Shankar Vedantam Shankar Vedantam is NPR's social science correspondent and the host of Hidden Brain.
Shankar Vedantam 2017 square
Stories By

Shankar Vedantam

Douglas Sonders/NPR
Shankar Vedantam 2017
Douglas Sonders/NPR

Shankar Vedantam

Host, Hidden Brain

Shankar Vedantam is NPR's social science correspondent and the host of Hidden Brain. 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. Hidden Brain is among the most popular podcasts in the world, with over two million downloads per week. The Hidden Brain radio show is featured on some 250 public radio stations across the United States.

Before joining NPR in 2011, Vedantam spent 10 years as a reporter at The Washington Post. From 2007 to 2009, he also wrote the Department of Human Behavior column for the Post.

Vedantam and Hidden Brain have been recognized with the Edward R. Murrow Award, and honors from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the International Society of Political Psychology, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Austen Riggs Center, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Webby Awards, the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the American Public Health Association, the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship on Science and Religion and the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship.

From 2009 to 2010, Vedantam served as a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

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, describes 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, Tom, Dick and Harriet.

Vedantam has served as a part-time lecturer at Harvard University and Columbia University. He has also served as a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Hidden Brain: How Trust May Help To Limit A Disease Outbreak

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/821811787/821811788" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In 1918, the St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps personnel wear masks as they hold stretchers next to ambulances in preparation for victims of the influenza epidemic. Library of Congress/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Library of Congress/AP

An Unfinished Lesson: What The 1918 Flu Tells Us About Human Nature

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/820066211/820264269" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
John Moore/Getty Images

In the 1960s, demographers warned that we were on track for a global population explosion. That's not exactly what happened. moodboard - Mike Watson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
moodboard - Mike Watson/Getty Images

Stacya Shepard Silverman thought she knew her dad. But that changed one day with a phone call from a stranger. Renee Klahr hide caption

toggle caption
Renee Klahr

"Nostalgia is memory with the pain removed." Jim Holliday Gpointstudio/Getty Images/Cultura RF hide caption

toggle caption
Gpointstudio/Getty Images/Cultura RF

Looking Back: Reflecting On The Past To Understand The Present

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/810498673/810560480" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Hidden Brain': How 'Egocentric Bias' Can Lead Us Astray

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/809530189/809530190" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Psychologists say we often have a hard time recognizing how much pressure we put on other people when we ask them for something. Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop hide caption

toggle caption
Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop

Dan Ariely has found that "what separates honest people from not-honest people is not necessarily character, it's opportunity." Gary Waters /Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

toggle caption
Gary Waters /Getty Images/Ikon Images
John M Lund Photography Inc/Getty Images

The clicker became a popular tool for dog training in the 1980s. Today, it has also caught on with humans — helping people to become better dancers, fishermen, golfers, and now, surgeons. Angela Hsieh hide caption

toggle caption
Angela Hsieh
japatino/Getty Images

Why are some warnings heard, while others are ignored? Angela Hsieh hide caption

toggle caption
Angela Hsieh

How To See The Future (No Crystal Ball Needed)

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/798967264/798980697" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

What if our economy is built not on traditional theories of rational behavior, but on narratives and psychology? sesame/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
sesame/Getty Images

The Story Of Money: How Human Behavior Shapes Economies — And Vice Versa

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/798140390/798170118" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Spark Studio/Getty Images/Imagezoo