Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, and the biases that shape our choices.
Our audience takes uncommon pleasure in the world of ideas. How do children come to love spicy foods? Why do religions exist? What’s the best way to get people to be honest on their taxes? Hidden Brain explores questions like these that lie at the very heart of a complex and changing society.
Hosted by NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain links research from psychology and neurobiology with findings from economics, anthropology, and sociology, among other fields. The goal of Hidden Brain isn’t merely to entertain, but to give you insights to apply at work, at home and throughout your life.
Hidden Brain began as a weekly series on NPR’s Morning Edition and launched as a podcast in September 2015. We debuted an hour-long radio version of the show in the fall of 2017. These different vehicles allow us to showcase ideas at different lengths and in different formats: A radio story about how students avoid the unpleasantness of an STD diagnosis might show up in longer form on the podcast, in an episode about “information aversion.” We also love to show how ideas are interconnected: A guest from a podcast episode about the recruitment tactics of ISIS might also appear in an episode about the nature of religion; a Google data scientist who examines patterns in search terms might be featured in our podcast, but also show up in a completely different episode about the nature of unconscious bias. We sometimes joke that we are in search of a “Hidden Brain Theory of Everything.”
The show has won numerous awards, including a Webby and a Kavli Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Social Media, and a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.