Hidden Brain

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


The Air We Breathe

Jun 12, 2020
36 min
President Trump said this week that a few "bad apples" were to blame for police killings of black people. But research suggests that something more complicated is at play — a force that affects everyone in the culture, not just police officers. In...
Jun 12, 2020 • 36 MIN

A Hidden Brain Commencement Address

May 13, 2020
7 min
Commencement ceremonies allow us to take stock of what we've accomplished and where we're headed. This is one of the key opportunities that students and families have lost, as social distancing precautions lead schools to cancel in-person...
May 13, 2020 • 7 MIN

When Things Click

Feb 4, 2020
50 min
There can be a lot of psychological noise involved in teaching. But what it we replaced all that mental clutter...with a click? This week, we bring you a 2018 episode exploring an innovative idea about how we learn. It will take us from a dolphin...
Feb 4, 2020 • 50 MIN

Secret Friends

Jan 27, 2020
51 min
Where is the line between what is real and what is imaginary? It seems like an easy question to answer: if you can see it, hear it, or touch it, then it's real, right? But what if this way of thinking is limiting one of the greatest gifts of the...
Jan 27, 2020 • 51 MIN

The Cassandra Curse

Jan 20, 2020
35 min
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 revisit a favorite 2018 episode about...
Jan 20, 2020 • 35 MIN

Emotional Currency

Jan 13, 2020
37 min
What's the point of money? The answer might seem obvious: we need it to get paid for our work, and to buy the things we need. But there's also a deeper way to look at the role of money in our lives. This week we explore an anthropologist's take on...
Jan 13, 2020 • 37 MIN

On The Knife's Edge

Jan 6, 2020
27 min
What would drive someone to take another person's life? When researchers at the University of Chicago asked that question, the answer was a laundry list of slights: a stolen jacket, or a carelessly lobbed insult. It made them wonder whether crime...
Jan 6, 2020 • 27 MIN

Creatures Of Habit

Dec 30, 2019
51 min
At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work out more, procrastinate less, or save more money. Though some people stick with these aspirations, many of us fall short. This week, psychologist...
Dec 30, 2019 • 51 MIN

Spoiler Alert!

Dec 23, 2019
30 min
Why do we fall for surprise endings? It turns out that our capacity to be easily fooled in books and movies is made possible by a handful of predictable mental shortcuts. In this 2018 conversation, we talk with Vera Tobin, one of the world's first...
Dec 23, 2019 • 30 MIN

Did That Really Happen?

Dec 17, 2019
50 min
Our memories are easily contaminated. We can be made to believe we rode in a hot air balloon or kissed a magnifying glass — even if those things never happened. So how do we know which of our memories are most accurate? This week, psychologist...
Dec 17, 2019 • 50 MIN

Zipcode Destiny

Dec 9, 2019
51 min
There's a core belief embedded in the story of the United States — the American Dream. Today we look at the state of that dream as we revisit our 2018 conversation with economist Raj Chetty. We'll ask some questions that carry big implications: can...
Dec 9, 2019 • 51 MIN

The Lonely American Man

Oct 14, 2019
49 min
Boys get the message at a young age: don't show your feelings. Don't rely on anyone. This week, we bring you a favorite 2018 episode about misguided notions of masculinity in the United States. We explore how these notions create stressed-out...
Oct 14, 2019 • 49 MIN