Jennifer Schmidt

Jennifer Schmidt is a senior producer for Hidden Brain. She is responsible for crafting the complex stories that are told on the show. She researches, writes, gathers field tape, and develops story structures. Some highlights of her work on Hidden Brain include episodes about the causes of the #MeToo movement, how diversity drives creativity, and the complex psychology of addiction.

Since joining NPR in January 2014, Schmidt has also worked as an editor on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She has put together pieces for various news desks, including a story about survivor goats from the California wildfires for NPR's health blog Shots and a piece on a new trend in C-sections in which women can watch their babies being born which aired on Morning Edition.

The recipient of numerous journalism awards, Schmidt has been awarded a PRNDI for feature reporting, a National Headliners award for breaking news, a silver CINDY, an EMMA for editing, and various other awards from the RTNDA, the Associated Press, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Schmidt's reporting has taken her across both the country and the world, from KPLU in Seattle and WBUR in Boston to freelancing in South Africa and Mexico. After living abroad for almost a decade, Schmidt now lives on a small farm near the Chesapeake Bay with a menagerie of animals including a one-eyed cat from South Africa, chickens, horses, two dogs from Mexico City, and goats.

Schmidt graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Many people start exploring their sexuality in college. The lessons they learn about intimacy and attraction during these years lay a foundation for the rest of their lives.

"I have students who have had sex many times drunk but have never held someone's hand," says Occidental University sociologist Lisa Wade.

Have you ever noticed that when something important is missing in your life, your brain can only seem to focus on that missing thing?

The Greek poet Archilochus wrote, "the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

There are many different interpretations of this parable, but psychologist Phil Tetlock sees it as a way of understanding two cognitive styles: Foxes have different strategies for different problems. They are comfortable with nuance; they can live with contradictions. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, focus on the big picture. They reduce every problem to one organizing principle.

The day was June 4, 1924. A dark-haired girl, just 17 years old, was admitted to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. She became colony inmate 1692. The superintendent of the colony examined her. He declared her healthy, free of syphilis, able to read, write, and keep herself tidy. And then he classified her as "feeble-minded of the lowest grade, moron class."

Have you ever noticed that when something important is missing in your life, your brain can only seem to focus on that missing thing?

Two researchers have dubbed this phenomenon scarcity, and they say it touches on many aspects of our lives.

"It leads you to take certain behaviors that in the short term help you to manage scarcity, but in the long term only make matters worse," says Sendhil Mullainathan, an economics professor at Harvard University.