Vedantam, Shankar — Have You Found Your Hidden Brain?

Part One

How do we make the big decisions in our lives?  Who to vote for—or who to choose as a life mate or form an opinion about politics or war?  Most of us are certain we consciously evaluate these decisions.  But, we may be fooling ourselves, if not being fooled by others.  Shankar Vedantam, author of “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives,” encourages us to be aware of how our unconscious mind is capable of controlling our decision making capabilities.  In this, the first of two conversations with Shankar Vedantam, we explore the unconscious mind, how we rely upon it and how it is can be manipulated by advertising  and our anecdotal experiences.  These interviews with Shankar Vedantam were recorded on May 17, 2010 by phone from his home in Massachusetts.  We began with his description of the “hidden brain.”  Shankar Vedantam is a national correspondent and columnist for The Washington Post and 2009-10 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

The book Shankar Vedantam recommends is “A House For Mr. Biswas” by V.S.Naipaul.

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Part Two

Not too long before the pseudo religious organization known as “The People’s Temple moved to the remote jungles of Guyana in the northeast corner of South America where over 900 people killed themselves at the direction of Jim Jones in 1978, they were based in Redwood Valley, California, about 10 miles from Ukiah, the home of Radio Curious.   In this, the second Radio Curious conversation with Shankar Vedantam author of “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives,” we explore what compelled these people to kill themselves. We’ll examine what compels suicide bombers of the early 21st century to take their own lives and those of others? And are we, in fact, all susceptible to these ideas? The conversation with Shankar Vedamtam, recorded from his home in Massachusetts on May 17, 2010, began when I asked him to explain the attraction of cults, who are drawn to them, and why.  Shankar Vedantam is a national correspondent and columnist for The Washington Post and 2009-10 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. This interview was recorded on May 17th, 2010.

The book Shankar Vedantam recommends is “Heart Of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.

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