Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam

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

  • 49 minutes 10 seconds
    Innovation 2.0: Shortcuts and Speed Bumps

    Most of us love to brainstorm with colleagues. But so often, our idea-generating sessions don't lead to anything tangible. Teams fill up walls with sticky notes about creative possibilities and suggestions for improvement, but nothing actually gets implemented. Some researchers even have a name for it: "innovation theater." This week, we explore the science of execution. Psychologist Bob Sutton tells us how to move from innovation theater . . . to actual innovation.

    You can find all the episodes in our Innovation 2.0 series in this podcast feed, or on our website, hiddenbrain.org

    20 May 2024, 7:00 pm
  • 52 minutes 4 seconds
    Innovation 2.0: The Influence You Have

    Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person would think of you. Chances are that you didn’t stop to think about the pressure you were exerting on that person. This week, we continue our Innovation 2.0 series with a 2020 episode about a phenomenon known as as “egocentric bias.” We talk with psychologist Vanessa Bohns about how this bias leads us astray, and how we can use this knowledge to ask for the things we need. 

    Did you catch the first two episodes in our Innovation 2.0 series? You can find them in this podcast feed or on our website. And if you're enjoying this series, please share it with a friend or family member. Thanks! 

    13 May 2024, 9:20 pm
  • 52 minutes 10 seconds
    Innovation 2.0: Multiplying the Growth Mindset

    Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that people wrote you off? Maybe a teacher suggested you weren't talented enough to take a certain class, or a boss implied that you didn't have the smarts needed to handle a big project. In the latest in our "Innovation 2.0 series," we talk with Mary Murphy, who studies what she calls "cultures of genius." We'll look at how these cultures can keep people and organizations from thriving, and how we can create environments that better foster our growth.

    Do you know someone who'd find the ideas in today's episode to be useful? Please share it with them! And if you liked today's conversation, you might also like these classic Hidden Brain episodes: 

     The Edge Effect

    The Secret to Great Teams

    Dream Jobs

    6 May 2024, 8:00 pm
  • 50 minutes 18 seconds
    Innovation 2.0: How Big Ideas Are Born

    Why is it so hard to guess where we're meant to be? To predict where we'll end up? Nearly all of us have had the experience of traveling down one road, only to realize it's not the road for us. At the University of Virginia, Saras Sarasvathy uses the lens of entrepreneurship to study how we plan and prepare for the future. We kick off our new "Innovation 2.0" series by talking with Saras about how we pursue goals and make decisions.

    Do you know someone who might benefit from our conversation with Saras about expert entrepreneurs? Please share it with them if so! And be sure to check out our other conversations about how to get out of ruts and figure out a path forward: 

    Who Do You Want to Be?

    You 2.0 : How to Break Out of a Rut

    29 April 2024, 10:10 pm
  • 53 minutes 40 seconds
    Parents: Keep Out!

    If you're a parent or a teacher, you've probably wondered how to balance play and safety for the kids in your care. You don't want to put children in danger, but you also don't want to rob them of the joy of exploration. This week, we talk with psychologist Peter Gray about how this balance has changed — for parents and children alike — and what we can do about it.

    For more of our reporting on children and parents, check out these classic Hidden Brain episodes:

    Kinder-Gardening

    Bringing Up Baby 

     

    22 April 2024, 7:00 pm
  • 49 minutes 5 seconds
    The Curious Science of Cravings

    We've all had those days when all we want is a little treat. Maybe it's a bag of chips, an ice cream sundae or a glass of wine. But sometimes, these desires become all-consuming. This week on the show, psychiatrist Judson Brewer helps us understand the science of cravings, and how we should respond to them. 

    If you liked today's conversation, be sure to check out other Hidden Brain episodes about ways to regain a feeling of control over your life: Creatures of Habit and Taking Control of Your Time.

    15 April 2024, 7:00 pm
  • 50 minutes 54 seconds
    What Is Normal?

    Anthropologist Tom Pearson was devastated after his daughter Michaela was diagnosed with Down syndrome. When he began to examine that emotional response, he found himself wrestling with questions that have roiled his field for decades. Early anthropologists would often compare people of different backgrounds and abilities, asking questions like: How is one group different from another? Which one is stronger or smarter? And how do we understand people who don’t fit our expectations? This week, we talk with Pearson about his family’s story, and the evolution of our thinking on disability and difference.

    If you liked today's show, be sure to check out these classic Hidden Brain episodes:

    "Emma, Carrie, Vivian"

    "Why You're Smarter than You Think"

     

    8 April 2024, 7:00 pm
  • 1 hour 38 minutes
    The Transformative Ideas of Daniel Kahneman

    If you've ever taken an economics class, you were probably taught that people are rational. But about 50 years ago, the psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky began to chip away at this basic assumption. In doing so, they transformed our understanding of human behavior. This week, we remember Kahneman, who recently died at the age of 90, by revisiting our 2018 and 2021 conversations with him. 

    If you enjoyed this look at the work of Daniel Kahneman, you might also enjoy our conversations about behavioral economics with Kahneman's friend and collaborator Richard Thaler: 

    Misbehaving with Richard Thaler 

    Follow the Anomalies 

    1 April 2024, 11:40 pm
  • 49 minutes 41 seconds
    Are You Listening?

    Have you ever sat across from your spouse, colleague or friend and realized that while they may be hearing what you're saying, they aren't actually listening? Poor listening can lead to arguments, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships. But the good news is that active, thoughtful listening can profoundly benefit both people in the conversation. This week on the show, psychologist Guy Itzchakov helps us understand where interactions go awry, and how to become a more attentive listener. 

    For more of our work on how to better connect with the people in your life, check out these episodes:

     Why Conversations Go Wrong with Deborah Tannen

    A Secret Source of Connection with Amit Kumar

    Relationships 2.0: What Makes Relationships Thrive with Harry Reis

    Relationships 2.0: How to Keep Conflict from Spiraling with Julia Minson 

     

    25 March 2024, 7:00 pm
  • 49 minutes 34 seconds
    The Ventilator

    Many of us believe we know how we’d choose to die. We have a sense of how we’d respond to a diagnosis of an incurable illness. This week, we revisit a 2019 episode featuring one family’s decades-long conversation about dying. What they found is that the people we are when death is far in the distance may not be the people we become when death is near.

    If you enjoyed today's episode, here are some more classic Hidden Brain episodes you might like:

    The Cowboy Philosopher

    When You Need It To Be True 

    Me, Myself, and Ikea 

    Thanks for listening! 

    18 March 2024, 8:45 pm
  • 49 minutes 59 seconds
    Escaping the Matrix

    A little more than a decade ago, researchers began tracking an alarming trend: a dramatic uptick in anxiety and depression among young Americans. Psychologist Jonathan Haidt, like many other researchers, says the increase is related to our use of social media and devices. But he believes it’s also deeper than that — connected to our deepest moral beliefs and how they shape the way we view the world. He says there are simple steps we can take to improve the mental health of kids growing up in the smartphone era.

    For more of our work on how technology is shaping our lives, check out our two-part series "The Paradox of Pleasure" and "The Path to Enough."  And don't miss our classic episode on social media, "Screaming into the Void."

    11 March 2024, 1:44 pm
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