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Hidden Brain
Saturdays at 3pm

Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.

Our audience takes uncommon pleasure in the world of ideas. How do children come to love spicy foods? Why do religions exist? What's the best way to get people to be honest on their taxes? Hidden Brain explores questions like these that lie at the very heart of a complex and changing society.

Hosted by NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain links research from psychology and neurobiology with findings from economics, anthropology, and sociology, among other fields. The goal of Hidden Brain isn't merely to entertain, but to give you insights to apply at work, at home and throughout your life.

Find a list of the latest episodes of Hidden Brain below. Learn more about the show here.

  • Mike fell on the sidewalk, and wasn't able to get up on his own. Then a kind stranger asked how he could help.
  • Stories help us make sense of the world, and can even help us heal from trauma. They also shape our cultural narratives, for better and for worse. This week, we revisit a favorite 2021 conversation with psychologist Ryan Brown, who explores the phenomenon of “honor culture” and how it dictates our beliefs and behaviors. Additional … Made of Honor Read More »
  • In the second part of our series on implicit bias, we explore the relationship between beliefs and behaviors. We also talk with psychologist Mahzarin Banaji about whether research on implicit bias tells us more about groups than it does about individuals.
  • Before going India, Sri warned her daughter to watch out for people trying to steal from them. But when they got there, the opposite happened.
  • Would you consider yourself to be prejudiced against people who are different from you? Most of us would say no. But in the late 1990s, researchers created a test to measure biases that may be hidden from our conscious minds. Millions of people have taken it since, and not everyone likes what they've discovered. This week, we launch a two-part look at implicit bias with psychologist Mahzarin Banaji. We ask how is it that we can hold negative stereotypes — without being aware of them.
  • As you move through the world, it's inevitable that your way of seeing things won't always align with the people around you. Maybe you disagree with the way your neighbor raises her kids, or find your brother's politics to be troubling. But you may not realize how much your core beliefs shape your perception of the world. This week, we talk with psychologist Jer Clifton about how our beliefs shape our reality — and how we can use this knowledge to live happier and more harmonious lives.
  • As Laura undergoes chemotherapy, an X-ray technician says something that makes her feel less self-conscious about her appearance.
  • When he was a teenager, Bob received some helpful advice from an unlikely source.
  • Many of us rush through our days, weeks, and lives, chasing goals, and just trying to get everything done. But that can blind us to a very simple source of joy that’s all around us. This week, in the fourth and final installment of our Happiness 2.0 series, psychologist Dacher Keltner describes what happens when we stop to savor nature, art, or simply the moral courage of those around us.
  • Sometimes, life can feel like being stuck on a treadmill. No matter how hard you try to feel happier, you end up back where you started. What’s going on here? Today in our Happiness 2.0 series, we revisit a favorite episode from 2020. Researcher Elizabeth Dunn helps us map out the unexpected ways we can … Happiness 2.0: Surprising Sources of Joy Read More »