LV's Podcast Pick of the Month: NPR's Hidden Brain

LV's Podcast Pick of the Month: NPR's Hidden Brain

In our new series, “LV’s Podcast Pick of the Month,” we’re highlighting an audio program that we’re crushing on.

Our criteria: It needs to be smart, sharp, and help make some aspect of your money life easier.

This month’s featured listen focuses on the science behind your thoughts and behaviors.

Ever wonder why you relish the ritual of brewing your morning coffee? Or why your friend gets so jumpy during horror films, while you know it's just a movie?

You don't necessarily have to crack open a psychology textbook to satisfy your curiosity—there's a podcast for that.


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Enter "Hidden Brain," the latest audio series from National Public Radio hosted by Shankar Vedantam, an NPR social science correspondent and author of "The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives."

Each week, Vedantam unravels the research that helps explain certain human behaviors—for instance, why we find it difficult to accept criticism—which makes it a helpful resource for anyone who can't help but ask, “Why did I do that?!”

Despite only launching in September, it's already ranked in the top 10 of iTunes podcasts—perhaps because it provides digestible behavior-change advice that helps you navigate real-world social situations.

The Gist: Most of the "Hidden Brain" episodes focus on self discovery or managing interpersonal relationships, but the insights you get out of them could help you unearth the undetected influences behind your money and career decisions.

Using guest anecdotes, games and even music, the podcast's captivating storytelling relays science-backed behavioral insight in a fun, relatable way.

How to Listen: Tune in on NPR’s website or subscribe weekly via iTunes. Each episode is about 20 to 30 minutes long. 

Recent Hot Topics:

  • How being kind to others can make a real difference in your own life
  • Tips for holding a more effective—and considerate—conversation
  • How feeling like an outsider can work to your advantage
  • How to turn failure into future success

Good Episodes for Newbie Listeners: Anyone who has a hard time accepting criticism at work should listen to “Switchtracking,” which breaks down how people try to derail receiving feedback by changing the subject. (C'mon, you know you've been guilty of it.)

The episode may have you rethinking every workplace conversation you've ever had—not to mention every discussion you've had with your partner. Fortunately, it offers up solid advice to help improve your conversation skills, whether you're speaking to your supervisor or your spouse. (Hint: Flattery will get you everywhere.)

For those who've been struggling to achieve a long-term goal, check out "Near Victories."

Maybe you were this close to paying off your student loans, only to be waylaid by a big credit card bill. Or perhaps you were in the final running as a job candidate—only to be cut in the final round.

Instead of seeing these events as a loss, this episode explores how viewing each scenario as a "near victory" can provide the motivational boost you need to succeed on your next try—and even improve productivity and performance in other areas of your life.

RELATED: 4 Brain Blockers That Can Hold You Back at Work—and How to Outsmart Them


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