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Tara Boyle

Stories

  • 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.

  • caption: Volunteers for the grassroots network Columbia Community Care organize donated groceries and household items at one of five distribution sites in Howard County, Maryland.
    Hidden Brain

    Our Better Angels: What We Lose When We Assume People Are Bad

    In the months since the spread of the coronavirus, stories of selfishness and exploitation have become all too familiar: people ignoring social distancing guidelines, or even selling medical equipment at inflated prices. Most of our public and economic policies take aim at these sorts of people — the wrongdoers and the profiteers. But is there a hidden cost to the rest of us when we put bad actors at the center of our thinking? Do the measures we put in place to curtail the selfish inadvertently hurt our capacity to do right by others?

  • caption: Anderson High School senior Teyaja Jones, right, poses in her cap and gown and a bandana face cover, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Austin, Texas.
    Hidden Brain

    A Hidden Brain Commencement Address

    Commencement ceremonies allow us to take stock of what we've accomplished and where we're headed. This is one of the key opportunities that students and families have lost, as social distancing precautions lead schools to cancel in-person graduations. In this "commencement address," recorded at the request of the public radio program 1A, Shankar Vedantam offers thoughts on what it means to mark such a milestone at this moment, and how graduates can use the disruption caused by the pandemic to think about their lives in new ways.

  • caption: It's not the pill. It's the doctor-patient relationship.
    Hidden Brain

    All The World's A Stage—Including The Doctor's Office

    In recent months, many of us have become familiar with the sense of fear expressing itself in our bodies. We may feel restless or physically exhausted. At times, we may even have trouble catching our breath. The deep connection between mind and body that seems so salient now was also at the center of our episode about the placebo effect. This week, we return to this 2019 story that asks what placebos might teach us about the nature of healing.

  • A young girl chooses from among arrows pointed in four different directions.
    Hidden Brain

    The Choices Before Us: Can Fewer Options Lead To Better Decisions?

    An abundance of choices is a good thing, right? In the United States, where choice is often equated with freedom and control, the answer tends to be a resounding 'yes.' But researchers say the relationship between choice and happiness isn't always so clear-cut. This week, we talk with psychologist Sheena Iyengar about making better decisions, and how she's thinking about the relationship between choices and control during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • caption: A copy of the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News sits in a newspaper box on a street corner in Denver, Colorado.
    Hidden Brain

    Starving The Watchdogs: Who Foots The Bill When Newspapers Disappear?

    Amidst the confusion and chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have sought out a long-trusted lifeline: the local newspaper. Though the value of local journalism is more apparent now than ever, newspapers are not thriving. They're collapsing. For many communities, this means fewer local stories and job losses. But new research suggests there's another consequence that's harder to spot — one that comes with a hefty price tag for residents. This week on Hidden Brain, we return to a 2018 episode that's acutely relevant today and ask, who bears the cost when nobody wants to pay?

  • At a time of mandated physical distancing, many of us are struggling to feel socially connected.
    Hidden Brain

    A Social Prescription: Why Human Connection Is Crucial To Our Health

    Confined to our homes, many of us are experiencing a newfound appreciation for our social relationships. What we may not realize — and what physicians and researchers have only recently started emphasizing — is the importance of these connections to our physical health. This week, we talk with former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about why he considers loneliness a matter of public health, and how we can all deepen our social ties.

  • caption: Kate Devlin, who studies human-computer interactions, says we're on the cusp of a sexual revolution driven by robotics and artificial intelligence.
    Hidden Brain

    Sex Machines: Love In The Age Of Robots

    From stone statues to silicone works of art, we have long sought solace and sex from inanimate objects. Time and technology have perfected the artificial lover: today we have life-size silicone love dolls so finely crafted they feel like works of art. Now, with the help of robotics and artificial intelligence, these dolls are becoming even more like humans. This week, we revisit our 2019 story about the history of the artificial lover, and consider what love and sex look like in the age of robots.

  • caption: Red S-shaped rope being tugged by three different knots. Each knot is a different color — blue, orange, and green. Yellow background.
    Hidden Brain

    Playing Tight And Loose: How Rules Shape Our Lives

    We all know people who prefer to follow the rules, and others who prefer to flout them. Psychologist Michele Gelfand defines these two ways of being as "tight" and "loose." She says the tight/loose framework can help us to better understand individuals, businesses, and even nations. This week, we look at the core traits of tight and loose worldviews, and how they may shape our lives — from interactions with our spouses to global efforts to fight the coronavirus.