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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1:00am

Mon June 24, 2013
Shots - Health News

Gloomy Thinking Can Be Contagious

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 8:59 am

Katherine Streeter for NPR

When students show up at college in the fall, they'll have to deal with new classes, new friends and a new environment. In many cases, they will also have new roommates — and an intriguing new research study suggests this can have important mental health consequences.

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3:04am

Fri May 10, 2013
Research News

What Does 'Sexual Coercion' Say About A Society?

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 9:46 am

One contemporary analysis links the increase in gender equality in a society with increased sexual empowerment of women and less sexual coercion. But there's more to it than that.
iStockphoto.com

Anthropologists, sociologists and biologists have explored over several decades many factors that shape the likelihood of sexual coercion of women by men.

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1:40am

Mon May 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

Young Girls May Get More 'Teaching Time' From Parents Than Boys Do

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 10:27 am

Of Blocks And Books: Parents may be more likely to take a young daughter to the library than a son, and to read to the girl for longer periods of time, a new analysis suggests.
Hulton Archive iStockphoto.com

For some years now, teachers and parents have noted something about boys and girls. Starting in elementary school, young girls often score better on reading and math tests than young boys do.

The differences are uneven on different tests and do not describe the experience of every child, but empirical studies do document a difference.

Now, two economists are proposing a partial explanation for the disparity that might give some parents heartburn.

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1:26am

Mon April 29, 2013
Shots - Health News

Shhh, The Kids Can Hear You Arguing (Even When They're Asleep)

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 6:17 pm

Even during sleep, babies' brains continue to take in and process angry voices.
iStockphoto.com

For years now, psychologists have been telling couples who yell at one another to stop for the sake of the kids. Such conflict in the home — even when no violence is involved — is associated with a host of negative behavioral and life outcomes for children.

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3:51pm

Mon April 22, 2013
Code Switch

What Does Modern Prejudice Look Like?

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:08 am

iStockphoto.com

Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji was once approached by a reporter for an interview. When Banaji heard the name of the magazine the reporter was writing for, she declined the interview: She didn't think much of the magazine and believed it portrayed research in psychology inaccurately.

But then the reporter said something that made her reconsider, Banaji recalled: "She said, 'You know, I used to be a student at Yale when you were there, and even though I didn't take a course with you, I do remember hearing about your work.' "

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