Shankar Vedantam

Stories

  • Dan Ariely has found that "what separates honest people from not-honest people is not necessarily character, it's opportunity."
    Hidden Brain

    Liar, Liar, Liar

    We all lie. But what separates the average person from the infamous cheaters we see on the news? Dan Ariely says we like to think it's character — but in his research he's found it's more often opportunity. Dan Ariely is a professor at Duke University and the author of the book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves. We spoke to him in March 2017.

  • Hidden Brain

    Passion Isn't Enough: The Rise Of 'Political Hobbyism' in the United States

    Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. But maybe we should be focusing our energies elsewhere. Political scientist Eitan Hersh says there's been a rise in "political hobbyism" in the United States. We treat politics like entertainment, following the latest updates like we follow our favorite sports teams. Instead, he says, we should think of politics as a way to acquire power and persuade our neighbors to back the issues we support.

  • "Hang in there," Dr. Levy tells his new medical students. "This is going to work."
    Hidden Brain

    When Things Click: The Power Of Judgment-Free Learning

    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 exhibit in Hawaii to a top teaching hospital in New York. It's about a method to quiet the noise that can turn learning into a minefield of misery.

  • Hidden Brain

    Secret Friends: Tapping Into The Power Of Imagination

    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 mind? This week, we meet people who experience the invisible as real, and learn how they hone their imaginations to see the world with new eyes.

  • Why are some warnings heard, while others are ignored?

    How To See The Future (No Crystal Ball Needed)

    When disaster strikes, we want to know, who screwed up? This week we explore the psychology of warnings: Why some warnings get heard, and why some of us are better at seeing what lies ahead.

  • Why are some warnings heard, while others are ignored?
    Hidden Brain

    The Cassandra Curse: Why We Heed Some Warnings, And Ignore Others

    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 the psychology of warnings. We visit a smelly Alaskan tunnel, hear about a gory (and fictional) murder plot, and even listen to some ABBA.

  • Hidden Brain

    Emotional Currency: How Money Shapes Human Relationships

    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 the origin story of money. What if the cash and coins we carry are not just tools for transactions, but manifestations of human relationships?

  • Hidden Brain

    On The Knife's Edge: Using Therapy To Address Violence Among Teens

    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 rates could be driven down by teaching young men to pause, take a deep breath, and think before they act. In this 2017 episode, we go inside a program that teaches Chicago teens to do just that. We also explore what research has found about whether this approach actually works.