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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4:58am

Mon May 18, 2015
Research News

How TV Show Finales Affect The Stock Market

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 9:00 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So what happens now now that "Mad Men" is over? This is a real question that researchers have studied, and NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here to tell us about it. Hi, Shankar.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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6:01am

Tue May 12, 2015
Research News

What Might Make Young People Practice Safe Sex? Lottery Tickets!

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 9:13 am

In a study in Lesotho, the prospect of earning a cash prize in a lottery motivated young people to practice safe sex.
iStockphoto

Let's say you're a young person, around 30 years old. And you're the kind of person who likes to take risks. So maybe you're taking risks in your sexual relationships. You're not practicing safe sex.

What would make you change your behavior?

That's a question that's long been pondered by public health officials. And now new research from a World Bank-funded team in Lesotho, a tiny country in southern Africa, has produced a surprising answer.

Lottery tickets!

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5:02am

Tue May 5, 2015
Research News

Blame Cognitive Biases When Efforts To Conserve Water Aren't Effective

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 2:32 pm

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

7:39am

Fri May 1, 2015
Research News

Does Reading Harry Potter Have An Effect On Your Behavior?

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 3:00 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A famous fictional conflict in children's literature has a happier ending. Tomorrow is the day "Harry Potter" fans know as the date of the Battle of Hogwarts. And there is evidence the boy wizard's power might extend beyond the book.

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5:24am

Mon April 20, 2015
Research News

Why Handsome Men May Be At A Disadvantage When It Comes To Hiring

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 7:49 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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6:23am

Thu April 16, 2015
Research News

Students' Work Ethic Affected By Peer Groups, Desire To Be Popular

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 12:17 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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5:08am

Wed April 8, 2015
Research News

Why Is Condom-Use Suddenly Dropping Among College Sophomores?

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:28 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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5:14am

Tue March 24, 2015
Research News

How Money Managers' Personal Lives Affect Your Investments

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:10 am

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

5:14am

Wed March 18, 2015
Humans

The Dangerous Distractions Of Spring Break

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 12:23 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

March Madness is upon us and also for many college students spring break. On that subject, there's new research that might give some students and their parents something to think about. NPR's Shankar Vedantam joined our colleague David Greene to tell us about it.

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5:52am

Mon March 9, 2015
Humans

How Do You Get People To Work Harder? Keep The Reward A Secret

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:20 am

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

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