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Rhaina Cohen

Stories

  • caption: In the 1960s, demographers warned that we were on track for a global population explosion. That's not exactly what happened.
    Hidden Brain

    The Bomb That Didn't Explode: Why Our Fears About Population Growth Didn't Come True

    We know that we live in an ever-changing world, but one thing we often overlook is demographic change. Whether the world's population is growing or shrinking can affect many aspects of our lives, from the number of kids we have to the likelihood that we'll live to old age. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore how our planet's population is changing, and what that means for us in the century to come.

  • caption: Psychologists say we often have a hard time recognizing how much pressure we put on other people when we ask them for something.
    Hidden Brain

    The Influence You Have: Why We're Blind To Our Power Over Others

    Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person would think of you. Chances are that you didn't stop to think about the pressure you were exerting on that person. This week, we explore a phenomenon that psychologists refer to as "egocentric bias," and look at how this bias can lead us astray.

  • A donkey and an elephant stare at each other across a chasm.
    Hidden Brain

    Passion Isn't Enough: The Rise Of 'Political Hobbyism' in the United States

    Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. But maybe we should be focusing our energies elsewhere. Political scientist Eitan Hersh says there's been a rise in "political hobbyism" in the United States. We treat politics like entertainment, following the latest updates like we follow our favorite sports teams. Instead, he says, we should think of politics as a way to acquire power and persuade our neighbors to back the issues we support.

  • caption: Why are some warnings heard, while others are ignored?

    How To See The Future (No Crystal Ball Needed)

    When disaster strikes, we want to know, who screwed up? This week we explore the psychology of warnings: Why some warnings get heard, and why some of us are better at seeing what lies ahead.

  • caption: Why are some warnings heard, while others are ignored?
    Hidden Brain

    The Cassandra Curse: Why We Heed Some Warnings, And Ignore Others

    After a disaster happens, we want to know whether something could have been done to avoid it. Did anyone see this coming? Many times, the answer is yes. So why didn't the warnings lead to action? This week, we revisit a favorite 2018 episode about the psychology of warnings. We visit a smelly Alaskan tunnel, hear about a gory (and fictional) murder plot, and even listen to some ABBA.

  • group of sticky yellow adhesive note papers with a list of new year's resolutions on the bulletin board
    Hidden Brain

    Creatures Of Habit: How Habits Shape Who We Are — And Who We Become

    At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions for the months to come. We resolve to work out more, procrastinate less, or save more money. Though some people stick with these aspirations, many of us fall short. This week, psychologist Wendy Wood shares what researchers have found about how to build good habits — and break bad ones.

  • Colourful abstract graphic illustration of brain
    Hidden Brain

    Did That Really Happen? How Our Memories Betray Us

    Our memories are easily contaminated. We can be made to believe we rode in a hot air balloon or spilled punch on people at a wedding—even if those things never happened. So how do we know which of our memories are most accurate? This week, psychologist Ayanna Thomas explains how memory works, how it fails, and ways to make it better.

  • Two blocks of the same city; one is vibrant and colorful. The other is gray and decaying.
    Hidden Brain

    Zipcode Destiny: The Persistent Power Of Place And Education

    There's a core belief embedded in the story of the United States — the American Dream. Today we look at the state of that dream as we revisit our 2018 conversation with economist Raj Chetty. We'll ask some questions that carry big implications: can you put an economic value on a great kindergarten teacher? How is it that two children living just a few blocks from each other can have radically different chances in life? And what gives Salt Lake City an edge over Cleveland when it comes to offering people better prospects than their parents?

  • Conceptual illustration of a distorted girl's face depicting anxiety, rage, and fear.
    Hidden Brain

    In The Heat Of The Moment: How Intense Emotions Transform Us

    In a fit of anger or in the grip of fear, many of us make decisions that we never would have anticipated. This week, we look at situations that make us strangers to ourselves — and why it's so difficult to remember what these "hot states" feel like once the moment is over.