Most of us would agree that there is an obvious connection between the things we believe and the way we behave. But what if our actions are driven not by our conscious beliefs but by hidden motivations we are not aware of?
The “hidden brain” is Shankar Vedantam’s shorthand for a host of cognitive processes that happen outside our conscious awareness but that have a decisive affect on how we behave:
They decide whom we fall in love with, whether or not we should convict someone of murder, and which way to run when someone yells “Fire!”
The hidden brain can also be deliberately manipulated by others to convince people to vote against their own interests, or to even become fundamentalists, and suicidal bombers. And the most disturbing thing is that it does all this without our knowing.