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Shankar Vedantam: The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam

Shankar Vedantam: The Hidden Brain

by Shankar Vedantam

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Running Time
57 Min.

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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.


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