NPR’s Invisibilia podcast

Last week I found NPR’s Invisibilia podcast and I’m hooked!

The series, co-hosted by Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller “explores the intangible forces that shape human behaviour — things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.”

Invisibilia is Latin for “all the invisible things,” those things we might never consider if it were not for these two intrepid podcasters delving in to some interesting reporting journeys to shine a light on them. In the pilot season, they explore our innermost thoughts, emotions, and expectations and track down the science to help explain how those things impact on us.

The storytelling is superb. Each episode is laced with new findings from the fields of psychology and brain science, which for me is brain candy.

Here’s what the first three episodes were about:

echolocation helps blind people navigate everyday lifeI was particularly thrilled to listen to How to Become Batman in this past Friday’s episode. About four years ago I wrote Echolocation Helps Blind People Navigate Everyday Life for GE’s Healthy Outlook blog so I am familiar with the science behind how blind people use echolocation to see. But it was wonderful to hear more detail, the backstory of Daniel Kish’s life and listen to the same neuroscientist I interviewed share her remarkable findings about what happens in his brain when he uses echolocation to navigate the world.

Kish shares some wise thoughts on the expectations we impose on others we perceive to have disabilities. If you have time, there is a bonus segment that details the experience of a blind woman who echolocates. Her story makes us consider the other side of the coin and is a poignant story about trading roles with her husband as their situation changes.

If you haven’t checked out Invisibilia yet, I highly recommend you do.

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