Hidden Brain Podcast

Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and questions that lie at the heart of our complex and changing world. Our work, led by Host and Executive Editor Shankar Vedantam, is marked by a commitment to scientific and journalistic rigor, and a deep empathy for our guests and audience.
Moral Combat
by Hidden Brain

Most of us have a clear sense of right and wrong. But what happens when we view politics through a moral lens? This week, we talk with psychologist Linda Skitka about how moral certainty can produce moral blinders — and endanger democracy. 

Moral Combat
Beyond Doomscrolling
The Logic of Rage
An Update from Shankar

Hidden Brain on the radio

Oct 15: Beyond Doomscrolling — There’s no question that 2020 has been a tough year. We’re grappling with a global pandemic. A deep recession. Fresh reminders of racial injustice. But today — without minimizing the justifiable pain that 2020 has brought to so many people — we wanted to explore another way of seeing things. We talk with psychologist Steven Pinker about why it’s so hard to see things that are going well in the world. 

Oct. 8: The Logic of Rage — Neuroscientist Doug Fields was on a trip to Europe when a pickpocket stole his wallet. Doug, normally mild-mannered, became enraged — and his fury turned him into a stranger to himself. This week, we explore the secret logic of irrational anger.

Oct. 1: Creating God — For most of human history, we lived in small groups. But as societies expanded, we needed a big idea to make people trust each other and cooperate. This week, psychologist Azim Shariff makes a case that religion was that big idea.

Sept. 24: The Halo Effect — Judy, Lyn and Donna Ulrich were driving to a volleyball game when their Ford Pinto was hit from behind by a Chevy van. The Pinto caught fire, and the three teenagers were burned to death. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk to a former Ford insider who could have voted to recall the Pinto years before the Ulrich girls were killed — but didn’t. And we ask, is it possible to fairly evaluate our past actions when we know how things turned out?