The Hidden Brain

  • by Shankar Vedantam
  • Narrated by Steve West
  • 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The "hidden brain" is Shankar Vedantam's shorthand for a host of brain functions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes that happen outside of our conscious awareness, but that have a decisive effect on how we behave.
The hidden brain has its finger on the scale when we make all of our most complex and important decisions - it decides who we fall in love with, whether we should convict someone of murder, or which way to run when someone yells "fire!" It explains why we can become riveted by the story of a single puppy adrift on an ocean but are quickly bored by a story of genocide. The hidden brain can also be deliberately manipulated to vote against someone's interest, or even to become a suicidal terrorist. But the most disturbing thing is that it can do all of this without our knowing.
Shankar Vedantam, longtime author of the Washington Post's popular Department of Human Behavior column, takes us on a tour of this phenomenon and explores its consequences. Using original reporting that combines the latest scientific research with fascinating narratives that take listeners from the American campaign trail to terrorist indoctrination camps, from the World Trade Center on 9/11 to, yes, a puppy adrift in the Pacific Ocean, Vedantam illuminates the dark recesses of our minds while making an original argument about how we can compensate for our mental blindness - and what happens when we don't.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Adjunct Instructor of Psychology

This is a fascinating look at behavior. I use it to strengthen my classes in Psychology and Human Development. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in human behavior and the brain.
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- Anne

Starts out good - then becomes negative

This book started out really good, until you are about half way through the first portion, then it turns real negative, with the author explaining events like 9/11 or a brutal murder in great detail (as to make you relive the horror of the event) and then doesn't really explain how it is relevant to his overall theory or idea of "the hidden brain". It got to the point where I just had to shut it off and not listen to it any more - I would not purchase this book again and/or recommend it to friends or family..
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- Dan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-04-2010
  • Publisher: Random House Audio