278 episodes

Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.

Hidden Brain NPR

    • Social Sciences
    • 4.6, 26.6K Ratings

Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.

    The Night That Lasted A Lifetime

    The Night That Lasted A Lifetime

    Not long after his sixteenth birthday, Fred Clay was arrested for the murder of a cab driver in Boston. Eventually, Fred was found guilty — but only after police and prosecutors used questionable psychological techniques to single him out as the killer. This week on Hidden Brain, we go back four decades to uncover the harm that arises when flawed ideas from psychology are used to determine that a teenager should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    • 53 min
    The Founding Contradiction

    The Founding Contradiction

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." These words, penned by Thomas Jefferson more than 240 years ago, continue to inspire many Americans. And yet they were written by a man who owned hundreds of slaves, and fathered six children by an enslaved woman. As we mark Independence Day this week, we return to a 2018 episode with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed. We explore the contradictions in Jefferson's life — and how those contradictions might resonate in our own lives.

    • 47 min
    Buy, Borrow, Steal

    Buy, Borrow, Steal

    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.

    • 50 min
    A Rap on Trial

    A Rap on Trial

    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.

    • 56 min
    The Air We Breathe

    The Air We Breathe

    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.

    • 36 min
    Playing Favorites

    Playing Favorites

    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.

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
26.6K Ratings

26.6K Ratings

Galbandit ,

Always surprising and interesting

This is one of my top favorites. Shankar is a great interviewer and storyteller. I always learn something as well as being completely engrossed in subjects I didn’t even know I was interested in.

mina656 ,

My favorite

Real scientific podcast and the least biased. I enjoyed listening and I appreciate what they are doing. I learned a lot and add some of those books to my library. Thank you for your great work.

gabby233 ,

Non Like Hidden Brain!!!!

Hidden Brain is my go to podcast for factual, scientific and comprehensive outlook on issues arising in contemporary times. The host asks deep questions and leads his audiences to understanding the topic at hand whiles considering historical facts, science and humanity. You should check it out. My best episode is BS jobs.

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