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Ian Robertson

Ian Robertson

speaker location icon Dublin, Ireland

Global authority in neuropsychology​

Best selling author of 'The Stress Test' and 'The Winner Effect'

Expert in applying leading research to individual and team performance improvements

Ian Robertson is Professor Emeritus in Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin and was the founding director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. He is Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute and is T Boone Pickens Distinguished Scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas. A trained clinical psychologist as well as a neuroscientist, he is internationally renowned for his research on neuropsychology, having been elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and a Member of the Academia Europaea.

In 2020 he will be a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Toulouse, researching the role of confidence at the interface of psychology, economics and politics.

Ian’s writing includes five books aimed at the general reader: ‘Mind Sculpture (2000),  The Mind’s Eye  ( 2003), Stay Sharp ( 2005), The Winner Effect (2012) and The Stress Test ( 2016), all of which have been widely translated. His next book will be “How Confidence Works’, published by Transworld Penguin.

He has also written numerous newspaper and magazine articles and comment pieces in the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Time magazine, New York magazine and others, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC local radio.  He has featured in several major television documentaries, most recently one for the BBC on Vladimir Putin. He is a regular speaker at major business conferences in Europe, USA and Asia.

Ian is an engaging presenter who can hold an audience’s attention for extended periods through his uniquely interactive style of presentation. He captivates and activates audiences during his presentations and workshops at leadership, business, political, social policy and educational conferences across the globe. Participants leave with tangible take-home messages and practical strategies for change.

Speaking topics include:

These topics have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests.   Ian is happy to present in a keynote capacity or to talk over longer periods by providing workshops or executive education classes of any duration from 30 minutes to a full day.

The Winning Mindset: Combining Achievement with Happiness

Success is a key ingredient in not only health, but in every aspect of our lives — relationships, mental wellbeing, wealth and wisdom. The higher our status, the longer we live, the happier and wealthier we are. Success also makes us bolder and smarter. In his presentation, neuropsychologist Ian explains how success and failure in life shape us more completely than any drug or gene. He explains how we can increase the success we experience in life and business and minimize the impact of failure on our minds and bodies.

Problem Solving in Business

How do you solve business problems? Different types of problems demand different states of mind which you can control through an understanding of how your brain works. But most problems need teams to solve them and the problem-solving intelligence of a team is unrelated to the individual IQ’s of each member – group problem solving rests on a different set of skills. In this session, you bring your business problems and experiment with different approaches to solving them, as well as learning and practising specific methods for increasing the group IQ of your teams.

Power and Gender

Can women handle power better than men? Would financial crashes have happened had there been more women in the board rooms and trading floors of the financial centers? What is power and why does it change people so profoundly? Ian explains that power is one of the greatest brain-changing drugs in the world and that it can change for better and for worse.

The Winner Effect: The Science of Success and How to Use It

What makes a winner? Why do some succeed both in life and in business, and others fail? The ‘winner effect’ is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders and Ian shows that this applies to human beings too. Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you more focused, smarter, more confident and more aggressive. The effect is as strong as any drug. And the more you win, the more you will go on to win. But the downside is that winning can become physically addictive.

Motivation — Insights into how to build highly motivated employees and a success-oriented organisation

What motivates you? What motivates your colleagues and staff? Understanding motivation is the key to understanding human behaviour. The secret to a happy, productive organization is that to find the right match between the role and the motivational profile of the individual doing that job.

The Psychology of Social Capital and how to build it in your organisation

Employers spend considerable time and money selecting the right person for a particular job, and the more senior the job, the more they spend which, of course is right, because an organisation is only as good as its people — particularly its leaders. But talent can be squandered if the social capital of the organisation is absent or diminished. The nature of power relationships — formal and informal — is crucial for determining social capital.

Finding the Sweet Spot of Stress — How to turn stress into energy-giving challenge

While some people respond well to pressure and function better in difficult situations, others have the opposite reaction and fall apart. The difference between too much pressure and too little can result in either debilitating stress or demotivation. The right level of challenge and stress, however, can help people flourish and achieve more than they thought possible. This level varies hugely between individuals and situations, but when it is reached it is what Ian refers to as the ‘sweet spot’. This spot can be changed, and in this book, based on his own research and clinical observations, Robertson reveals how we can use the sweet spot to control stress and boost performance.

The Confidence Trick

What is this elixir? Confidence. And it is to human endeavour what food is to the body – without either, we would wither and die. If you have it, it can empower you to reach heights you never thought possible, but if you don’t it can have a devastating effect on your future prospects, despite your objective achievements. In this presentation, Ian talks about the New Science of Confidence, where It comes from, how It can be learned and how it spreads


The Winner Effect: The Science of Success and How To Use It


Stress Test

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