Hidden Brain

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

https://npr.org/series/423302056/hidden-brain

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Alan Alda Wants Us To Have Better Conversations


We've all experienced miscommunications. Their consequences can range from hilarious... to disastrous. The actor Alan Alda — yes, that Alan Alda — wants to help us avoid them.


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   41m
 
 

Starving the Watchdog


When a newspaper shuts down, jobs are lost and local stories go untold. There's also a consequence that's harder to spot, and it has a hefty price tag for residents.


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   30m
 
 

Spoiler Alert!


Why do we always 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. We talk this week with Vera Tobin, one of the world's first cognitive scientists to study plot twists. She says storytellers have been exploiting narrative twists and turns for millennia — and that studying these sleights of hand can give us a better understanding of the contours of the mind.


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   29m
 
 

A Founding Contradiction


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." These words, penned by Thomas Jefferson more than 240 years ago, continue to inspire many Americans. And yet they were written by a man who owned hundreds of slaves, and fathered six children by an enslaved woman. This week, we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed about the contradictions in Jefferson's life — and how those contradictions might resonate in our own lives.


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   44m
 
 

Radio Replay: Bringing Up Baby


We try to translate the mysterious language of babies. And we ask, when should we step back and just let our children be?


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   49m
 
 

The Edge of Gender


Gender is one of the first things we notice about the people around us. But where do our ideas about gender come from? Can gender differences be explained by genes and chromosomes, or are they the result of upbringing, culture and the environment? In this encore episode from October 2017, we delve into debates over nature vs. nurture, and meet the first person in the United States to officially reject the labels of both male and female, and be recognized as "non-binary."


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   52m
 
 

Zipcode Destiny


There's a core belief embedded in the story of the United States: the American Dream. This week we discuss the state of that dream with economist Raj Chetty.


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 2018-11-12  52m
 
 

Sounds Like a Winner


We're used to the idea that rhetoric sways voters. But what about another element of language: a candidate's voice?


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 2018-11-06  26m
 
 

The Lazarus Drug


More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year — many of them from heroin and other opioids. One of the most widely-used tools to confront this crisis is a drug called naloxone. It can reverse an opioid overdose within seconds, and has been hailed by first responders and public health researchers. But earlier this year, two economists released a study that suggested naloxone might be leading some users to engage in riskier behavior — and causing more deaths than it saves...


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 2018-10-29  49m
 
 

Radio Replay: Too Little, Too Much


Have you ever noticed that when something important is missing in your life, your brain can only seem to focus on that missing thing? On this week's Radio Replay, we bring you a March 2017 story about the phenomenon of scarcity, and how it can blind us to the big picture. Then, we go to the opposite end of the spectrum to look at the perils of excess...


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 2018-10-26  49m