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Shankar Vedantam

9 Podcast Episodes

Latest 16 Jun 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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137. Shankar Vedantam with Ross Reynolds: The Power & Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain

Town Hall Seattle Science Series

Have you ever asked someone, “How are you?” while not really caring about their actual response? And why would you need to, when we are conditioned to rarely respond to this question honestly? This is an example of deception and self-deception, and it happens in little and big ways around the world every single day. While this example may seem innocuous, self-deception has caused harm—to us, to our communities, to the planet. But if it is so bad for us, why is it so ubiquitous? The Hidden Brain’s Shankar Vedantam argues that, paradoxically, self-deception can also play a vital role in our success and well-being. Vedantam joined us in conversation with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds to explore how the lies we tell ourselves sustain our daily interactions with friends, lovers, and coworkers. On the Hidden Brain podcast, Vedantam peels back the layers of lies that keep us from seeing reality clearly and from becoming our best selves, which led to him uncovering and exploring this dichotomous impact of self-deception specifically. Drawing on powerful personal stories contained in his book Useful Delusions: The Power & Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain, he presented a correlation from self-deception to why some people live longer than others, why some couples remain in love and others don’t, why some nations hold together while others splinter. But how do we find the line between those lies we tell ourselves that are helpful and those that are harmful? Coupled with new insights in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy, Vedantam offered a fascinating tour of what it really means to be human. Shankar Vedantam is host of the Hidden Brain podcast and public radio show and the author of The Hidden Brain, a New York Times national bestseller. He lives in Washington, DC. Ross Reynolds is KUOW’s Executive Producer for Community Engagement. Before that he was a KUOW program host for 16 years and has also been KUOW’s News Director, Program Director, and hosted the weekly KCTS-TV interview program Upon Reflection. Reynolds was previously news director at KBOO Radio in Portland, Oregon and News/Public Affairs Director at WCUW Radio in Worcester, Massachusetts. Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9780393652208 Presented by Town Hall Seattle and KUOW. 

1hr 1min

9 Jun 2021

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How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful: Shankar Vedantam Reveals How

Behavioral Grooves Podcast

In this episode, we are delighted to welcome Shankar Vedantam, host of the wildly popular podcast, Hidden Brain and esteemed author of the new book Useful Delusions (https://amzn.to/2PUkzlv).  Before reading Shankar’s book and interviewing him for this podcast we were, as Shankar describes himself, card-carrying rationalists. We were firmly in the camp of believing rational, scientific findings and believing that lies and deception are harmful to ourselves and to our communities. However, Shankar walks us through a compelling argument, that paradoxically, self-deception actually plays a pivotal role in our happiness and well-being. In our discussion with Shankar we cover: (6:38) Speed round questions. (11:04) The difference between self delusions being useful and being harmful. (16:23) How nations are a delusional construct. (23:00) Awareness of self-delusions and how daily gratitudes can shift our perspective of the world.  (25:56) Shankar’s personal story of delusional thinking.  (29:58) The role emotions play in our mood and delusions. (35:23) How avoidance of delusional thinking is a sign of privilege. (37:30) Why our perceptions play an important role in understanding delusions. (44:36) Shankar’s unique approach to conspiracy theories. (52:28) What music Shankar has been listening to during COVID. (52:15) Grooving Session and Bonus Track with Kurt and Tim. We really hope you find Shankar’s unique insight on how delusions are useful as compelling as we did. If you’re a regular Behavioral Grooves listener, please consider supporting us through Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves). Thank you!  © 2021 Behavioral Grooves Books Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain https://amzn.to/2PUkzlv The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives https://amzn.to/3e1qgWY LinksNoise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein, 2021 https://amzn.to/3heyr5r  Richard Dawkins https://richarddawkins.net/ Mahabharata https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabharata Lake Wobegon Effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wobegon  Other Episodes We Talk AboutThe Myth of the “Relationship Spark” with Logan Ury (featuring a guest appearance by Christina Gravert, PhD): https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/the-myth-of-the-relationship-spark-with-logan-ury-featuring-a-guest-appearance-by-christina-gravert-phd/ Robert Cialdini, PhD: Littering, Egoism and Aretha Franklin: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/robert-cialdini-phd-littering-egoism-and-aretha-franklin/  Self Control, Belonging, and Why Your Most Dedicated Employees Are the Ones To Watch Out For with Roy Baumeister: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/self-control-belonging-and-why-your-most-dedicated-employees-are-the-ones-to-watch-out-for-with-roy-baumeister/ George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/george-loewenstein-on-a-functional-theory-of-boredom/ Gary Latham, PhD: Goal Setting, Prompts, Priming, and Skepticism: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/gary-latham-phd-goal-setting-prompts-priming-and-skepticism/ John Bargh: Dante, Coffee and the Unconscious Mind: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/john-bargh-dante-coffee-and-the-unconscious-mind/ Linda Thunstrom: Are Thoughts and Prayers Empty Gestures to Suffering Disaster Victims? https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/linda-thunstrom-are-thoughts-and-prayers-empty-gestures-to-suffering-disaster-victims/ 

1hr 21mins

16 May 2021

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Shankar Vedantam Of 'Hidden Brain' On The ‘Useful Delusions’ That Sustain Humanity

St. Louis on the Air

We talk with "Hidden Brain" host Shankar Vedantam, His new book is "Useful Delusions: The Power & Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain."


10 May 2021

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Shankar Vedantam: Useful Delusions

Commonwealth Club of California Podcast

Celebrate April Fool's Day by joining us for a virtual discussion with Shankar Vendantam about how useful fooling ourselves can actually be. It is of course clear that self-deception does terrible harm to ourselves, to our communities and to the planet. But if it is so irretrievably bad for us, why is it so ubiquitous?Paradoxically, Vedantam argues that self-deception also plays a vital role in our successes and our well-being. Most of us are at least vaguely aware that the lies we tell ourselves lubricate our daily interactions with our friends, lovers and co-workers. But those lies can also explain why some people live longer than others, why some couples remain in love and others don’t, and why some nations hold together while others splinter. Drawing on new insights in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy, Vendantam comes to the fascinating conclusion that, if we were just honest about our lies, we might begin to understand ourselves, and our human lives, much better.NOTESMLF: HumanitiesSPEAKERSShankar VedantamHost, "Hidden Brain" Podcast and Public Radio Show; Co-Author, Useful DelusionsIn Conversation with Dacher KeltnerPh.D, Founding Director, Greater Good Science Center; Professor of Psychology, University of California Berkeley; Host, "The Science of Happiness" PodcastIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently hosting all of our live programming via YouTube live stream. This program was recorded via video conference on April 1st, 2021 by the Commonwealth Club of California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1hr 6mins

8 Apr 2021

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Shankar Vedantam On The Upside of Lying

KQED's Forum

Can self-deception be beneficial? That’s one of the questions animating Shankar Vedantam’s new book “Useful Delusions,” which argues that holding false beliefs is not necessarily a sign of pathology or ignorance. We’ll talk to the Hidden Brain podcast host about the lies we tell ourselves — and each other — and the role some forms of deception play in sustaining relationships and advancing mental well-being.


5 Apr 2021

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On The Way Up | Episode 47 - November's New Releases + NPR's Shankar Vedantam on Music and the Brain

On The Way Up

WNCW’s new music podcast features songs from artists Marco Benevento, Kacy & Clayton, Billy Strings and Allah-Las. In the segment “DJ For A Day” host Joe Kendrick talks with NPR’s Shankar Vedantam about how our brains are so geared towards music, and in our “Segue Of The Show”, you get a goth classic from Siouxsie and the Banshees paired with the latest from Angel Olsen.


1 Dec 2019

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'The Drum' | feat. Shankar Vedantam

Circle Round

Shankar Vedantam (NPR's "Hidden Brain") retells an Indian folktale about a young girl whose generous heart takes her on a surprising adventure. Download a coloring page for this episode here: wbur.org/circleround/coloring-pages


27 Feb 2018

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50. Shankar Vedantam: How the Hidden Brain Impacts Treasury and Finance

AFP Conversations

Best-selling author and NPR correspondent Shankar Vedantam explains how hidden psychological factors shape the decisions made by corporate treasury and finance professionals every day. Vedantam is the keynote speaker at AFP2017.


6 Jul 2017

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Interview with Shankar Vedantam, author of The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage

Perpetrators, Collaborators & Complicity


4 Mar 2010