Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain

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

Airs on:
SUN 10pm-11pm
53 min

The Halo Effect

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 played a key role in weighing the risks associated with the Pinto. And we consider what his story tells us about a question we all face: is it possible to fairly evaluate our past actions when we know how things turned out? If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter atnews.hiddenbrain.org.
51 min

Being Kind to Yourself

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 for their mistakes. If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help at support.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter atnews.hiddenbrain.org.
5 min

My Unsung Hero: Jackie Briggs' Story

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 was wrong. You can subscribe to My Unsung Hero here.
54 min

When You Need It To Be True

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 you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help atsupport.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
47 min

Passion Isn't Enough

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 States. We treat politics like entertainment, following the latest updates like we follow our favorite sports teams. Instead, he says, we should think of politics as a way to acquire power and persuade our neighbors to back the issues we support.
2 min

Introducing My Unsung Hero

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 helped another in a time of need. And we'll show you how these acts of heroism — some big, some small — transformed someone's life.
50 min

Group Think

How do the groups you identify with shape your sense of self? Do they influence the beer you buy? The way you vote? Psychologist Jay Van Bavel says our group loyalties affect us more than we realize, and can even shape our basic senses of sight, taste and smell.  If you like our work, please consider supporting it! See how you can help atsupport.hiddenbrain.org. And to learn more about human behavior and ideas that can improve your life, subscribe to our newsletter at news.hiddenbrain.org.
23 min

Just Sex

Casual sex typically isn't about love. But what if it's not even about lust? Sociologist Lisa Wade studies "hookup culture," and believes the rules and expectations around sex and relationships are different for college students today than they were for previous generations. This week we revisit our 2017 conversation with Wade, and consider how the pandemic may be changing students' views on hookups and intimacy.