Creator & Host of the "Hidden Brain" Podcast and Radio Show; Author, The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control markets, Wage Wars, and Save our Lives; Former National Science Correspondent, NPR & The Washington Post
"The greatest insights don't come from visiting new worlds; they come from seeing the world with new eyes." ― Shankar Vedantam
Shankar Vedantam is the founder of Hidden Brain Media 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. “Hidden Brain” is among the most popular podcasts in the world, with over two million downloads per week. The Hidden Brain radio show is featured on more than 400 public radio stations across the United States.
Delivered with wit and lightness by Vedantam, “Hidden Brain” is digestible without ever being dumbed down, and embodies an open-mindedness that becomes infectious.
Emma Dibdin, The New York Times
Vedantam and “Hidden Brain” have been recognized with the Edward R. Murrow Award, and honors from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the International Society of Political Psychology, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Austen Riggs Center, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Webby Awards, the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the American Public Health Association, the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship on Science and Religion and the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship.
From 2009 to 2010, Vedantam served as a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
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, describes 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, Tom, Dick and Harriet.
Vedantam has served as a part-time lecturer at Harvard University and Columbia University. He has also served as a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington.
Shankar Vedantam on Delusions and Cognitive Dissonance
Shankar Vedantam on the Morality of Gandhi and King
Shankar Vedantam on Confronting Myths
Shankar Vedantam’s Speech Topics
Stress, Burnout and Scarcity
Why do some people work crazy long hours and still report high levels of engagement? Why do others experience crippling physical and mental problems and burnout? Yes, there are obvious answers to those questions: Bad managers, awful colleagues, and toxic workplaces can leave anyone stressed out. But there are a host of subtle factors that shape how and when and why we get stressed, and a growing science on how to turn stress into an ally. This presentation also examines organizational changes that can produce healthier and happier employees.
Offered as a prepared keynote address (or a moderated conversation tailored to your interests) at conferences and professional meetings.
The Psychological Keys to Success
In this science-driven presentation, offered as a prepared keynote address (or a moderated conversation tailored to your interests and questions) Shankar Vedantam offers ideas on how to craft a life. Themes explored include the science of motivation and purpose, techniques to integrate long-term planning into short-term decision making, and tips for successful relationships.
Ideal for an uplifting closing address at commencement events, conferences and professional meetings.
The Science of Bias
Many research studies find that subtle biases shape health, educational and organizational outcomes. They influence who gets hired, who drops out, who gets elected. The science behind this bias is exceedingly subtle – and many oversimplified interventions to combat bias have been shown to backfire. In this presentation, offered as a prepared keynote address (or a moderated conversation tailored to your interests and questions) Shankar Vedantam explains how the “hidden brain” shapes our perceptions and judgment and – more importantly – what we can do about it. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Suitable for a wide variety of organizations and conferences, and relevant to nearly all professional and educational settings.
What’s the single biggest source of daily friction in organizations, in relationships, in life? It’s how we communicate. Or, rather, how we don’t communicate. In this presentation, offered as a prepared keynote address (or a moderated conversation tailored to your interests and questions) Shankar Vedantam shows how the “hidden brain” shapes what we hear and what we say, and how skilled communicators can surf the rough waters of misunderstanding and conflict.
Suitable for “thought-leadership” presentations at conferences, workshops, board meetings, educational institutions.
The Challenge of Change
Humans owe their success on the planet to one skill above all others: No, it’s not intelligence (although that helps.) It’s our ability to adapt. Uniquely, humans have learned to thrive at altitude, in frozen wastelands, even underwater and in outer space. So why is it so hard to get your organization to adapt to a new IT system? Or to pivot to a new business opportunity? Why do institutions ranging from schools to Fortune 500 companies find that as they get big, they also get stuck doing things the same old way? In this presentation, offered as a prepared keynote (or a moderated conversation tailored to your interests and questions) Shankar Vedantam explains how the “hidden brain” shapes our capacity for change, and how to overcome common mistakes leaders and managers make as they implement their vision.
Suitable for “thought-leadership” presentations at conferences, workshops, board meetings & educational institutions.
Other Topics Include:
The Science of Risk and Managing Uncertainty
The Paradox of Altruism (with insights about Philanthropy)
How to Persuade Other People* (*Ideas to be used only for good, not evil!)