Magazine article Nieman Reports

How We Think: In His New "Hidden Brain" Podcast, NPR Science Correspondent Shankar Vedantam, NF '10, Explores the Frontiers of Psychology

Magazine article Nieman Reports

How We Think: In His New "Hidden Brain" Podcast, NPR Science Correspondent Shankar Vedantam, NF '10, Explores the Frontiers of Psychology

Article excerpt

MY NPR PODCAST "HIDDEN Brain" launched this fall, but it's been more than a decade in the making, one that started mere blocks from Lippmann House.

While reporting for The Washington Post in 2004, I interviewed Harvard psychologist Mahzarin R. Banaji about work she had done to uncover people's unconscious prejudices. I was so inspired by her research and so shaken by the findings that I changed the trajectory of my career.

For the last several years, first at the Post and now as an NPR science correspondent, I've been writing about the ways hidden factors shape our perceptions and behavior. My goal is to connect the rigor and insights of academia to the public's concerns and interests. Audiences have gravitated to my stories, telling me how meaningful they are to them. People have told me they'd like something more in-depth than my four-minute radio stories, and that's where the idea for the podcast came from.

Much like many of my print and radio stories, along with my 2010 book "The Hidden Brain," the podcast seeks to link psychology and sociology research with people's everyday lives. In the first episode, I explored "switchtracking" with author Sheila Heen. …

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