Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain

United States

A conversation about life's unseen patterns.


Episode 49: Filthy Rich  

Several years ago, sociologist Brooke Harrington decided to explore the secret lives of billionaires. What she found, she said, shocked her.

Episode 48: Men: 44, Women: 0  

A century after women won the vote in the US, we still see very few of them in leadership roles. Researchers say women are trapped in a catch-22 known as "the double bind."

Episode 47: Give Me Your Tired...  

Our airwaves are filled with debates about migrants, refugees, and undocumented immigrants... Who should be in the United States, who shouldn't, and who should decide? Immigration is, without question, a flash point in this year's political debates. It's an issue that seems to get to the core of who we are, who we want to be, and where we're headed as a nation. Today we're going to take a fresh look at the issue by exploring what history can teach us about the patterns and paradoxes of immigration in a nation of immigrants. It's one of a series of shows in the next few weeks that will speak to issues that have bubbled to the surface in politics this year, that reveal something about us — and human nature. Historian Maria Cristina Garcia joins us.

Episode 46: Blessings in Disguise?  

We have lots of ways to describe the good that can come from bad: a blessing in disguise, a silver lining — but what if the bad thing was truly awful? This week on Hidden Brain, framing and re-framing a tragedy.

Episode 45: What Are The Odds?  

This week on Hidden Brain, coincidences. Why they're not quite as magical as they seem... and the reasons we can't help but search for meaning in them anyway.

Trailer: Hidden Brain 2.0  

We have an anniversary to celebrate. We've been bringing you Hidden Brain for a year now, and we are so glad and thankful you've come along with us. We've learned a lot about what you like, and what we like. Specifically, deep dives into stories or topics that reveal something true about human behavior. Now, it's time to double down on that with a string of ambitious new episodes. Here's a sneak peek.

Update: #AirbnbWhileBlack  

A few months ago, Hidden Brain investigated claims that Airbnb users were facing discrimination on the platform. Now, we bring you an update on the company's response.

Episode 44: Our Politics, Our Parenting  

In the midst of a rancorous election, we present a new theory to explain why the two sides of the aisle seem irreconcilable sometimes.

Episode 43: The Perils of Power  

We've all heard the old adage that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," but psychologist Dacher Keltner at UC Berkeley has found evidence to prove it. His book is The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence.

Encore of Episode 21: Stroke of Genius  

Derek Amato wasn't born a musical savant. He became one—almost instantly—after hitting his head on the bottom of a swimming pool.

Episode 42: Decide Already!  

This week, Harvard researcher Dan Gilbert tells us why we're bad at predicting our future happiness, how that affects our decision making, and why we are actually happier after making a decision that feels irrevocable.

Encore of Episode 11: Forgery  

This week on Hidden Brain, we explore real and fake, from fine art to fine wine. Shankar speaks with Noah Charney, author of The Art of Forgery, about why art forgers are compelled to spend their lives copying the great masters, and why so many of them want to get caught. Also this week: why we love studies that prove wine connoisseurs wrong.

Episode 41: Defeated  

While everyone is focused on the Olympic winners in Rio, we're zooming in on loss. We have the story of how a world-champion judo player reacted to a devastating defeat, plus a Stopwatch Science on how losing affects us all.

Episode 40: Silver and Gold  

The rush of victory or crush of defeat in the Olympics can flash by very quickly. But if you slow those moments down, there's a lot to learn about human behavior.

Encore of Episode 7: Lonely Hearts  

Jesse always wanted to fall in love. So when the perfect woman started writing him letters, it seemed too good to be true. Because it was. This week, a story about a con — with a twist. When the con was exposed, its victims defended the con artists. They still wanted to believe the lie

Episode 39: Vacations  

Summer vacations often take time, energy and money to plan. Expectations can run unreasonably high. This week in Stopwatch Science, we dive into what research says about how to have a better getaway.

Episode 38: Me, Me, Me  

It doesn't take a psychologist to see narcissism in our culture of selfies. But we decided to talk to one anyway. Jean Twenge is a researcher and author of the books The Narcissism Epidemic, and Generation Me.

Episode 37: Smoke & Mirrors  

Six months ago, Hidden Brain's Max Nesterak made a resolution to quit smoking. But as we all know... resolutions are made to be broken. This week, we check in with Max to find out how he's fared, and give you social science insight to help you quit your bad habits too.

Episode 36: Science of Deception  

This week on Hidden Brain, we find out what makes humans of all ages cheat. Plus in Stopwatch Science, Dan Pink comes armed with studies on how our social context influences our cheating habits.

Episode 35: Creature Comforts  

This week, Hidden Brain considers the power of touch. First, Alison MacAdam tells us the story of her security blanket, called Baba. Then, Shankar interviews writer Deborah Blum about groundbreaking experiments into the importance of affection for young children.

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