Hidden Brain 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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Hidden Brain

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

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Think you can get away with fewer than eight hours of sleep per night? Neuroscientist Matthew Walker says, think again. Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Radio Replay: Eyes Wide Open

When Randy Gardner was 17, he won a world record for going eleven days without sleeping. On this Radio Replay, Randy shares insights from that experience and warns others against copying his stunt. Later in the program, we speak with neuroscientist Matthew Walker about the mind and body benefits of eight full hours of sleep.

Radio Replay: Eyes Wide Open

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Why are some warnings heard, while others are ignored? Angela Hsieh/NPR hide caption

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Angela Hsieh/NPR

The Cassandra Curse: Why We Heed Some Warnings, And Ignore Others

After a disaster happens, we want to know whether something could have been done to avoid it. Did anyone see this coming? Many times, the answer is yes. So why didn't the warnings lead to action? This week, we explore the psychology of warnings with a visit to a smelly Alaskan tunnel, a gory (and fictional) murder plot, and even some ABBA.

The Cassandra Curse: Why We Heed Some Warnings, And Ignore Others

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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/NPR hide caption

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Angela Hsieh/NPR

Our Better Nature: How The Great Outdoors Can Improve Your Life

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 discuss this topic with psychologist Ming Kuo, who has studied the effects of nature for more than 30 years.

Our Better Nature: How The Great Outdoors Can Improve Your Life

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Anthropologist David Graeber says there's a perverse logic that has allowed pointless jobs to proliferate in many workplaces. Yang Liu/Getty Images hide caption

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Yang Liu/Getty Images

BS Jobs: How Meaningless Work Wears Us Down

Have you ever had a job where you had to stop and ask yourself: what am I doing here? If I quit tomorrow, would anyone even notice? This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with anthropologist David Graeber about the rise of what he calls "bullshit jobs," and how these positions affect the people who hold them.

BS Jobs: How Meaningless Work Wears Us Down

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On October 30, 1935, a Boeing plane known as the "flying fortress" crashed during a military demonstration in Ohio — shocking the aviation industry and prompting questions about the future of flight. National Archives hide caption

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National Archives

You 2.0: Check Yourself

The simple "to-do" list may be one of humanity's oldest tools for getting organized. But checklists are also proving essential in many modern-day workplaces, from operating rooms to the cockpits of jumbo jets. As part of our summer You 2.0 series, we explore the power of the humble checklist to help us stay on track and focus on what's important, particularly when pressure is intense and the stakes are high.

You 2.0: Check Yourself

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Even Thomas Edison got it wrong sometimes. In 1890, he marketed this creepy talking doll that was taken off the shelves after just a few weeks. Listen to its horrifying rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs/Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park hide caption

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Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs/Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park

You 2.0: Originals

What does it mean to be an original? As part of our summer series, You 2.0, we talk with psychology professor Adam Grant about innovators and the challenges they face. Adam gives his take on what makes an original, how parents can nurture originality in their children, and the potential downsides of non-conformity.

You 2.0: Originals

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Social psychologist Eli Finkel says the way to improve marriage may be to expect less of it. Gary Waters/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Gary Waters/Getty Images/Ikon Images

You 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

There are signs it's getting even harder. In this episode, we explore how long-term relationships have changed over time and whether we might be able to improve marriage by asking less of it.

You 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

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Renee Klahr

You 2.0: The Ostrich Effect

Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power...right? As part of our summer series, You 2.0, we try to understand why we stick our heads in the sand.

You 2.0: The Ostrich Effect

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Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop

You 2.0: Dream Jobs

Finding a new job may be the solution to your woes at work. But there may also be other ways to get more out of your daily grind. This week, we talk with psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski of Yale University about how we can find meaning and purpose in our jobs.

You 2.0: Dream Jobs

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JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images/Blend Images

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? We kick off this year's You 2.0 series by pondering this question.

You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

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