Invisibilia

Sundays at 3:00 PM (Seasonal)

  NPR's newest pilot program, Invisibilia, launches a six-episode season which will air on APR beginning Sunday, January 18th through February 22nd, 2015.

Invisibilia is about the unseen forces that control human behavior -- things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and thoughts. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, who helped create Radiolab and This American Life, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling and fascinating new psychological and brain science, in a way that ultimately makes you see your own life differently.

The one-hour program is a collaboration between the NPR Science Desk, led by Supervising Senior Editor Anne Gudenkauf, and NPR's Programming division. It continues NPR's tradition of re-imagining science programing in a way that is approachable and appealing to our listeners.

Click here for the podcast link.

Invisibilia Episode Descriptions:

Jan 18
In our hour Fearless, we look at what would happen if you could disappear fear. A group of scientists believe that we no longer need fear — at least not the kind we live with — to navigate the modern world. We will examine that claim, and reveal the striking (and rare) case of a woman with no fear. The second half of the show explores how the rest of us might "turn off" fear.

Jan 25
In How to Become Batman, we examine the surprising effect that your expectations can have on the people around you. We’ll hear how people’s expectations can influence how well a rat runs a maze. Plus, the story of a man who is blind and says expectations have helped him see. This journey is not without skeptics. We’ll hear from them, and from neuroscientists who explain the profound effect others’ expectations can have on your physiology.

Feb 01
The Power of Categories examines how categories define us — how, if given a chance, humans will jump into one category or another. We need them. We want them. We look at what categories provide for us, we hear the story of a person caught between gender categories in a way that will surprise you, and we visit the first retirement community in the country to be based around one ethnic group.

Feb 08
In Entanglement we hear from a woman with Mirror Touch Synesthesia who can physically feel what she sees others feeling. We also explore the ways in which all of us are connected — more literally than you might realize. The hour will start with surprising developments in physics and end with a conversation with comedian Maria Bamford and her mother. They discuss what it’s like to be entangled through impersonation.

Feb 15
In Our Computers, Ourselves we look at the ways technology is affecting us, and our main question is: Are computers changing our character? We hear from cyborgs, bullies, neuroscientists and police chiefs about whether our closeness with computers is changing us as a species.

Feb 22
In The Secret History of Thoughts, we ponder the question, “Are my thoughts related to my inner wishes, do they reveal who I really am?” The answer can have profound consequences for your life. We tell the story of a man gripped by violent thoughts, and explore how various psychologists make sense of his experience. We also introduce you to a man trapped inside his head for 13 years with thoughts as his only companion.

True You

Jun 23, 2017

Thanks to the following musicians:

  • KRIKL&BE for the song "Whatcha Know"
  • Peals for letting us use: Trillium, Wind Honey, and Tehachapi Loop.
  • Blue Dot Sessions for Stale Case and Trois Gnossiennes.
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Future Self

Jun 21, 2017

This episode contains some disturbing content and might not be appropriate for some listeners.

Special thanks to the following musicians:

The Culture Inside

Jun 14, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Reality Part Two

Jun 7, 2017

We'd like to thank the following musicians:

  • Julianna Barwick and Suicide Squeeze Records and SubPop Licensing for letting us use the song "Call"
  • Peals for their song "Wild Honey"
  • Crazy P for "Errinerige"

Reality Part One

Jun 7, 2017

Thanks to:

Emotions Part Two

May 31, 2017

Note: In this show, we refer to a group of people who live in the Philippines. The name of the group has multiple valid English spellings, including Ifugal and Ifugao. We have opted for the former pronunciation for our story.

We'd like to thank the following musicians:

  • Linnea S. - Her Presence is Strong Here
  • Myriadar - Cart Before the Horse

Emotions Part One

May 31, 2017

To learn more about the theory of constructed emotion and the work of neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, check out her book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain.

Special thanks to the following musicians:

  • Helena Ahlbäck (formerly of The Broken Assembly) - "Emotional"

Season 3 Trailer

May 18, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Meet the Contributors

Jul 31, 2016

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Read the Transcript

Jul 29, 2016

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

HANNA ROSIN, HOST:

When he was in college, the thing that annoyed Brett Cohen the most was celebrity culture.

Featured Music

Jul 29, 2016

Most of the music in this episode was obtained from NPR's licensed music libraries. But we are always on the hunt for awesome new music or original work by musicians! If that's you, write to us on Facebook or at invisibiliamail@npr.org and your music could be featured here!

Explore the Episode

Jul 29, 2016

Read the Transcript

Jul 22, 2016

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

HANNA ROSIN, HOST:

Let's begin on October 31.

HANNA ROSIN AND LULU MILLER: Halloween.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: Trick or treat.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Trick or treat.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Happy Halloween.

Featured Music

Jul 22, 2016

Special thanks to musicians Kai Engel and Lee Rosevere, whose music was used under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Nazi's Shirt

Jul 22, 2016

Hanna Rosin has a story about Martin Greenfield, a tailor in Brooklyn who has dressed the last three presidents, and a host of celebrities – Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal. He learned how to sew when the SS put him to work in the tailor shop at Auschwitz, where he did an amazing thing. After he ripped the shirt of a Nazi officer, and took a beating for it, Martin decided to take the shirt for himself. No other prisoners had a shirt under their uniform but he kept his, throughout the rest of the war.

Shoes

Jul 22, 2016

A short comedic essay by contributor Colin Dwyer who proposes that maybe shoes are to blame, for pollution, climate change, violence, and all the other acts of human insensitivity. Because the moment we slipped a surface between ourselves and the ground, we lost our intimate connection with the earth.

Read the Transcript

Jul 15, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ALIX SPIEGEL, HOST:

This story starts in Washington, D.C., on a warm summer night. There were eight friends gathered around a backyard dinner table. They were toasting family and friendship. And everybody was having a good time.

Featured Music

Jul 15, 2016

Explore the Episode

Jul 15, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Featured Music

Jul 8, 2016

Explore the Episode

Jul 8, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Read the Transcript

Jul 8, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

HANNA ROSIN, HOST:

So let's go back to World War II.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: America goes to war to save the homes and ideals of free men from Axis domination.

ROSIN: America was fighting a terrible dictator determined to take over Europe.

Explore the Episode

Jul 1, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Meet the Experts

Jul 1, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Read the Transcript

Jul 1, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU MILLER, HOST:

So let's begin today with the American dream achieved. Gifford Briggs had found himself a beautiful wife.

JENNIFER BRIGGS: My name is Jennifer Briggs.

MILLER: A beautiful home, a great job.

GIFFORD BRIGGS: I work in construction.

MILLER: And then they had a daughter.

Read the Transcript

Jun 24, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Featured Music

Jun 24, 2016

Explore the Episode

Jun 24, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Listen to the episode

Jun 17, 2016

You probably don't even notice them, but social norms determine so much of your behavior - how you dress, talk, eat and even what you allow yourself to feel. These norms are so entrenched we never imagine they can shift. But Alix Spiegel and new co-host, Hanna Rosin, examine two grand social experiments that attempt to do just that: teach McDonald's employees in Russia to smile, and workers on an oil rig how to cry.

Featured Music

Jun 17, 2016

All the music in this episode was obtained from NPR's licensed music libraries. But we are always on the hunt for awesome new music or original work by musicians! If that's you, write to us on Facebook or at invisibiliamail@npr.org and your music could be featured here!

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