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
NPR

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

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

toggle caption
Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images/Caiaimage

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/704416322/704512067" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
Angela Hsieh/NPR

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/701632247/702385285" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Ja_inter/Getty Images

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/698563807/699563883" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Mitch Blunt/Getty Images/Ikon Images

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/699310854/699313688" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/697641324/697900156" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/695574984/695577591" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Alex Maxim/Getty Images/All Canada Photos

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/691697963/693672021" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Angela Hsieh/NPR

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/690656459/691406169" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Nick Shepherd/Getty Images/Ikon Images

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/689731270/689779966" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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

toggle caption
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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/688723259/688895424" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Back To Top
or search npr.org