which humans first evolved? This week, we revisit our 2018 conversation about the healing power of nature with psychologist Ming Kuo.

You 2.0: Our Better Nature

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Scarcity can make it difficult for us to focus on anything other than the problem right in front of us. Gary Waters /Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Gary Waters /Getty Images/Ikon Images

You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

When you're hungry, it can be hard to think of anything other than food. When you're desperately poor, you may constantly worry about making ends meet. When you're lonely, you might obsess about making friends. This week, as part of our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite 2017 episode about the psychological phenomenon of scarcity. Researchers say this form of tunnel vision can affect our ability to see the big picture and cope with problems in our lives.

You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

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You 2.0: The Empathy Gym

Some people are good at putting themselves in another person's shoes. Others may struggle to relate. But psychologist Jamil Zaki argues that empathy isn't a fixed trait. This week: how to exercise our empathetic muscles. It's the first episode in our You 2.0 summer series.

You 2.0: The Empathy Gym

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The belief that vaccines cause autism has persisted, even though the facts paint an entirely different story. Renee Klahr hide caption

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Renee Klahr

Facts Aren't Enough: The Psychology Of False Beliefs

Sometimes when we believe something, we resist data that can change our minds. This week, we look at how we rely on the people we trust to shape what we believe, and why emotions can be more powerful than facts. This episode features new reporting and favorite conversations with neuroscientist Tali Sharot and philosopher of science Cailin O'Connor.

Facts Aren't Enough: The Psychology Of False Beliefs

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Our voices convey so much more than just information. They can tell other people something essential about who we are. Angela Hsieh hide caption

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Angela Hsieh

Finding Your Voice: How The Way We Sound Shapes Our Identities

At some point in our lives, many of us realize that the way we hear our own voice isn't the way others hear us. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at the relationship between our voices and our identities. Plus, we hear how advances in technology might help people with vocal impairments, and consider the ethical quandaries that arise when we can create personalized, customized voices.

Finding Your Voice: How The Way We Sound Shapes Our Identities

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Psychologist Phil Tetlock thinks the parable of the fox and the hedgehog represents two different cognitive styles. "The hedgehogs are more the big idea people, more decisive," while the foxes are more accepting of nuance, more open to using different approaches with different problems. Renee Klahr hide caption

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Renee Klahr

The Fox And The Hedgehog: A Story of Triumphs and Tragedy

The Greek poet Archilochus wrote that "the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." This week, we'll use the metaphor of the fox and the hedgehog as a way to understand the differences between tacticians and big-picture thinkers. We'll explore the story of a pioneering surgeon whose hedgehog tendencies led him to great triumphs, and a heartbreaking tragedy. This episode first aired in May 2017.

The Fox And The Hedgehog: A Story of Triumphs and Tragedy

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