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Jennifer Schmidt

Stories

  • The Fee-for-Service Monster
    Hidden Brain

    Slaying The 'Fee-for-Service Monster' Of American Healthcare

    The United States spends trillions of dollars on healthcare every year, but our outcomes are worse than those of other countries that spend less money. Why? Physician and healthcare executive Vivian Lee explains the psychological and economic incentives embedded in the American model of medicine, and makes the case for a different way forward.

  • One hand clasping another hand in a gesture of empathy.
    Hidden Brain

    You 2.0: Empathy Gym

    Some people are good at putting themselves in another person's shoes. Others may struggle to relate. But psychologist Jamil Zaki argues that empathy isn't a fixed trait. This week, in our final installment of You 2.0, we revisit a favorite episode about how to exercise our empathy muscles.

  • A runner crosses the finish line.
    Hidden Brain

    You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

    Some challenges feel insurmountable. But psychologist Emily Balcetis says the solutions are often right in front of our eyes. This week, as part of our annual series on personal growth and reinvention, Emily explains how we can harness our sight to affect our behavior.

  • Multicolored hands grasping each other.
    Hidden Brain

    Creativity And Diversity: How Exposure To Different People Affects Our Thinking

    There is great comfort in the familiar. It's one reason humans often flock to other people who share the same interests, laugh at the same jokes, hold the same political views. But familiar ground may not be the best place to cultivate creativity. Researchers have found that people with deep connections to those from other countries and cultures often see benefits in terms of their creative output. This week, we revisit a favorite 2018 episode about the powerful connection between the ideas we dream up and the people who surround us, and what it really takes to think outside the box.

  • Chapter one typed on paper on typewriter.
    Hidden Brain

    Culture Wars And The Untold Story Of Lyndie B. Hawkins

    In 2019, a novel by a new author, Gail Shepherd, arrived in bookstores. The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins tells the story of a young white girl growing up in the South. The book has been well received, but it is not the book Shepherd intended to write. In her original drafts, Shepherd, a white author, created a Lyndie who was Vietnamese-American, and dealing with issues of race in the deep South. This week we look at what it means to be a storyteller in a time of caustic cultural debate and ask when, if ever, is it okay to tell a story that is not your own?

  • caption: Economist Amir Sufi says debt plays a bigger role in recessions than we typically recognize.
    Hidden Brain

    Buy, Borrow, Steal: How Debt Became The 'Sugar-Rush' Solution To Our Economic Woes

    Policymakers have a tried-and-true game plan for jump-starting the economy in times of severe recession: Push stimulus packages and lower interest rates so Americans will borrow and spend. But economist Amir Sufi says the way we traditionally address a recession is deeply flawed. He argues that by encouraging "sugar-rush" solutions, the nation is putting poor and middle-class Americans and the entire economy at even greater risk. This week we look at the role of debt as a hidden driver of recessions, and how we might create a more stable system.

  • caption: Olutosin Oduwole at his home in New Jersey in 2016.
    Hidden Brain

    Rap on Trial: How An Aspiring Musician's Words Led To Prison Time

    In the past few weeks, the nation has been gripped by protests against police brutality toward black and brown Americans. The enormous number of demonstrators may be new, but the biases they're protesting are not. In 2017, we looked at research on an alleged form of bias in the justice system. This week, we revisit that story, and explore how public perceptions of rap music may have played a role in the prosecution of a man named Olutosin Oduwole.

  • Hundreds of protesters rally outside City Hall on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in San Francisco, California. Protestors are seen holding signs and kneeling. (Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
    Hidden Brain

    The Air We Breathe: Implicit Bias And Police Shootings

    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 this bonus episode, we revisit our 2017 look at implicit bias and how a culture of racism can infect us all.

  • A compass occupies the space over the man's head, conveying the concept of morality and the choices we make.
    Hidden Brain

    Justifying The Means: What It Means To Treat All Suffering Equally

    When we are asked to make a moral choice, many of us imagine it involves listening to our hearts. To that, philosopher Peter Singer says, "nonsense." Singer believes there are no moral absolutes, and that logic and calculation are better guides to moral behavior than feelings and intuitions. This week, we talk with Singer about why this approach is so hard to put into practice, and look at the hard moral choices presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • caption: A recent study found that black doctors were more effective than non-black doctors at convincing black men to use preventative health services.
    Hidden Brain

    People Like Us: How Our Identities Shape Health And Educational Success

    Far from being "the great equalizer," COVID-19 has disproportionately sickened and killed African Americans and Latinos in the U.S. Many of the reasons for these inequalities reach back to before the pandemic began. This week, we return to a 2019 episode that investigates a specific source of racial disparities in medicine and beyond—and considers an uncomfortable solution.