Shankar Vedantam

Shankar Vedantam appears in the following:

Me, Myself, and IKEA: What Our Love For Swedish Furniture Says About Narcissism

Monday, May 22, 2017

In general, people show a subtle bias toward the self. This is why we love the IKEA furniture we've built, and gravitate toward others with the same name. But there are much larger implications, too.


Advice For Your Dinner Party Stories: Keep It Familiar

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

There's a difference between the stories we tell and the stories we like to hear. New social science research finds most of us like to listen to stories about familiar things.


The Fox And The Hedgehog: The Triumphs And Perils Of Going Big

Monday, May 15, 2017

The parable of the fox and the hedgehog tells us that there are some who are guided by one big idea. That's the story of Don Laub, a surgeon whose single-mindedness was his triumph, and his downfall.


How Illegal Gold Mining Relates To The Spread Of Malaria

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New social science research shows a correlation between illegal gold mining and the spread of malaria. We explore why this might be the case.


Magic, Or Math? The Appeal Of Coincidences, And The Reality

Monday, May 08, 2017

This week on Hidden Brain: coincidences. Why they're not quite as magical as they seem, and the psychological reasons we can't help but search for meaning in them anyway.


Why Social Media Isn't Always Very Social

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Studies show that people who spend more time on social media sites feel more socially isolated than those who don't. This might be because of a disconnect between our online lives and our real ones.


What Our Google Searches Reveal About Who We Really Are

Monday, May 01, 2017

We're often more honest when making searches on Google than when answering surveys or talking to friends. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explains what these searches tell us about our thoughts and desires.


Instead Of Showing Off Wealth, Some Show Off Busy Schedules

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Instead of buying expensive things, people now use busyness to show their high status. New research finds that many celebrities use social media to boast about their lack of time, not their wealth.


Boycotts And Buycotts: How We Use Money To Express Ourselves

Monday, April 24, 2017

Many Americans are increasingly expressing their political beliefs with their wallets. Neeru Paharia explains how we use money to tell stories about ourselves, and to ourselves.


Researchers Examine The Psychology Of Protest Movements

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Social science researchers examine whether extreme protest tactics are an effective way for recruiting popular support. The public may not be relating to protesters like the way protesters aimed for.


When It Comes To Our Lives On Social Media, 'There's Always Another Story'

Monday, April 17, 2017

Many studies have shown that people who use social media may be unhappier than those who don't. This week on Hidden Brain, we explore the psychological effect social media has on us.


How To Get Low-Income Students Into Selective Colleges

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New social science research looks at how to get more low-income students into college.


Creature Comforts: The Power Of Touch And Affection In Our Lives

Monday, April 10, 2017

This week, Hidden Brain considers the power of touch. First, the story of a grown woman who still sleeps with her baby blanket. Then, the science of why we seek comfort and affection.


Social Science Research Explores Psychological Effects Of Rituals

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Research suggests when volunteers are taught and required to practice rituals, they demonstrate greater trust toward others who practice the same ritual, and diminished trust toward those who don't.


Inside The Hole: What Happens To The Mind In Isolation?

Monday, April 03, 2017

The use of solitary confinement in prisons has grown since the 1970s. Criminologist Keramet Reiter talks with us about the psychological effects that long-term isolation has on our minds.


The Truth Is, Lying Might Not Be So Bad

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

With repeated lies, the brain becomes less and less sensitive to dishonesty, supporting ever larger acts of dishonesty. But why do we lie and is it such a terrible thing if we do?


Everybody Lies, And That's Not Always A Bad Thing

Monday, March 27, 2017

When we think of lies, we think of the big stuff. We say, "I could never do something like that." But big lies start with small deceptions. Dan Ariely talks about why we lie and why we're honest.


How The 'Scarcity Mindset' Can Make Problems Worse

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Researchers had a hypothesis that when you really want something, you start to focus on it obsessively. It produces a kind of tunnel vision and creates problems for thinking in the long-term.


The Scarcity Trap: Why We Keep Digging When We're Stuck In A Hole

Monday, March 20, 2017

When you really need something — whether it's money, food, or even time — it can be hard to focus on anything else. Researchers call this scarcity, and say it can affect many aspects of our lives.


Why Piling On Facts May Not Help In The Battle Against Fake News

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

As the country has become more polarized, we increasingly disagree not just on policy, but on the facts. Can more and better information solve the problem of fake news?