Word of Mouth Presents Invisibilia Season 3

Jun 26, 2017

NPR's Invisibilia is a show about the invisible forces that control human behavior which first debuted in 2015. All this week we're airing episodes from the just released season 3 of the show in our time slot. Catch up below if you miss the broadcast.

Monday - Emotions

It feels like emotions just come at us, and there is nothing we can do. But we might have it backwards. In our first episode of the new season, we examine a provocative new theory about where emotions come from. It will change how you feel, and how you feel about your feelings. And ultimately it will give you more control over your life. Hosts Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin explore this theory through an unusual and tragic legal case involving a car accident and the death of a child.

Tuesday - Reality

How is it that two people can look out the window at the same exact thing and see something completely different? This is a question many of us are asking after the latest election. In this episode, we talk to umpires in training, who firmly believe that what they see is what’s real. And we visit a small community in Minnesota, called Eagle’s Nest Township, that has a unique experience with the reality divide: some of the people in the town believe that wild black bears are gentle animals to be fed and befriended, while many others take a more traditional view on the human-bear relationship. This leads to conflict and, ultimately, a tragic death. Then we meet a young man who is taking extraordinary steps to break out of his own reality bubble.

Wednesday - The Culture Inside

Is there a part of ourselves that we don’t acknowledge, that we don’t even have access to and that might make us ashamed if we encountered it? We begin with a woman whose left hand takes instructions from a different part of her brain. It hits her, and knocks cigarettes out of her hand and makes her wonder: who is issuing the orders?  Is there some other “me” in there I don’t know about? We then ask this question about one of the central problems of our time: racism. Scientific research has shown that even well-meaning people operate with implicit bias - stereotypes and attitudes we are not fully aware of that nonetheless shape our behavior towards people of color. We examine the Implicit Association Test, a widely available psychological test that popularized the notion of implicit bias. And we talk to people who are tackling the question, critical to so much of our behavior: what does it take to change these deeply embedded concepts? Can it even be done?

Thursday - Future Self

What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a question we ask children, and adults. In American culture the concept of the future self is critical, required. It drives us to improve, become a richer, more successful, happier version of who we are now. It keeps us from getting blinkered by the world we grew up in, allowing us to see into other potential worlds, new and different concepts, infinite other selves. But the future self can also torture us, mocking us for who we have failed to become. We travel to North Port, Florida, where the principal of a high school did something extreme and unusual to help his students strive for grander future selves - a noble American experiment that went horribly wrong.

Sunday - An Encore Presentation of Emotions