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Maggie Penman

Stories

  • caption: Dan Ariely has found that "what separates honest people from not-honest people is not necessarily character, it's opportunity."
    Hidden Brain

    Liar, Liar, Liar

    We all lie. But what separates the average person from the infamous cheaters we see on the news? Dan Ariely says we like to think it's character — but in his research he's found it's more often opportunity. Dan Ariely is a professor at Duke University and the author of the book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves. We spoke to him in March 2017.

  • caption: Scarcity can make it difficult for us to focus on anything other than the problem right in front of us.
    Hidden Brain

    You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

    When you're hungry, it can be hard to think of anything other than food. When you're desperately poor, you may constantly worry about making ends meet. When you're lonely, you might obsess about making friends. This week, as part of our You 2.0 series, we bring you a favorite 2017 episode about the psychological phenomenon of scarcity. Researchers say this form of tunnel vision can affect our ability to see the big picture and cope with problems in our lives.

  • caption: The belief that vaccines cause autism has persisted, even though the facts paint an entirely different story.
    Hidden Brain

    Facts Aren't Enough: The Psychology Of False Beliefs

    Sometimes when we believe something, no amount of data can change our minds. This week, we look at how we rely on the people we trust to shape what we believe, and why emotions can be more powerful than facts. This episode features new reporting and favorite conversations with neuroscientist Tali Sharot and philosopher of science Cailin O'Connor.

  • Many of us intuitively feel that the bitter partisanship of American politics is bad for our nation. So should we be concerned about the health of our democracy?
    Hidden Brain

    More Divided Than Ever? Excavating the Roots Of Our Political Landscape

    Many of us intuitively feel that the bitter partisanship of American politics is bad for our nation. So should we be concerned about the health of our democracy? This week on Hidden Brain, we revisit two of our favorite conversations about U.S. politics. We start by talking with political scientist John Hibbing about the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. Then, we explore the role of conflict in democracy with historian David Moss.

  • caption: Researcher Elizabeth Currid-Halkett says celebrity can be boiled down to a simple formula.
    Hidden Brain

    Never Go To Vegas

    All social classes have unspoken rules. From A-list celebrities to teachers, doctors, lawyers, and journalists — there are social norms that govern us, whether we realize it or not. This week on Hidden Brain, we look celebrity culture, as well as another elite group: the yoga-loving, Whole Foods-shopping, highly-educated people whom one researcher calls the new "aspirational class." This episode is from December 2017.

  • caption: "Compassion is contagious," Professor Scott Plous says. "We talk about paying it forward; the idea that if you do something good for another person [...] it sets off a kind of chain reaction."
    Hidden Brain

    The Science of Compassion

    The adage "be kind to others" is simple enough that even young children can understand it. But that doesn't mean adults always remember the importance of being kind or understand how compassion might affect them. This week, we look at the science of compassion, and why doing good things for others can make a big difference in your own life.

  • caption: Alan Alda
    Hidden Brain

    Alan Alda Wants Us To Have Better Conversations

    Arguments and bickering can sour family gatherings during the holiday season. This week, we share tips on how to avoid miscommunication from our January 2018 conversation with actor Alan Alda. You might know him from his roles on television shows like M*A*S*H, The West Wing and 30 Rock, but in recent years Alda has also focused on helping scientists, and the rest of us, communicate better. His book is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating.