skip to main content

Rhaina Cohen

Stories

  • caption: Patty Ramge leans against her Ford Pinto in 1978. Since then, the car has become one of the most infamous vehicles in American history, known for a design that made it vulnerable in low-speed accidents.
    Hidden Brain

    The Halo Effect: Why It's So Difficult To Understand The Past

    Judy, Lyn and Donna Ulrich were driving to a volleyball game when their Ford Pinto was hit from behind by a Chevy van. The Pinto caught fire, and the three teenagers were burned to death. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk to a former Ford insider who could have voted to recall the Pinto years before the Ulrich girls were killed — but didn't. And we ask, is it possible to fairly evaluate our past actions when we know how things turned out?

  • caption: Social psychologist Keith Payne says we have a bias toward comparing ourselves to people who have more than us, rather than those who have less
    Hidden Brain

    Why Nobody Feels Rich: The Psychology Of Inequality

    If you've ever flown in economy class on a plane, you probably had to walk through the first class cabin to get to your seat. Maybe you noticed the extra leg room. The freshly-poured champagne. Maybe you were annoyed, or envious. Social psychologist Keith Payne says we tend to compare ourselves with those who have more than us, but rarely with those who have less. This week, we revisit our 2019 episode on the psychology of income inequality, and how perceptions of our own wealth shape our lives.

  • 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.

  • We start our episode with a story about a road trip that changed psychologist Elizabeth Dunn's life.
    Hidden Brain

    You 2.0: Our Pursuit of Happiness

    Sometimes, life can feel like being stuck on a treadmill. No matter how hard you try to get happier, you end up back where you started. What's going on here? We kick off our annual You 2.0 summer series with happiness researcher Elizabeth Dunn, who explains how to fight the treadmill feeling.

  • 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.

  • caption: Hannah Groch-Begley listens to Dylan Matthews play the ukulele at their home in Washington, D.C. Dylan had hesitated to buy the ukulele because it felt like too big of an indulgence.
    Hidden Brain

    Playing Favorites: When Kindness Toward Some Means Callousness Toward Others

    If we do a favor for someone we know, we think we've done a good deed. What we don't tend to ask is: Who have we harmed by treating this person with more kindness than we show toward others? This week, in the second of our two-part series on moral decision-making, we consider how actions that come from a place of love can lead to a more unjust world.

  • 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.