Shankar Vedantam

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Let's say you're at a party or walking down the street and suddenly out of a sea of passing faces one of them lights up. Someone is looking right at you, waving, saying hello, they're happy to see you and you have no idea who this person is. Some of us are really good at recognizing faces. Others of us are not. To explain why, here's our social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam from NPR's Hidden Brain podcast....

The election of Donald Trump came as a shock to many Americans, but perhaps most of all to those in the business of calling elections. The pollsters on both the left and the right had confidently predicted Hillary Clinton would walk away with the race. They got it wrong. But one man did not: Allan Lichtman. On Sept. 23, Lichtman, a historian at American University, declared that Trump would win, and he stuck by that call through the tumultuous final weeks of the campaign. Lichtman's...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: It's no secret that this presidential campaign season has been tense, with disagreement and rancor even louder than usual. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: You know, people are actually watching this at home. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) HILLARY CLINTON: Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president than... DONALD TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet... CLINTON: And... (SOUNDBITE...

Fewer than 1 in 5 members of Congress are women. At Fortune 500 companies, fewer than 1 in 20 CEOs are women. And if you look at all the presidents of the United States through Barack Obama, what are the odds of having 44 presidents who are all men? If men and women had an equal shot at the White House, the odds of this happening just by chance are about 1 in 18 trillion. What explains the dearth of women in top leadership positions? Is it bias, a lack of role models, the old boy's club? Sure...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVID GREENE, HOST: And you probably know this. Every time you sign up for something online - maybe you're updating your operating system on your mobile device, maybe you're buying a new app, maybe you're just getting a new loyalty card from the drugstore - you're often presented with this lengthy legal statement, and you're asked if you agree with the terms of service. Well, there is new social science research that looks into what...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVID GREENE, HOST: We know there is growing income inequality in the United States. Incomes for the wealthy are rising faster than incomes for the poor. There's also new social science research that suggests the rich might also be getting richer for another reason. And to talk about that, we're joined by NPR's social science correspondent, Shankar Vedantam. Shankar, hello as always. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, David. GREENE: So...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR .

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: There's an old saying that if you want to get something done, always ask a busy person. Researchers have scientifically tested that theory. And NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam joins us now to explain what they found. Hey ya. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi Lulu. GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I'm skeptical. (LAUGHTER) GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is it really true that busy people get more stuff done? VEDANTAM:...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: OK. We have reported a lot on this program about sexual violence on college campuses and there is some new research possibly connecting that violence to college football. We discussed this with NPR's Social Science Correspondent Shankar Vedantam. And, just a warning to listeners, this conversation does come cover some sensitive topics. Hey Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi David. GREENE: So tell us...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Let's talk about a side effect of technology. Many people can use e-signatures. You know, you're given a form. It's sent to you online. You don't sign with a pen. Instead, you check a box or press a button or use some other electronic means to show that you signed. NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam has come across some research suggesting that the way you e-sign can affect your state of...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: The outlook for jobs has been growing better over the last few years, but there are still many young people looking for work. And things have been especially difficult for African-Americans. NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam joins us now because he's come across some new research trying to explore why this would be the case. Hi, Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve. INSKEEP:...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: At early ages, girls often outperform boys in math and science classes. Later, something changes. By the time they get into high school, girls are less likely than boys to take difficult math courses and less likely, again, to go into careers in science, technology, engineering or medicine. To learn more about this, David Greene spoke with NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. DAVID...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: You know, matchmaking is something that far predates the Internet. It's something that has been in every country and every culture for as long as we know. But now as computers and algorithms and websites, like OkCupid and Tinder and match.com, take over the job of setting up matches, there's new research that this might come at a price. NPR's social science correspondent, Shankar Vedantam, is here to...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: Researchers have found it over and over that peer pressure works. A company recently decided to apply peer pressure to get their employees to save more money for retirement. Our colleague David Greene spoke with NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam about this experiment. DAVID GREENE, HOST: Hey, Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, David. GREENE: So what happened? VEDANTAM: Well, we...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Put yourself, for a moment, with a bunch of kindergartners. Then try and predict which one of them might finish college and get a good job two decades down the road. Is it the kid who knows her ABCs or the kid who has a good memory? Well, new research has tracked children from kindergarten into young adulthood, and it's found that the most important predictors of long-term success are not intellectual...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: As people plan their summer vacations, many depend on travel reviews from sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. New research suggests there is a bias that seems to affect some reviews. Our colleague Steve Inskeep talked about it with NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Hi, Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve. INSKEEP: What bias? VEDANTAM: Well, the bias is...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Next, let's talk about teenagers, specifically disagreeable teenagers. There are some. There's new research looking at the long-term outcome of teens who are unpleasant to be around. NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam joins us regularly on this program. He's here now. Hi, Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve. INSKEEP: I would think that being disagreeable is actually part of...

Pages