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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U.S.
4:12 am
Wed July 22, 2015

The Unintended Consequences Of A Program Designed To Help Homeowners

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 12:43 pm

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Children's Health
2:59 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

Nice Kids Finish First: Study Finds Social Skills Can Predict Future Success

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 10:41 am

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Research News
3:08 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Not All Online Restaurant Reviews Are Created Equal

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:32 am

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Research News
3:07 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Disagreeable Teens Fail To Understand Their Blind Spots, Research Reveals

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 5:59 am

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Research News
3:00 am
Mon June 15, 2015

Having An Older Sister Can Change Siblings' Lives, Study Finds

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 9:17 am

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Research News
3:12 am
Wed June 10, 2015

Retailers Use Time To Their Advantage; More Impulse Products Sold

Originally published on Wed June 10, 2015 6:01 am

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News
6:56 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Attempt To Get More People On Board With Organ Donation Backfires

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Research News
3:18 am
Tue May 26, 2015

How Partitioned Grocery Carts Can Help Shoppers Buy Healthier Foods

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 1:47 pm

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Eating in a healthy way can be time-consuming or expensive. It's hard, but researchers have a new way to get people to do just that. Steve Inskeep got the details from NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam.

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Research News
2:58 am
Mon May 18, 2015

How TV Show Finales Affect The Stock Market

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 7:00 am

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Transcript

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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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Goats and Soda
2:34 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 7:13 am

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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Research News
3:14 am
Tue March 24, 2015

How Money Managers' Personal Lives Affect Your Investments

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:10 am

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Humans
3:34 am
Mon March 9, 2015

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

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 6:20 am

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Research News
3:31 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Companies Wanting Immediate Sales Should Pass On Super Bowl Ads

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 7:50 pm

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3:03 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Why NFL Teams Should Reconsider Giving Coaches The Heave-Ho

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 6:14 am

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Race
3:05 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Why Our Feelings Toward Some African-Americans Change On MLK Day

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 5:48 am

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3:06 am
Tue January 6, 2015

The Downside Of Cheaper Gas: More Accident Fatalities

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 1:57 pm

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Believe it or not, there is a downside to cheap gas, even for consumers. There's a way low prices can end up being very costly. To explain, NPR's Shankar Vedantam talked to our own David Greene.

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Research News
3:20 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Research Examines Character Concerns Versus Performance In The NFL

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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3:06 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Invasive Surgery May Motivate Patients To Adopt Healthier Behaviors

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 6:24 am

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3:07 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Study Shows Long-Term Benefits Of Welfare Program

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 11:12 am

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Goats and Soda
1:30 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 2:14 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
2:36 am
Mon October 27, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 5:32 am

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Code Switch
1:19 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 7:42 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
3:05 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Why Some Federal Agencies Panic This Time Of Year

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 11:31 am

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3:57 am
Fri September 19, 2014

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

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 5:57 am

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3:02 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Parking Behavior May Reflect Economic Drive

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 5:15 am

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Shots - Health News
3:00 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 11:52 am

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
4:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:39 am

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

Shots - Health News
1:30 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 9:13 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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Research News
3:01 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Some Parole Requirements Could Be Increasing The Crime Rate

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 7:51 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.

Research News
3:21 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Safety Feature For Pedestrians Has Undesired Consequence

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 12:24 pm

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

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