536 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 Hidden Brain

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 38.8K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

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

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Our God-Shaped Brains

    Our God-Shaped Brains

    Some think of religious faith as just that: a leap of faith. But psychologists are increasingly filling in the gaps in our understanding of how beliefs shape — and are shaped by — the human mind. This week, psychologist Ara Norenzayan explores features in the brain that are tied to our capacity for faith. And he shows how all of us, both religious and non-religious people, can use this knowledge to find more meaning in our lives.

    • 50 min
    Why You Feel Empty

    Why You Feel Empty

    Have you ever had an unexplainable feeling of emptiness? Life seems perfect - and yet - something is missing. This week, sociologist Corey Keyes helps us understand where feelings of emptiness come from, how to navigate them and why they're more common than we might assume.

    • 49 min
    Why Trying Too Hard Can Backfire On You

    Why Trying Too Hard Can Backfire On You

    Thinking is a human superpower. On a daily basis, thinking and planning and effort bring us innumerable benefits. But like all aspects of human behavior, you can sometimes get too much of a good thing. This week, we talk with philosopher Ted Slingerland about techniques to prevent overthinking, and how we can cultivate the under-appreciated skill of letting go.

    • 52 min
    Letting Go

    Letting Go

    When you're cultivating a garden, how much do you direct what happens in the garden — and how much do you just let the garden be? In part two of our conversation with philosopher Ted Slingerland, we talk about the balance between preparation and spontaneity, and explore a thorny question: Is it possible to achieve effortlessness by simply being effortless? Or, paradoxically, is it only possible to get to that state through a lot of effort?

    If you haven't yet heard the first part of our conversation with Ted Slingerland, we recommend you start there. It's the episode in this podcast feed called "Why Trying Too Hard Can Backfire On You." Thanks for listening!

    Innovation 2.0: Do Less

    Innovation 2.0: Do Less

    The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But our desire to create can keep us from seeing one of the most powerful paths to progress: subtraction. In a favorite conversation from 2022, engineer Leidy Klotz shares how streamlining and simplifying is sometimes the best path to innovation.

    • 46 min
    Innovation 2.0: Behind the Curtain

    Innovation 2.0: Behind the Curtain

    Have you ever wondered why some companies fail, while others succeed? This week, organizational economist Raffaella Sadun reveals one of the overlooked ways that businesses can grow and help their employees to thrive.

    If you've missed any of the episodes in our Innovation 2.0 series, you can find them in this podcast feed, or on our website: https://hiddenbrain.org/

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
38.8K Ratings

38.8K Ratings

shoppella ,

HIDDEN BRAIN

Listening to this show be required. Even if you know the subject in and out, you’re getting new perspectives. Shankar is the best interviewer, he has the best guests.

k777?! ,

Interesting detail

The subjects are just what I need to hear to shift from a negative perspective to a positive one through interviews that keep me enthralled.

matchumoo ,

Buildup matters

The first half of each episode makes me roll my eyes. It’s usually filled with info, ideas, or opinions that I’ve heard or thought about a million times and I’m like “this is a waste of time, I’m not hearing anything new.” It just feels superficial, and sometimes even ostensible. But then, around the halfway point, they (the host and guest speaker) use that information to introduce something new and interesting. I’ll say this: there are other shows that can make the first half interesting and have a strong conclusion, challenging my views or making me interested throughout the duration. Hidden Brain doesn’t do that, but it also doesn’t need to. The slow burning buildup helps to establish a foundation for their main point, which is usually a home-run. My only complaint is that it sometimes feels like fluff - like the teacher wants a 10 page essay, and you have a really solid 6 pages but need to add 4 more the meet the criteria. I’ll continue to roll my eyes at those 4 pages while enjoying the other 6.

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