Dr Tali Sharot

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Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

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Synopsis

Working at the intersection of neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics, Tali is a leading authority on the biology underpinning why we make the choices we make, what influences those choices, and why we tend to believe the outcome will ultimately be for the best. The acclaimed author of The Optimism Bias considers why our brains generate hope and the sort of decision-making that it leads to.

Biography

Tali Sharot is an academic, researcher and writer specialising in neuroscience as it relates to behaviour change, decision-making and how our minds are shaped by both the past and the future. She is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of the Affective Brain Lab at University College London, and is also a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow.

Working principally at the intersection of neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics, Tali’s work has mapped the neurological foundations of human optimism. She looks at how the mind deals with emotional, social and influencing factors, and how they determine behaviour and decisions.

Whilst it’s well documented that humans tend to view the world and their choices in an irrationally positive way (rather than taking a rigorously logical approach), Tali examines the biological explanation for this. She considers why we might need to generate hope, why we’re so poor at predicting what will actually make us happy, and why we might be wired towards making poor financial, health and professional choices. Tali’s work in the area has led not to acclaimed academic publications and a Time magazine cover story, but also to her bestselling book The Optimism Bias: Why We're Wired to Look on the Bright Side.

In her book The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others, Tali looks at how adept we are at sharing our knowledge and experience with others. She examines some of the age-old methods we all rely on when trying to influence or change someone, from fear to argument, and why they run counter to how our brains actually work.

Tali’s work on memory, motivation, learning and behaviour reveals why and how we deceive ourselves, misjudge expectations, and fail when trying to change ourselves and others.

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