About Hidden Brain
Why is it so hard to say 'I'm sorry?' In the final episode of our Healing 2.0 series, we talk with psychologist Tyler Okimoto about the mental barriers that keep us from admitting when we've done something wrong, as well as the transformative power of apologies. If you liked this episode, check out the rest of our Healing 2.0 series. And if you know someone who would benefit from the ideas we explored in this series, please share these episodes with them. Thanks!
In 2019, Justin Harrison's mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. But by the time she died, he had figured out how to keep a part of her alive...forever. This week, the strange and provocative story of a man who believes that grief is not inevitable — that we can, in a way, cheat death. If you missed the earlier installments of our Healing 2.0 series, you can find them in this podcast feed, or on our website: Life After Loss, What We Gain from Pain, and Change Your Story, Change Your Life.
You've probably heard that people who lose a loved one may go through what are known as the "five stages" of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But many people find that their grief doesn't follow this model at all. In the latest installment of our Healing 2.0 series, we revisit our 2022 conversation with resilience researcher Lucy Hone. Lucy shares the techniques she learned to cope after a devastating loss in her own life. If you missed the earlier installments of our Healing 2.0 series, you can find them in this podcast feed, or on our website: Healing 2.0: Change Your Story, Change Your Life and Healing 2.0: What We Gain from Pain.
We’ve all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But is there any truth to this idea? This week, we explore the concept of post-traumatic growth with psychologist Eranda Jayawickreme. He finds that pain can have benefits — but not necessarily the ones we expect. Enjoy this episode? Make sure to check out last week's kick-off to our Healing 2.0 series, where we explore how the stories we tell about ourselves shape our lives in profound ways.
We all tell stories about ourselves, often without realizing we’re doing so. How we frame those stories can profoundly shape our lives. In the kickoff episode to our month-long series on healing, psychologist Jonathan Adler shares how to tell our stories in ways that enhance our wellbeing. Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!
One of the mysteries of human behavior is that it’s often easier for us to focus on what’s going wrong than on what’s going right in our lives. Why is that? Psychologist Thomas Gilovich studies the barriers that prevent us from feeling gratitude, and how we can overcome them. Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!
As we move through our lives, we have to make decisions both big and small. Some are banal: What will I eat for breakfast today? Should I drive or bike to work? Others are more complicated: How much should I contribute to my 401k? What career should I pursue? Today on the show, behavioral economist Richard Thaler explains why our decision making is often far more nuanced than economic models would suggest. If you missed last week's show on how to keep yourself from getting conned, you can find it here: How to Spot a Scam.
We like to think that con artists only prey upon the weak, or gullible. But psychologist Dan Simons says all of us can fall victim to scams, because the best scammers know how to take advantage of our biases and blindspots. Did you miss last week's episode about perfectionism? You can find it here. And thanks for listening!
Perfectionism is everyone’s favorite flaw. It’s easy to assume that our push to be perfect is what leads to academic, athletic, and professional success. But psychologist Thomas Curran says perfectionism has a dark side, and that there are much healthier ways to strive for excellence. Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!
It's easy to think that the best teams are collections of highly accomplished or talented individuals, working under a skilled leader. But that's no guarantee of success. Psychologist Anita Woolley says the best teams are far more than the sum of their parts, and they share certain basic characteristics. Do you know someone who would enjoy Hidden Brain? Please tell them about this episode. And thanks for listening!
After we make a decision, we often tell ourselves a story about why our choice was the right one to make. It's a mental process that psychologist Elliot Aronson calls self-justification. These rationalizations can sometimes lead us to excuse bad behavior or talk ourselves out of a poor choice. But are there also times when self-justification can be used for good? This is the second part of our series on cognitive dissonance. Listen to the first episode: How We Live with Contradictions.
Think about the last time you did something you knew was wrong. How did you explain your actions to yourself? All of us tell stories about why we do the things we do. We justify our failures, and come up with plausible explanations for our actions. This week, Elliot Aronson explains the mental processes behind this type of self-justification, and shares how he helped develop one of the most widely-known concepts in psychology: cognitive dissonance. If you're interested in learning more about the origins of cognitive dissonance, listen to our episode When You Need It To Be True. Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks!
How often do you say something negative to yourself that you'd never utter to someone else? Self-criticism can often feel like a way to hold ourselves accountable. But psychologist Kristin Neff says there’s a better path to personal growth: self-compassion. In a favorite conversation from 2021, Kristin remembers the painful moment when she learned to show herself self-compassion, and shares how being kind to ourselves can improve our wellbeing and relationships with others. Do you know someone who needs a reminder to be kind to themselves? Please share this episode with them! And if you have follow-up questions for Kristin Neff, please record a voice memo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line "self-compassion" in your email. Thanks!
Sorrows have a way of finding us, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Joys, on the other hand, are often hard to notice and appreciate. This week, we continue our conversation with psychologist Fred Bryant about the science of savoring, and how to make the most of the good things in our lives. Do you know someone who would enjoy our You 2.0 series? Please tell them about this episode and last week's show about how to turn even the smallest moments into opportunities for pleasure. And thanks for listening!
It’s understandable that we sometimes dwell on things that upset us. But our negative emotions can keep us from savoring the good things in our lives. This week, we continue our You 2.0 series with psychologist Fred Bryant. We’ll discuss the many benefits of savoring, and how we can turn even the smallest of moments into an opportunity for pleasure. Do you know someone who would enjoy our You 2.0 series? Please tell them about this episode and last week's show about how to set our "future selves" up for success. And thanks for listening!
Have you ever set a goal and had a really difficult time sticking to it? Maybe you decide you want to save more money, or go to the gym more often. This week on the show, psychologist Hal Hershfield explains why it can be difficult to set our "future selves" up for success. Plus, he shares tools to help us make commitments that will benefit us in the years to come. Do you know someone who would enjoy our You 2.0 series? Please tell them about this episode and last week's show about how to break out of a rut. And thanks for listening!
There are times in life when the challenges we face feel insurmountable. Authors succumb to writer's block. Athletes and artists hit a plateau. People of a certain age fall into a midlife crisis. These are all different ways of saying: I'm stuck. This week, in the kickoff to our annual You 2.0 series, psychologist Adam Alter shares his research on why we all get stuck at various points in our lives, and how to break free. Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks!
Think about how often you hold back honest opinions of someone else because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. But there are times when this well-intended restraint can be a mistake. This week, in the second part of our series on failure and feedback, psychologist Taya Cohen helps us understand when — and how — to be honest. If you missed the first part of our series — which focuses on how we can become better at learning from difficult or negative feedback — you can find it here.
No matter who you are, it's guaranteed that at some point in life you'll make a mistake. Many of us find failures to be uncomfortable — so we try our best to ignore them and move on. But what if there was a way to turn that discomfort into an opportunity? This week, we begin a two part mini-series on the psychology of failure and feedback. Psychologist Lauren Eskreis-Winkler teaches us how to stop ignoring our mistakes, and instead, start to learn from them. Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks!
This week, we bring you the second part of our conversation on the perils of too much pleasure. Psychiatrist Anna Lembke explains the neuroscience behind compulsive consumption, and how it alters our brains. She also shares techniques she’s learned from her patients to overcome the lure of addictive substances and behaviors. Do you like the ideas and insights we feature on Hidden Brain? Then please consider supporting our work by joining our new podcast subscription, Hidden Brain+. You can find it in the Apple Podcasts app, or by going to apple.co/hiddenbrain. Thanks!