NPR’s breakout hit Invisibilia returns for Season Three this June, offering brands valuable opportunities to align across podcast, radio broadcast, digital and mobile platforms. Preview audio from the first three episodes of Season Three, and read episode descriptions below.
Note: Audio clips and episode descriptions from unpublished Invisibilia Season Three episodes are under embargo and may not be distributed.
Season Three Episode Descriptions
A thief knocks down your door and you are flooded with fear. Your baby smiles up at you and you are filled with love. It feels like this is how emotions work: something happens, and we instinctively respond. How could it be any other way? Well, the latest research in psychology and neuroscience shows that’s not in fact how emotions work. We offer you a truly mind-blowing alternative explanation for how an emotion gets made. And we do it through a bizarre lawsuit, in which a child dies, and the child’s parents are the ones who get sued by an uninjured bystander. In part two we track an anthropologist’s discovery of a new emotion, and the personal tragedy which allows him to finally feel it. And we talk to a woman whose overwhelming emotions cause her to do one of the worst things you can do on a date – something that virtually guarantees date failure.
How is it that two neighbors can look out their window at the exact same thing, and see something completely different? This is a question many people in America are asking now. We explore it by visiting 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 you can feed with your hands, and others think they are dangerous killers. This divide leads to conflict and, ultimately, a tragic death. So, is there a “real” truth about the bear, or is each side constructing its own reality? In part two we look at attempts to escape these self-made constructs. We follow one man’s epic experiment to break out of his reality bubble. And one woman’s epic-in-its-own-way experiment to break out of her species bubble!
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?
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. In part two we meet people who take strange roads to connect with their other selves, including a woman convinced she has a bubbly four-year-old locked up inside her.
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