Hidden Brain The Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.

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Hidden Brain

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The Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.More from Hidden Brain »

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An American Secret
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An American Secret

All countries have national myths. The story of the first Thanksgiving, for example, evokes the warm glow of intercultural contact: European settlers, struggling to survive in the New World, and Native American tribes eager to help. As many of us learned in history class, this story leaves a lot out. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore a national secret: that from the time Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World until 1900, there were as many as five million Native American people enslaved. We'll learn about this history, and the psychological forces that kept it unexamined for so long.

An American Secret

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Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease

Chicago police work the scene of a stabbing on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 on the city's Southwest side. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

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Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease

In moments of anger, it can be hard to take a deep breath or count to ten. But public health researcher Harold Pollack says five minutes of reflection can make all the difference between a regular life and one spent behind bars. This week, we visit a Chicago program that helps young men learn how to pause and reflect. Plus, we ask whether we should think of violence as a disease, similar to a blood-borne pathogen in its ability to spread from person to person.

Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease

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Eyes Wide Open: Part 2

The average American adult gets about six hours of sleep a night. Neuroscientist Matthew Walker is on a mission to bring that number up to eight. Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Eyes Wide Open: Part 2

What does the song "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones have in common with the periodic table of elements? Both are the products of dreams. The sleeping brain is far more active than we realize, argues neuroscientist Matthew Walker in this second part of our series on sleep.

Eyes Wide Open: Part 2

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Eyes Wide Open: Part 1

Do we really need sleep? Mark Conlan/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Mark Conlan/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Eyes Wide Open: Part 1

Randy Gardner broke a world record in 1963, when he was only 17 years old. His feat? Going 11 days without sleeping. Randy, now 71, shares his wisdom about staying up past your bedtime — and why none of us should attempt to recreate his teenage stunt — on this week's Hidden Brain.

Eyes Wide Open: Part 1

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Radio Replay: Prisons of Our Own Making
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Radio Replay: Prisons of Our Own Making

Discussions about healthy living usually revolve around diet and exercise. Social interaction is often left out of the conversation, even though research shows that it's critical to our well-being. On this week's radio replay, we'll explore research on the extremes of social interaction: from the consequences of constant connection, to the high cost of solitary confinement.

Radio Replay: Prisons of Our Own Making

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Check Yourself

On October 30, 1935, a Boeing plane known as the "flying fortress" crashed during a military demonstration in Ohio — shocking the aviation industry and prompting questions about the future of flight. National Archives hide caption

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National Archives

Check Yourself

The simple "to-do" list may be one of humanity's oldest tools for keeping organized. But checklists are also proving essential in many modern-day workplaces, from operating rooms to the cockpits of jumbo jets. This week, we explore the power of the humble checklist to help us stay on track and focus on what's important, particularly when pressure is intense and the stakes are high.

Check Yourself

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Radio Replay: What's In It For Me?

We tend to be drawn to people and things that remind us of ourselves. Renee Klahr/NPR hide caption

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Renee Klahr/NPR

Radio Replay: What's In It For Me?

Coincidences can make the everyday feel extraordinary. But are they magical, or just mathematical? On this week's Radio Replay, we explore our deep fascination with these moments of serendipity. New research suggests they reveal important things about how our minds work, and have a far more powerful effect on our lives than any of us imagine. We'll also explore the phenomenon of "implicit egotism" — the idea that we're drawn to people and things that remind us of ourselves.

Radio Replay: What's In It For Me?

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Misbehaving with Richard Thaler

NPR's Weekend in Washington session at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 31, 2015. Allison Shelley/for NPR hide caption

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Allison Shelley/for NPR

Misbehaving with Richard Thaler

We don't always do what we're supposed to do. We don't save enough for retirement. We order dessert — even when we're supposed to be dieting. In other words, we misbehave. That's the title of Richard Thaler's most recent book: Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. If you've read Thaler's previous book, Nudge, you know he's an economist who studies why people don't really act the way traditional economists say they will. Thaler recently won a Nobel Prize for his contributions to the field of behavioral economics — so we thought we'd celebrate by giving you this encore episode. It's still one of our favorites.

Misbehaving with Richard Thaler

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The Good Old Days
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The Good Old Days

Is nostalgia an emotion that's bitter, or sweet? Why are we so often pulled into memories of the past? This week on Hidden Brain, we talk about what prompts us to feel nostalgic, and the harms and benefits of this emotion. Plus, how Donald Trump employed nostalgia to win the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Good Old Days

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The Edge of Gender

How much does biology shape who we are, and how much is determined by culture and the environment in which we live? Renee Klahr/NPR hide caption

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Renee Klahr/NPR

The Edge of Gender

Gender is one of the first things we notice about the people around us. But where do our ideas about gender come from? Can gender differences be explained by genes and chromosomes, or are they the result of upbringing, culture and the environment? This week, we delve into the debate over nature vs. nurture, and meet the first person in the United States to officially reject the labels of both male and female, and be recognized as "non-binary."

The Edge of Gender

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