On-Air Highlights

Invisibilia Season 3 this June

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | May 15, 2017 2:05 PM
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Invisibilia is Latin for "invisible things." The program explores the unseen forces that shape human behavior -- things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions -- interweaving narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently. The show is co-hosted by a trio of NPR's award-winning journalists, Alix Spiegel, Lulu Miller and Hanna Rosin, who have roots at This American Life, Radiolab and The AtlanticInvisibilia debuted in January 2015 and habeen in the top ranks of audio storytelling, and nominated for a Peabody Award.

New episodes this year on season 3 look at the nature of reality and our role in creating it. The stories speak to a central question of our time: how is it that people are looking out at the same landscape and seeing completely different things? Is this just a unique cultural situation, or is our polarization born of something more profound? Through illuminating science and compelling stories about hidden bias, social bubbles, emotional truth, our future selves, and living with wild bears, Invisibilia will explore to what extent we live in the same world, or a world that each of us constructs.

Episode 1: Emotion - How real and inevitable are our emotions?  June 6 at 2:00pm
In the first stories of the new season, we're giving emotions a similar treatment to the one we gave to thoughts in the very first episode of Invisibilia (The Secret History of Thoughts). Where do our emotions come from? How seriously should we take them? Do they tell us truths about the world that should guide our behavior or should we be more skeptical about them? To explore these questions, we look at an unusual case in the American justice system. Then we follow a man as he discovers a new emotion that no one in western culture has experienced before.

Episode 2: Reality Check - How real is our own reality?  June 13 at 2:00pm
What happens when people can't agree on reality? Many in our increasingly polarized society confront this question every day. In this episode we meet Umpires in training who have a lock on what’s really happening and visit a small town in Minnesota, called Eagle's Nest, 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 himself out of his own reality bubble.

Episode 3: The Other Self - How does the culture help shape the reality each of us lives in? June 20 at 2:00pm
In this episode we explore a theory about prejudice that has taken hold in recent years: implicit bias. The rise of this concept was facilitated by the public release of a psychological test that can be done online called the Implicit Association Test, which purports to measure a secret, hidden part of ourselves that most of us can't directly access: our racism. Although embraced by many as an incredible breakthrough in our understanding of the human psyche, it has also received pushback from groups and individuals who don't believe that it is accurately measuring bias. In this story we follow the development of the test and theory of implicit bias and talk to several people who are trying to confront and change their other self.

Episode 4: True You - What realities should we entertain for ourselves? June 27 at 2:00pm
In this episode we pose one of our favorite questions to ask children: What do you want to be when you grow up? Many people have these visions of their future selves; fantasies of a smarter, better, richer, more successful version of the people they are today. In many ways these future selves motivate us, pushing us to improve ourselves as we seek to achieve our dreams. But they can also be dangerous, mocking us for everything we have failed to become. Our stories take us into the life of a Syrian orphan who forged a new identity and life despite all odds and we go to North Port, Florida, where the principal of a high school did something unusual, and pretty extreme, to try and help his students reach their full potential, in an experiment that went horribly wrong. Then we travel to another world entirely; the dream world, where a woman is seeking answers from within.

Invisibilia is a collaboration between the NPR Science Desk, led by Supervising Senior Editor Anne Gudenkauf, and NPR. ne final note regarding Invisibilia Season 3: Host Lulu Miller is currently on leave writing a book. The four new episodes of Invisibilia Season 3 are hosted by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin.

Invisibilia airs weekly at 2:00pm through the month of June as part of WITF's Idea Exchange. 

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