On-Air Highlights

Rebroadcast of Invisibilia

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Apr 24, 2015 7:36 AM

This May WITF is rebroadcasting the pilot series Invisbilia. Since it is a pilot, you have a say in how to adjust, improve, and refine the series as it continues development on its way toward a regular series. This new series concept is titled Invisibilia, which is Latin for "invisible things." Invisibilia is a program about the unseen forces that control human behavior -- things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and thoughts. Invisibilia is co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel who helped create Radiolab and This American Life.

Invisibilia explores a fascinating array of human behavior through personal stories and psychological and brain research. Our lives are shaped -- and sometimes even controlled -- by ideas and feelings that are powerful and rarely examined. Spiegel and Miller make them visible. They dig into how, sometimes, we have dark, disturbing thoughts and they explore whether those thoughts say anything about who we are. They look at how fear shapes our actions in the world, often without us realizing it, looking at why we fear and how we exert control over fear. They look at why we need to feel part of a group or category, exploring how those ties shape identity and fuel emotion over a lifetime. Spiegel and Miller show us that expectations have real-world consequences so powerful that they could overcome physical disability. They test our assumption that empathy brings people closer together. And they introduce a man who has merged with his computer and ask if the future he envisions will change mankind.

In addition to the six-part broadcast, the series is still available in podcast form. You can hear this series Saturday at 8:00pm beginning May 2.

Hear an interview with WITF's Scott Lamar with show hosts Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel:

Episode Descriptions:

May 2 - 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.
May 9 - 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.
May 16 - 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.
May 23 - 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.
May 30 - 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.
June 6 - 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.

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