Hidden Brain The Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.

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Hidden Brain

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The Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.More from Hidden Brain »

Most Recent Episodes

Kinder-Gardening

Want your kid to succeed? Don't try that hard. sturti/Getty Images/Vetta hide caption

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sturti/Getty Images/Vetta

Kinder-Gardening

Many parents think they can shape their child into a particular kind of adult. Psychologist Alison Gopnik says the science suggests otherwise. She thinks we'd all be better off if we had a different understanding of the relationship between parents and kids.

Kinder-Gardening

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Radio Replay: Loving the Lie

A pen pal service offered to connect men, for a price, to "angels" — dream women who'd been invented by another man. Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

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Emily Bogle/NPR

Radio Replay: Loving the Lie

In this week's Radio Replay, we bring you stories of fakes, phonies, and con men — and the people who fall for the false worlds they create. First, the tale of a middle-aged man who impersonates a series of women and gets thousands of men to fall in love with his creations. Then, we'll hear about a painter who tricks the world's greatest art experts into believing they're looking at masterpieces.

Radio Replay: Loving the Lie

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The Sorting Hat
Courtesy of Pottermore.com

The Sorting Hat

The desire to find our tribe is universal. We like to know who we are and where we belong. This fascination has led to a thriving industry built on the marketing and sale of personality tests. These tests offer individuals — and, increasingly, employers — quick and easy insights that can be used to make some of life's biggest decisions. But most fail to stand up to scientific scrutiny. This week, we delve into the world of personality testing, and explore the many different ways we assess personality and potential — from the Chinese zodiac to Harry Potter houses to the Myers-Briggs test.

The Sorting Hat

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Radio Replay: Life, Interrupted
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Radio Replay: Life, Interrupted

What price do we pay for the constant interruptions we get from our phones and computers? And is there a better way to handle distraction? In this week's Radio Replay we bring you a favorite conversation with the computer scientist Cal Newport. Plus, Shankar gets electrodes strapped to his head to test a high-tech solution to interruptions.

Radio Replay: Life, Interrupted

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Money Talks

Ivanka Trump's brand has been the target of boycotts and "buycotts" in recent months, as Americans have expressed their values with their wallets. Mark Lennihan //AP hide caption

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Mark Lennihan //AP

Money Talks

How do you spend your money? On shoes, cars, coffee, fancy restaurants? You might think you use money just to, you know, buy stuff. But as Neeru Paharia explains, the way we spend often says a lot about who we are, and what we want to project. We use money to express our values — by going to the local coffee shop instead of Starbucks, or by boycotting — or buycotting — Ivanka Trump shoes. In this April 2017 episode of Hidden Brain, we explore the way we use money to tell stories about ourselves, and to ourselves.

Money Talks

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An American Secret
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An American Secret

All countries have national myths. The story of the first Thanksgiving, for example, evokes the warm glow of intercultural contact: European settlers, struggling to survive in the New World, and Native American tribes eager to help. As many of us learned in history class, this story leaves a lot out. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore a national secret: that from the time Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World until 1900, there were as many as five million Native American people enslaved. We'll learn about this history, and the psychological forces that kept it unexamined for so long.

An American Secret

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Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease

Chicago police work the scene of a stabbing on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 on the city's Southwest side. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

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Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease

In moments of anger, it can be hard to take a deep breath or count to ten. But public health researcher Harold Pollack says five minutes of reflection can make all the difference between a regular life and one spent behind bars. This week, we visit a Chicago program that helps young men learn how to pause and reflect. Plus, we ask whether we should think of violence as a disease, similar to a blood-borne pathogen in its ability to spread from person to person.

Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease

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Eyes Wide Open: Part 2

The average American adult gets about six hours of sleep a night. Neuroscientist Matthew Walker is on a mission to bring that number up to eight. Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Eyes Wide Open: Part 2

What does the song "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones have in common with the periodic table of elements? Both are the products of dreams. The sleeping brain is far more active than we realize, argues neuroscientist Matthew Walker in this second part of our series on sleep.

Eyes Wide Open: Part 2

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Eyes Wide Open: Part 1

Do we really need sleep? Mark Conlan/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Mark Conlan/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Eyes Wide Open: Part 1

Randy Gardner broke a world record in 1963, when he was only 17 years old. His feat? Going 11 days without sleeping. Randy, now 71, shares his wisdom about staying up past your bedtime — and why none of us should attempt to recreate his teenage stunt — on this week's Hidden Brain.

Eyes Wide Open: Part 1

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Radio Replay: Prisons of Our Own Making
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Radio Replay: Prisons of Our Own Making

Discussions about healthy living usually revolve around diet and exercise. Social interaction is often left out of the conversation, even though research shows that it's critical to our well-being. On this week's radio replay, we'll explore research on the extremes of social interaction: from the consequences of constant connection, to the high cost of solitary confinement.

Radio Replay: Prisons of Our Own Making

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