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Hidden Brain: Gaining important insight from podcasts

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

By Cindy Zhao Dec. 8, 2020

Every morning, Anu Sarkar, Science Department, tunes in to The New York Times’s “The Daily.” Prior to the start of quarantine, she was not a big fan of podcasts, but now she often finds herself immersed in quality narration and reporting during her leisure time.

“I started listening to podcasts because my playlists grew repetitive during long drives. The first podcast I listened to was “The Way I Heard It.” I got a lot of my students listening to it too,” Sarkar said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sarkar stayed at home for longer periods of time. She went on more walks by herself so podcasts became her company.

Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and underlying biases in everyday decision.

Hosted by social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam of National Public Radio (NPR), the award-winning podcast “Hidden Brain” reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and underlying biases in everyday decisions.

“Aside from Shankar Vedantam being a great narrator, I enjoy “Hidden Brain because it is science-based and focuses on psychology and human behavior. The topics are generally well-selected and relevant to current events,” Sarkar said.

One of Sarkar’s favorite episodes from “Hidden Brain” is the June episode on implicit bias, which was released during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement. It examined research about stereotypes and how they affect institutional behavior, especially in regards to faults in the nation’s criminal justice system, such as police shootings and biased judges.

“I use the information...from podcasts to improve many of my personal habits.

As a research and science instructor, Sarkar appreciates “Hidden Brain” because it often mentions scientific studies. She likes to take the results from the studies and apply them to the classroom. Every year, Sarkar has her Advanced Placement Biology students listen to the episode “The Creature of Habits” by NPR, which synthesizes research on creating and maintaining habits and offers guidance to anyone hoping to make changes to their lifestyle.

“I use the information and advice I gain from podcasts to improve many of my personal habits. When I listen to podcasts and apply it to my life, I am challenging my students to do the same,” Sarkar said.


About the Contributor

Cindy Zhao

Lifestyle Editor

Cindy Zhao is a junior and the Lifestyle editor. She likes to take pictures of anything that catches her eye and occasionally publishes bad writing on her blog. Junior year is terrifying for her; all she wants to do is read all day. She is also severely sleep deprived. Beware.

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