Hidden Brain

Fridays from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Millions of people have heard Shankar Vedantam's engaging reports about social science research on NPR shows like Morning Edition and his podcast Hidden Brain. Shankar now brings his signature knowledge, wit and sense of humor to this new one-hour weekly program, airing on KCBX every Friday at 2:00. A blend of science and storytelling, Hidden Brain reveals the patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the imperceptible forces that influence our relationships. It's a program that helps curious people understand the world, current events, and themselves.

Podcasts

  • Monday, January 20, 2020 1:00pm
    After a disaster happens, we want to know whether something could have been done to avoid it. Did anyone see this coming? Many times, the answer is yes. So why didn't the warnings lead to action? This week, we revisit a favorite 2018 episode about the psychology of warnings. We visit a smelly Alaskan tunnel, hear about a gory (and fictional) murder plot, and even listen to some ABBA.
  • Monday, January 13, 2020 2:28pm
    What's the point of money? The answer might seem obvious: we need it to get paid for our work, and to buy the things we need. But there's also a deeper way to look at the role of money in our lives. This week we explore an anthropologist's take on the origin story of money. What if the cash and coins we carry are not just tools for transactions, but manifestations of human relationships?
  • Monday, January 6, 2020 1:43pm
    What would drive someone to take another person's life? When researchers at the University of Chicago asked that question, the answer was a laundry list of slights: a stolen jacket, or a carelessly lobbed insult. It made them wonder whether crime rates could be driven down by teaching young men to pause, take a deep breath, and think before they act. In this 2017 episode, we go inside a program that teaches Chicago teens to do just that. We also explore what research has found about whether this approach actually works.
  • Monday, December 30, 2019 11:00am
    At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work out more, procrastinate less, or save more money. Though some people stick with these aspirations, many of us fall short. This week, psychologist Wendy Wood shares what researchers have found about how to build good habits — and break bad ones.
  • Monday, December 23, 2019 12:00pm
    Why do we fall for surprise endings? It turns out that our capacity to be easily fooled in books and movies is made possible by a handful of predictable mental shortcuts. In this 2018 conversation, we talk with Vera Tobin, one of the world's first cognitive scientists to study plot twists. She says storytellers have been exploiting narrative twists and turns for millennia — and that studying these sleights of hand can give us a better understanding of the contours of the mind.