The Hidden Brain

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shankar Vedantam, author of the Washington Post’s "Department of Human Behavior" column, explains the brain functions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes that happen without conscious awareness, but that control our behavior. In The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, he looks at how me make all of our most complex and important decisions.


Shankar Vedantam

Comments [19]



Feb. 05 2010 04:57 PM
Ed from Nassau County

I was reminded of the scene in the movie Doubt were the priest describes what gossip does to people. In essence, the feathers [truth] can never be brought back. Note, I am not Philip Seymour Hoffman. Mike, nice interview.

Jan. 28 2010 02:37 PM
Mike Silva from hillside

Mike - you sound black - whatever that means!!!!!!!

Jan. 28 2010 12:40 PM
lynn from manhattan

Do you believe it is okay for people of certain races to use words that are deemed racist if other people use them? I am shocked when I hear the N-word used on the train. I never used this word as and certainly not now,but teens and many adults use it constantly. Why is this socially acceptable? When I hear kids use the word I ask if they know what it means and why don't find it offensive....How do people feel about this word??

Jan. 28 2010 12:40 PM
Anna D. from Brooklyn

do we have to mention M. Gladwell on every program today?

Jan. 28 2010 12:39 PM
Tim from Tappan, NY

Mike... don't worry - you're right. Stuart Scott is annoying!

Jan. 28 2010 12:38 PM
David from Hempstead

Host: not liking Stuart Scott doesn't make you prejudiced. He is objectively annoying.

Jan. 28 2010 12:38 PM
Matthew from Brooklyn

SHAHN-kar Ve-DAHN-ta

Jan. 28 2010 12:36 PM
Joseph Ross from Highland Mills NY.10930 845-551-3485

i have just completed a book entitled The Doorway to your Pictures. It is a book that lays out not only that we function subconsciously but how thematerial we utilize what we recorded be it predjudice, what we like and don't like whats good and what's bad, where the voices in our head come from and a lot more. The book weaves together how nature and nurture come together to make us both human and unique. It is detail and has seven chapters devoted to unearthing those subconcious directives to were we can see them consciously. For only when you actually consciously see whats driving you you cannot change them. I have been a therapist for 30 years and have over the last 10 used what I write about with real and permanent chage inmy patient's lives. There is a lot more going on then just predjudice and I would be able to talk to you about it.

Jan. 28 2010 12:35 PM
Jeff from NYC

Guest host hasn't asked a single challenging question -- total cheerleader. And there's plenty to question....

Jan. 28 2010 12:34 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Why *especially* slanderous info? Are people less likely to react prejudicially to true info, or to info not presented as an attack?

And Politifact does fact-checking on statements by people at both ends of the political spectrum & in between, so your assumption that its correction of Obama's "no lobbyists" claim came from a right-wing website was just that. I guess it shows that even the one who wrote the book is subject to the kind of bias he wrote about!

Jan. 28 2010 12:32 PM
Andrea from Westchester County

I'm reading a book now ("Doorway to our Pictures: These pictures are causing our pain and must be changed", by Joe Ross)

The author describes how our brain records "pictures" in our early years and how these pictures unwittingly influence our lives. He explains how these pictures are responsible for failed relationships, daily hurts and frustrations.

By finding each picture causing pain, which isn't easy but easier once you know what you're looking for, he shows how we can eliminate the cause of our pain.

A great read.

Jan. 28 2010 12:31 PM
Deborah from Eatontown, NJ

This is so depressing! As a white parent of a child of color, I have seen the corrosive effects of this kind of unconscious racism on children. We tried in the home to have the "right" books, videos and discussions, but the powerful effect of racism and rejection on my child's self-concept overcame all our well-intentioned efforts. This, despite the fact that we believed we were in a fairly enlightened, diverse community.

Will it ever change?

Jan. 28 2010 12:26 PM

It sounds like people are sheep. So who controls the sheep? Meaning in terms of the WTC example, there must have been a leader or someone that people respected on that floor or department that made the decision to stay and go. So how does someone become such an influencer? I want to know so I can manipulate people.

And how does this work in economics such as investments, asset bubbles etc? Someone has to get the ball rolling on this stuff.

Jan. 28 2010 12:21 PM
the truth!! from BKNY

I hear ya about the darker skin lighter skin Black thing, that also applies to latinos....also
whites seem to dump themselves in one category whether german or jew, scottish, irish etc...speak about that.

Jan. 28 2010 12:20 PM

great guest host!

Jan. 28 2010 12:19 PM
Ruth Thompson from New Jersey

Has research been done in African countries without a colonial history about attitudes of black children toward white and black skinned images? I have trouble believing they would "prefer" white skinned images if they have never seen them.

Jan. 28 2010 12:17 PM

Did the book cover romantic relationships and how the brain works then? Some decisions made under the influence of love seem so obviously wrong in retrospect.

(Mike you're the greatest sub...)

Jan. 28 2010 12:17 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Was that really the reason the author chose the title "The Hidden Brain," or is that the rationalization he came up with afterwards?

Jan. 28 2010 12:16 PM

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