Gary Knight/VII/Gary Knight/VII
Shankar Vedantam
Gary Knight/VII/Gary Knight/VII

Shankar Vedantam

Correspondent, Science Desk

Shankar Vedantam is NPR's social science correspondent and the host of the Hidden Brain podcast. The focus of his reporting is on human behavior and the social sciences, and how research in those fields can get listeners to think about the news in unusual and interesting ways.

Before joining NPR in 2011, Vedantam spent 10 years as a reporter at The Washington Post. From 2007 to 2009, he was also a columnist, and wrote the Department of Human Behavior column for the Post. Vedantam writes an occasional column for Slate called "Hidden Brain."

Throughout his career, Vedantam has been recognized with many journalism honors including awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, and the American Public Health Association.

In 2009-2010, Vedantam served as a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He participated in the 2005 Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship on Science and Religion, the 2003-2004 World Health Organization Journalism Fellowship, and the 2002-2003 Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship.

Vedantam is the author of the non-fiction book, The Hidden Brain: How our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives. The book, published in 2010, described how unconscious biases influence people.

Outside of journalism, Vedantam has written fiction and plays. His short story-collection, The Ghosts of Kashmir, was published in 2005. The previous year, the Brick Playhouse in Philadelphia produced his full-length, comedy play, Tom, Dick and Harriet.

Vedantam has served as a lecturer at many academic institutions including Harvard University and Columbia University. In 2010, he completed a two year-term as a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. Since 2006, he has served on the advisory board of the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowships in Science & Religion.

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Story Archive

Sometimes it can feel like there is a terrorist attack on the news every other week. But how much attention an attack receives has a lot to do with one factor: the religion of the perpetrator. David McNew /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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David McNew /AFP/Getty Images

Hidden Brain: Terror Strikes And An Attacker's Identity

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Sometimes it can feel like there is a terrorist attack on the news every other week. But how much attention an attack receives has a lot to do with one factor: the religion of the perpetrator. David McNew /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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David McNew /AFP/Getty Images

In the aftermath of a police-involved shooting, there's often a familiar debate about what led to it. But research shows there's an underlying cause that we often miss. JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

Police Shootings: How A Culture Of Racism Can Infect Us All

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Psychologist Phil Tetlock thinks the parable of the fox and the hedgehog represents two different cognitive styles. "The hedgehogs are more the big idea people, more decisive," while the foxes are more accepting of nuance, more open to using different approaches with different problems. Renee Klahr/NPR hide caption

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Renee Klahr/NPR

The Triumphs And Perils Of 'Going Big'

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Danita Delimont/Getty Images/Gallo Images

Researchers Ferret Out Information From White House Visitor Logs

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In the aftermath of a police-involved shooting, there's often a familiar debate about what led to it. But research shows there's an underlying cause that we often miss. JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

Is recycling bad? No, but research suggests recycling can have a downside. Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images hide caption

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Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

Why Recycling Options Lead People To Waste More

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The "broken windows" theory of policing suggested that cleaning up the visible signs of disorder — like graffiti, loitering, panhandling and prostitution — would prevent more serious crime. Image Source/Getty Images hide caption

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Image Source/Getty Images

Modern psychology shows that we all have a little bit of Narcissus in us. Most of us like people who remind us of ourselves — whether that is someone else with the same name or the same birthday. Renee Klahr hide caption

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Renee Klahr
Clifford Coffin/Getty Images

Advice For Your Dinner Party Stories: Keep It Familiar

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Psychologist Phil Tetlock thinks the parable of the fox and the hedgehog represents two different cognitive styles. "The hedgehogs are more the big idea people, more decisive," while the foxes are more accepting of nuance, more open to using different approaches with different problems. Renee Klahr hide caption

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Renee Klahr

A person illegally pans for gold at a site in the Department of Choco near the city of Quibdo, Colombia, on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. According to Santiago Angel, head of the Colombian mining association, about 85 percent of the 59 tons of gold produced last year in Colombia comes from operations without government licenses or environmental permits. Nicolo Filippo Ross/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Nicolo Filippo Ross/Bloomberg via Getty Images

How Illegal Gold Mining Relates To The Spread Of Malaria

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