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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1:22am

Fri September 20, 2013
The Salt

Diet Of Defeat: Why Football Fans Mourn With High-Fat Food

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 3:35 pm

Football fans ate fattier meals the day after their teams lost a game, a study found.
iStockphoto.com

Backing a losing NFL team isn't just bad for your pride.

It's bad for your waistline.

A study that links sports outcomes with the eating behavior of fans finds that backers of NFL teams eat more food and fattier food the day after a loss. Backers of winning teams, by contrast, eat lighter food, and in moderation.

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1:30am

Mon September 9, 2013
All Tech Considered

It's OK To Protest In China, Just Don't March

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 11:12 am

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.
AP

Thousands of messages posted on the Internet every day in China get censored. Until now, little has been known about how the Chinese censorship machine works — except that it is comprehensive.

"It probably is the largest effort ever to selectively censor human expression," says Harvard University social scientist Gary King. "They don't censor everything. There are millions of Chinese [who] talk about millions of things. But the effort to prune the Internet of certain kinds of information is unprecedented."

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1:06am

Fri August 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

Money May Be Motivating Doctors To Do More C-Sections

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 6:57 am

Pregnant doctors are less likely than other women to deliver their babies via C-section, recent research suggests. Economists say that may be because the physician patients feel more empowered to question the obstetrician.
iStockphoto.com

Obstetricians perform more cesarean sections when there are financial incentives to do so, according to a new study that explores links between economic incentives and medical decision-making during childbirth.

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12:03am

Tue August 20, 2013
Music

How To Win That Music Competition? Send A Video

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 3:13 am

If someone like Lang Lang were starting out now, the energetic concert pianist could nail every piano competition without the judges ever hearing a note, according to a new study.
China Photos Getty Images

Chia-Jung Tsay was something of a piano prodigy. By age 12, she was performing Mendelssohn in concert. At 16, she made her debut at Carnegie Hall. Soon, she was on her way to some of the best music schools in the country — Juilliard and the Peabody Conservatory. And she was throwing her hat in the ring for different competitions.

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1:26am

Fri July 19, 2013
Code Switch

How To Fight Racial Bias When It's Silent And Subtle

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:00 pm

Researchers say it may be possible to temporarily reduce racial biases.
Images.com Corbis

In the popular imagination and in conventional discourse — especially in the context of highly charged news events such as the shooting of Trayvon Martin — prejudice is all about hatred and animosity.

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