Jennifer Schmidt

Stories

  • Businessman climbs high with a ladder to communicate with the dollar
    Hidden Brain

    The Talk Market: How Stories and Psychology Shape Our Economic Lives

    Can we affect the rise and fall of the economy? This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller about the powerful ways in which stories and psychology shape our economic lives. He argues that narratives affect not just the purchases we make as individuals, but the fate of our entire economic system.

  • Hidden Brain

    What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Being Human

    What makes the mind of a human different from that of other animals? Psychologist Laurie Santos says we can't know the answer to that question if we only study humans. This week, we turn to Laurie's work with monkeys to understand which parts of human behavior are distinct, and which we share with other species.

  • Hidden Brain

    We're All Gonna Live Forever! The Stories We Tell About Conquering Death

    Last week, we spoke with psychologist Sheldon Solomon about the fear of death and how it shapes our actions. This week, we pivot from psychology and politics to religion and history as we explore how people have tried to resolve these fears. We talk with philosopher Stephen Cave about the ways we assure ourselves that death is not really the end.

  • Hidden Brain

    You Can't Hit Unsend: How A Social Media Scandal Unfolded At Harvard

    Social media sites offer quick and easy ways to share ideas, crack jokes, find old friends. They can make us feel part of something big and wonderful and fast-moving. But the things we post don't go away. And they can come back to haunt us. This week, we explore how one teenager's social media posts destroyed a golden opportunity he'd worked for all his life.

  • Dan Gilbert says we're not great at predicting how much we will enjoy an experience in part because we fail to consider all of the details. We think a visit to the dentist will be terrible, but we're forgetting about the free toothbrush, the nice chat with the dental hygienist and the magazines in the waiting room.
    Hidden Brain

    You 2.0: Decide Already!

    For the last episode in our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite conversation with Harvard researcher Dan Gilbert. He explains why we're bad at predicting our future happiness, how that affects our decision making, and why we're actually happier after making a decision that feels irrevocable.

  • Scarcity can make it difficult for us to focus on anything other than the problem right in front of us.
    Hidden Brain

    You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

    When you're hungry, it can be hard to think of anything other than food. When you're desperately poor, you may constantly worry about making ends meet. When you're lonely, you might obsess about making friends. This week, as part of our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite 2017 episode about the psychological phenomenon of scarcity. Researchers say this form of tunnel vision can affect our ability to see the big picture and cope with problems in our lives.

  • Hidden Brain

    You 2.0: The 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: how to exercise our empathetic muscles. It's the first episode in our You 2.0 summer series.

  • Psychologist Phil Tetlock thinks the parable of the fox and the hedgehog represents two different cognitive styles. "The hedgehogs are more the big idea people, more decisive," while the foxes are more accepting of nuance, more open to using different approaches with different problems.
    Hidden Brain

    The Fox And The Hedgehog: A Story of Triumphs and Tragedy

    The Greek poet Archilochus wrote that "the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." This week, we'll use the metaphor of the fox and the hedgehog as a way to understand the differences between tacticians and big-picture thinkers. We'll explore the story of a pioneering surgeon whose hedgehog tendencies led him to great triumphs, and a heartbreaking tragedy. This episode first aired in May 2017.