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Tali Sharot

speaker location icon London, U.K.

Leading expert on human decision-making, optimism and emotion

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London

Founder and director of the Affective Brain Lab

Professor Tali Sharot is a leading expert on human decision-making, optimism and emotion. She combines research in psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience to reveal the forces that shape our decisions, beliefs and expectations of the future. Tali is a Professor at University College London and currently a visiting professor at MIT, she directs the Affective Brain Lab, where her team is dedicated to answer such questions with an aim at identifying ways to encourage behavioral change.

Dr. Sharot’s lab investigates how motivation and emotion determine our expectations of the future, our everyday decisions, our memories and our ability to learn. By understanding the brain mechanisms that mediate these effects their aim is to identify ways to encourage behavioural change that enhance well-being. Sharot is the author of several books including The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others (Henry Holt, 2017) and The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain (Pantheon, 2011). She has been a guest on The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, co-presented BBC’s Science Club and spoke at TED. Sharot has written for TIME magazine (cover story), The Guardian, The Washington Post, the New York Times as well as many other publications.

Her keynote speaking audiences include Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, Citibank, Deloitte & Touche, PIMCO, Vail resorts, Johnson & Johnson, and the World Economic Forum, among many others.

Speaking topics:

  • The Business of Moving Others: Using the New Science of the Mind to Induce Behavioural Change
  • Smart Influence: How You Affect the Decisions, Desires and Opinions of Others
  • The Power of Optimism: How to Use Its Benefits and Guard Against Its Dangers

The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals about Our Power to Change Others


A cutting-edge, research-based inquiry into how we influence those around us, and how understanding the brain can help us change minds for the better.

In The Influential Mind, neuroscientist Tali Sharot takes us on a thrilling exploration of the nature of influence. We all have a duty to affect others―from the classroom to the boardroom to social media. But how skilled are we at this role, and can we become better? It turns out that many of our instincts―from relying on facts and figures to shape opinions, to insisting others are wrong or attempting to exert control―are ineffective, because they are incompatible with how people’s minds operate. Sharot shows us how to avoid these pitfalls, and how an attempt to change beliefs and actions is successful when it is well-matched with the core elements that govern the human brain.

The Optimism Bias: Why we're wired to look on the bright side


Psychologists have long been aware that most people tend to maintain an irrationally positive outlook on life. In fact, optimism may be crucial to our existence. Tali Sharot’s original cognitive research demonstrates in surprising ways the biological basis for optimism. In this fascinating exploration, she takes an in-depth, clarifying look at how the brain generates hope and what happens when it fails; how the brains of optimists and pessimists differ; why we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy; how anticipation and dread affect us; and how our optimistic illusions affect our financial, professional, and emotional decisions.

With its cutting-edge science and its wide-ranging and accessible narrative, The Optimism Bias provides us with startling new insight into how the workings of the brain create our hopes and dreams.

The Science of Optimism: Why We're Hard-Wired for Hope


We all like to think of ourselves as rational creatures who smartly prepare for the worst. We watch our backs, weigh the odds, and pack an umbrella when the skies look threatening. But although we take such sensible precautions, we generally expect things to turn out pretty well — often better than they usually do. This belief that the future will probably be much better than the past and present is known as the optimism bias, and most of us have it. Why? Tali Sharot’s ‘The Science of Optimism’ delves into the biological reaction as to why we are hard-wired for hope, exploring the advantages (and disadvantages) of our optimistic nature, as well as what makes people content and why. She delves into fresh research that explores the part of the brain where optimism lives, providing fresh and surprising biological and cultural reasons as to why we all generally expect sunny skies ahead.

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