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.

To err is human. So is refusing to apologize for those errors. From toddlers and talk show hosts to preteens and presidents , we all know people who have done stupid, silly and evil things, then squared their jaws and told the world they've done nothing wrong . Parents, educators and even public relations flacks have talked at length about the value of coming clean, and there is abundant research on the psychological value of apologizing. But psychologists recently decided to take a new tack:...

When Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman recently reversed his stance on gay marriage after his son came out as gay, he joined a tidal wave of Americans who have altered their views on the subject. This dramatic change forms the backdrop to two Supreme Court cases this week about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Support has reverberated at the highest level: The White House has urged the high court to come down in favor of gay rights, and President Obama has reversed his own stance on...

Vampires and monsters will be out in force tonight, but some of the darkest creatures out there might be your little angels inside those Halloween costumes. It's been more than a quarter-century since psychologists discovered that the cloak of anonymity of Halloween costumes gives children license to steal — not just candy, but real money. In a naturalistic experiment published in 1976 into the behavior of 1,352 children in the Seattle area on Halloween, researchers found that virtually all...

Both athletes were U.S. swimmers, both were dripping wet after finishing an Olympics final, and both had just won medals. The first said, "It's not my normal specialty. ... We went out there and raced tough – and just came up a little short." The second had a beaming face. He said, "[I] swam my own race. And knew I had a lane, and had an opportunity, and I went for it. It worked out, you know, it's just awesome that I get to go on the podium tonight. Honestly, I'm really proud of myself!" The...