The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives
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The hidden brain is the voice in our ear when we make the most important decisions in our lives—but we’re never aware of it. The hidden brain decides whom we fall in love with and whom we hate. It tells us to vote for the white candidate and convict the dark-skinned defendant, to hire the thin woman but pay her less than the man doing the same job. It can direct us to safety when disaster strikes and move us to extraordinary acts of altruism. But it can also be manipulated to turn an ordinary person into a suicide terrorist or a group of bystanders into a mob.
In a series of compulsively readable narratives, Shankar Vedantam journeys through the latest discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science to uncover the darkest corner of our minds and its decisive impact on the choices we make as individuals and as a society. Filled with fascinating characters, dramatic storytelling, and cutting-edge science, this is an engrossing exploration of the secrets our brains keep from us—and how they are revealed.
lunch with an old buddy, a retired police lieutenant. Shinnick did not come home that afternoon or that evening. It was not like him to be late and not call, but his wife Michele figured that he had probably gone back to the police department to meet some friends. She called around, but no one had seen Shinnick. By nine o’clock in the evening, at the urging of police, Michele filed a missing person’s report. She went online and found that Shinnick had made a cash withdrawal from an ATM machine
L. McGill, “Is That Car Smiling at Me? Schema Congruity As a Basis for Evaluating Anthropomorphized Products,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 34 (December 2007). Experiments show that our unthinking tendency Gerald J. Gorn, Yuwei Jiang, and Gita Venkataramani Johar, “Babyfaces, Trait Inferences, and Company Evaluations in a Public Relations Crisis,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, No. 1 (June 2008). officer had treated McKinney with “disrespect” “McKinney Decries ‘Inappropriate
patio. Gustus told the man she had to go inside. She turned, and he jumped down onto the patio. He grabbed her arm. She raised her voice immediately and told him to leave. He asked for a glass of water. Gustus could smell alcohol on his breath. She protested, and he started to shove her back into the apartment. A driver in a passing car saw a man and woman having what seemed to be an altercation on a patio. The driver went to the corner, turned around, and came back for another look. By the time
drops a bunch of coins or pencils. They fall to the floor with a clatter. And then, as the elevator counts off floor after floor after floor, not one person moves a muscle to help. It is not as though people don’t realize that someone needs help. They have to notice the stranger groping on the floor. Some people may feel uncomfortable and might silently wonder whether to get involved. But each person is surrounded by five others who are doing nothing. If the people knew they were being tested,
connection between race bias and political conservatism is only a correlation. The only way to prove causation is to conduct the kind of experiment that is impossible in real life: You change some people’s unconscious racial attitudes and see if their political orientation fluctuates in response. If it does, you know that racial attitudes are influencing how people think about politics. Nosek believes the relationship flows in both directions—race bias contributes to conservatism, and vice