Hidden Brain

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 revisit a favorite 2020 episode about the secret logic of irrational anger.

When Doing Right Feels Wrong

Have you ever been in a position where you had to choose between someone you care about and a value that you hold dear? Maybe you had to decide whether to report a friend who was cheating on an exam, or a co-worker who was stealing from the tip jar. This week, we tell the story of a Detroit police officer who found himself in this sort of dilemma, forced to choose between people he loved and the oath he swore to serve his community. What happens in our minds when we have to decide what is right and what is wrong?

A Conspiracy of Silence

We all self-censor at times. We keep quiet at dinner with our in-laws, or nod passively in a work meeting. But what happens when we take this deception a step further, and pretend we believe the opposite of what we really feel? In this favorite episode from 2020, economist and political scientist Timur Kuran explains how our personal, professional and political lives are shaped by the fear of what other people think.

How Rude!

It’s not your imagination: rudeness appears to be on the rise. Witnessing rude behavior — whether it’s coming from angry customers berating a store clerk or airline passengers getting into a fistfight — can have long-lasting effects on our minds. But behavioral scientist Christine Porath says there are ways to shield ourselves from the toxic effects of …

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Healing Your Heart

We’ve all heard about the five stages of grief. But what happens when your experience doesn’t follow that model at all? Resilience researcher Lucy Hone began to question how we think about grief after a devastating loss in her own life. She shares the techniques she learned to help her cope with tragedy.

You Don’t Need a Crystal Ball

When disaster strikes — from the explosion of a space shuttle to the spread of a deadly virus — we want to know whether we could have avoided catastrophe. Did anyone speak up with concerns about the situation? And if so, why didn’t someone listen? This week, we revisit a favorite episode about the psychology of warnings, and how we can all become better at predicting the future.

How to Change the World

Does power truly flow from the barrel of a gun? Pop culture and conventional history often teach us that violence is the most effective way to produce change. But is that common assumption actually true? Political scientist Erica Chenoweth, who has studied more than 100 years of revolutions and insurrections, says the answer is counterintuitive. 

You Can’t Hit Unsend

Social media sites offer quick and easy ways to share ideas, crack jokes, find old friends. They can make us feel part of something big and wonderful and fast-moving. But the things we post don’t go away. And they can come back to haunt us. This week, we explore how one teenager’s social media posts destroyed a golden opportunity he’d worked for all his life.

The Benefits of Mixed Emotions

We’ve all been in situations where we experience mixed emotions. Maybe you’ve felt both joy and sadness during a big life decision, such as whether to purchase a home or accept a job offer. Or maybe you’ve experienced mixed feelings about the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped your life. Psychologist Naomi Rothman says that …

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Putting Our Assumptions to the Test

Do you ever stop to wonder if the way you see the world is how the world really is? Economist Abhijit Banerjee has spent a lifetime asking himself this question. His answer: Our world views often don’t reflect reality. The only way to get more accurate is to think like a scientist — even when you’re not looking through a microscope.