Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, and the biases that shape our choices.

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Episodes

  • 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.

  • Guys, We Have A Problem: How American Masculinity Creates Lonely Men

    Boys get the message at a young age: don't show your feelings. Don't rely on anyone. This week, we bring you a favorite 2018 episode about misguided notions of masculinity in the United States. We explore how these notions create stressed-out romantic relationships, physical health problems, and a growing epidemic of loneliness. Plus, we consider how we might begin to tell a different story about what it means to be a man.

  • Baby Talk: Decoding The Secret Language Of Babies

    Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue what they're saying. To researchers, though, the babbling of babies is knowable, predictable, and best of all, teachable to us non-experts. This week, we revisit our May 2018 primer on how to decipher the secret language of babies and young children.

  • 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.

  • We're All Gonna Die! How Fear Of Death Drives Our Behavior

    Death may be inescapable, but we do our best to avoid thinking about it. Psychologist Sheldon Solomon says we're not very successful, though. This week on Hidden Brain, we confront how death anxiety courses through our actions, even when we don't realize it.

  • 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.

    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.

  • Every time you give in to your phone or computer that's buzzing with notifications, you pay a price: little by little, you lose your ability to focus.

    You 2.0: Deep Work

    When your phone buzzes or a notification pops up your screen, do you stop what you're doing to look and respond? That's what many of us are doing. Even though we think we should be less distracted by technology, we haven't admitted the true cost of these interruptions. This week, we revisit our 2017 conversation with computer scientist Cal Newport, and consider ways we can all immerse ourselves in more meaningful work.

  • You 2.0: Rebel With A Cause

    Francesca Gino studies rebels — people who practice "positive deviance" and achieve incredible feats of imagination. They know how, and when, to break the rules that should be broken. So how can you activate your own inner non-conformist? This week, we ponder the traits of successful rebels as we revisit our 2018 conversation with Gino.

  • Researchers say there's growing evidence that nature has a powerful effect on us, improving both our physical and psychological health.

    You 2.0: Our Better Nature

    If you live in a big city, you may have noticed new buildings popping up — a high-rise here, a skyscraper there. The concrete jungles that we've built over the past century have allowed millions of us to live in close proximity, and modern economies to flourish. But what have we given up by moving away from the forest environments in which humans first evolved? This week, we revisit our 2018 conversation about the healing power of nature with psychologist Ming Kuo.

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

    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.