Shankar Vedantam

Shankar Vedantam is a science correspondent for NPR. 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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Research News
4:06 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Invasive Surgery May Motivate Patients To Adopt Healthier Behaviors

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 7:24 am

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Research News
4:07 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Study Shows Long-Term Benefits Of Welfare Program

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 5:54 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Goats and Soda
2:30 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Why Your Brain Wants To Help One Child In Need — But Not Millions

Saah Exco was found alone on a beach in Liberia's West Point slum, naked and abandoned and likely an Ebola victim.Research suggests the story of one needy individual motivates charitable donors more than statistics about millions of sufferers.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 3:14 pm

Why do people sometimes give generously to a cause — and other times give nothing at all?

That's a timely question, because humanitarian groups fighting the Ebola outbreak need donations from people in rich countries. But some groups say they're getting less money than they'd expect from donors despite all the news.

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Research News
3:36 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Fear Of Blowing Big Calls May Affect How Umpires Do Their Jobs

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 6:32 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Code Switch
2:19 am
Mon October 13, 2014

What's In A Name? It Could Matter If You're Writing To Your Lawmaker

And so continues Code Switch's battle with illustrating studies about the subtle biases that inflict our email outboxes.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 8:42 am

In recent years, social scientists have tried to find out whether important decisions are shaped by subtle biases. They've studied recruiters as they decide whom to hire. They've studied teachers, deciding which students to help at school. And they've studied doctors, figuring out what treatments to give patients. Now, researchers have trained their attention on a new group of influential people — state legislators.

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Research News
4:57 am
Fri September 19, 2014

The Poor Don't Always Benefit From Democracy, Mortality Rates Show

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 6:57 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Research News
4:02 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Parking Behavior May Reflect Economic Drive

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 6:15 am

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Shots - Health News
4:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Why We Think Ignorance Is Bliss, Even When It Hurts Our Health

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 12:52 pm

Medical tests are rarely a pleasant experience, especially if you're worried that something could be seriously wrong. That's true even though we know that regular screenings and tests often help doctors catch issues early.

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NPR Story
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

As Millions Of People Fast For Ramadan, Does The Economy Suffer?

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:39 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
2:30 am
Tue July 15, 2014

When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:13 am

In the land that came up with the phrase "Thank God it's Friday," and a restaurant chain to capitalize on the sense of relief many feel as the work week ends, researchers made an unusual finding in 2012.

Moms who worked full time reported significantly better physical and mental health than moms who worked part time, research involving more than 2,500 mothers found. And mothers who worked part time reported better health than moms who didn't work at all.

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