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.

Pages

5:06am

Tue November 18, 2014
Research News

Invasive Surgery May Motivate Patients To Adopt Healthier Behaviors

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 8:24 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more

5:07am

Tue November 11, 2014
Research News

Study Shows Long-Term Benefits Of Welfare Program

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:54 am

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

3:30am

Wed November 5, 2014
Goats and Soda

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

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 4:14 pm

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

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.

Read more

4:36am

Mon October 27, 2014
Research News

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

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 7:32 am

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

3:19am

Mon October 13, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 9:42 am

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

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.

Read more

7:57am

Fri September 19, 2014
Research News

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

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more

5:02am

Wed August 27, 2014
Research News

Parking Behavior May Reflect Economic Drive

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:15 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more

5:00am

Mon July 28, 2014
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

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.

Read more

3:30am

Tue July 15, 2014
Shots - Health News

When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 11:13 am

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

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.

Read more

5:01am

Tue July 8, 2014
Research News

Some Parole Requirements Could Be Increasing The Crime Rate

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:51 am

Prisoners who are released invariably make it back to the areas where they came from. Does this have a positive or negative effect on crime? Research triggered by Hurricane Katrina offers insight.

5:09am

Tue July 1, 2014
Research News

Safety Feature For Pedestrians Has Undesired Consequence

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:24 pm

New analysis finds that the countdown clocks telling pedestrians how much time they have to cross the intersection actually increase traffic crashes.

7:10am

Thu June 26, 2014
Research News

How To Sell Green Products To The Self-Regarding Consumer

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When consumers think about green products, they often face a dilemma - that car that uses less gasoline or a more efficient refrigerator tends to cost more. Buyers have to choose whether money is more important to them than public good. Now new research shows there might be a way to boost interest in these products, at least among a core group of consumers. NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here to talk with us about that. Hi Shankar.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi Steve.

INSKEEP: What consumers?

Read more

7:00am

Fri June 20, 2014
Research News

6 Decades Of Research Examines Prisoners Of War

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 7:29 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Read more

5:04pm

Fri May 30, 2014
Humans

What's In A Grunt — Or A Sigh, Or A Sob? Depends On Where You Hear It

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 7:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR news this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Hear a laugh, you know someone's happy. Hear a sob, you know someone is sad. Or are they? It's been thought that no matter where you live in the world, people express emotions using the same repertoire of sounds. But NPR's social science correspondent, Shankar Vedantam, reports on new research on how emotions are expressed and understood around the globe.

Read more

6:40am

Wed May 28, 2014
Research News

Research: Children Of Judges May Influence Court Decisions

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:57 pm

It's been suspected that judges are swayed by their personal beliefs and affiliations. An analysis found that judges become more likely to rule in "pro-feminist" ways if the judges have daughters.

Pages