2019 NEUROLEADERSHIP SUMMIT: Meet the Scientists

Photo of Dr. Tessa V. West on NeuroLeadership Summit stage with 2019 Summit dates overlayed
This year's NeuroLeadership Summit takes place November 19-20, but consider this your early opportunity to meet the Summit scientists today.

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If you’ve attended the NeuroLeadership Summit before, you know firsthand the value of hearing from today’s top academics in science and business. If this Summit will be your first, get ready. Some of the biggest insights emerge from the rich discussions our scientists hold on stage.

To help you get a better sense of the insights ahead, we asked our scientists to share their areas of expertise. Below, you’ll find those research areas and the specific Summit sessions in which each scientist appears. We hope you’ll register today!


SESSION: Value the Human

Tessa West, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, New York University — “I study how people communicate with each other and coordinate in groups. Right now, I am researching what happens when newcomers join a team. Why do some newcomers have an easier time gaining status and influence than others? What does it look like when two high status people jockey for power? This might surprise you, but we spend more time with the people we work with than our families. My work can help organizations foster better communication between employees.”


SESSION: The Impact of Influence

Vanessa Bohns, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Cornell University — “A main takeaway from my research is that people don’t say ‘no’ to us nearly as much as we imagine they will. This means that employees may not ask for help (or offer help) as much as they perhaps should. It also means that employees may agree to do things they feel uncomfortable with because they feel they can’t refuse (and the person asking may have no idea, assuming that if someone felt uncomfortable, they would just say ‘no’). Altogether, being aware of these hidden dynamics can help organizations avoid situations in which opportunities for cooperation are missed, misunderstandings arise, and poor decisions are made.”

Daniel Molden, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Psychology, Northwestern University — “We examine how people’s shifting motivations and beliefs affect how they both interpret and act on information. This allows us to answer questions concerning how two people can witness the same event or receive the same information but come away with vastly different impressions. This research strongly reinforces the maxim of ‘know your audience’ for any attempts to communicate priorities or influence opinions. No matter how good one’s arguments are, they will not be as effective if they are not framed properly to address what an individual most cares about in that particular context.”


SESSION: Increase Inclusion

Elizabeth Haines, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, William Paterson University — “Gender is not just something that is. Gender (a) affords goals in self concept, (b) signals prescriptive behaviors for what we expect of leaders (women leaders need to be warm and competent, men leaders need to be competent but not as warm) and followers, and (c) constructs penalties for people who bend the gender rules (e.g., gender-non-conforming, assertive women, and ‘beta’ vs. ‘alpha’ men). Addressing, understanding, and mitigating the assumptions and biases we hold for gender promises to enhance diversity in leadership.”


SESSION: Connect Better: Leverage The Common Currency Of Human Interactions

Jamil Zaki, Ph.D., Director of the Social Neuroscience Lab, Stanford University — “We are working on a suite of empathy building practices, based in social psychology, that increase people’s empathy generally and also help them connect during difficult moments. Empathy touches almost every aspect of organizational life, and we want to help companies infuse it into their practices.”



SESSION: From Exhaustive to Essential

Adam Alter, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marketing, New York University — “I study human decision-making broadly, and work with many tech companies, financial institutions, charitable and non-profit organizations, and other entities to improve consumer outcomes, including retirement saving, healthy eating, exercising, and making better medical, education, and legal decisions.”


SESSION: Strike the Right Balance: When to Take Risks and When to Play it Safe

Lisa Son, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Barnard College — “We look at biases or breakdowns in learning strategies, short-term vs. long-term tradeoffs, and ways to rectify learning errors. The largest umbrella I’m most excited about are the ways in which metacognitive processing can help or hinder confidence and courage. More narrowly, I’ve been comparing learning and metacognitive biases cross-culturally in the US and Korea. I think learning about metacognition is the key to self-confidence, which, in turn, helps creativity.”

Joe Kable, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania — “We try to understand the psychological and neural mechanisms of decision-making, using a combination of approaches from cognitive and social neuroscience, the psychology of judgment and decision making, and experimental economics. Recognizing that individuals differ in their decision tendencies can help organizations place people in the right roles on their teams in order to maximize team success and effectiveness. Our neuroscience work also identifies strong effects of context that decision-makers should be aware of in order to make choices in a less-biased manner.”


SESSION: Collaborate Better with Continuous Communication

Valerie Purdie Greenaway, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia University — “My research lab explores the science of insider and outsider dynamics. We use lab and field experiments in workplaces and schools to understand how environments affect cognitive performance, sense of belonging, fit and retention. My research can be used to identify how micro-cultures, values, norms, and beliefs that shape organizations can unintentionally exclude members of under-represented groups. My work helps organizations shift from thinking about barriers like pipelines and biases to thinking about manageable changes that transform D&I.”

To secure your spot at this year’s Summit and have breakthroughs of your own, check out summit.neuroleadership.com.

people discussing at NLI SUMMIT

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