Shankar Vedantam: The Hidden Brain

TUE, FEB 9, 2010 (57:18)

Washington Post columnist Shankar Vedantam discusses his book The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives.

The hidden brain is Vedantam’s shorthand for a host of brain functions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes that happen outside of our conscious awareness, but that have a decisive effect on how we behave. The hidden brain has its finger on the scale when we make all of our most complex and important decisions—it decides who we fall in love with, whether we should convict someone of murder, or which way to run when someone yells “fire!”

Vedantam, longtime author of the Washington Post’s popular “Department of Human Behavior” column, takes us on a tour of this phenomenon and explores its consequences. Using original reporting that combines the latest scientific research with narratives that take readers from the American campaign trail to terrorist indoctrination camps, Vedantam illuminates the dark recesses of our minds while making an argument about how we can compensate for our blind spots—and what happens when we don't.

+ BIO: Shankar Vedantam

Shankar Vedantam is a national science writer at The Washington Post. Between 2006 and 2009, Vedantam authored the weekly Department of Human Behavior column in The Washington Post. He is the winner of several journalism awards. Vedantam is a 2009-2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter

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