Tali Sharot

University College London: Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
Tali Sharot is a leading expert on human decision-making, optimism and emotion. A neuroscientist by trade, Sharot combines research in psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience to reveal the forces that shape our decisions, beliefs and inaccurate expectations of the future and how those can be altered (or sustained). Why do people discount bad news (a tendency that contributed to the 2008 financial downfall, enhances ill-preparedness in the face of disaster and reduced medical screenings)? Why do we have unrealistic expectations of the future (underestimating our chances of divorce and expecting our kids to be uniquely talented)? Why is it so difficult to change a decision after it is made? Sharot, a visiting professor at MIT, is also an associate professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London where she directs the Affective Brain Lab. Her team is dedicated to answering such questions with an aim at identifying ways to encourage behavioral change that enhance well-being. Sharot is the author of The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain (Pantheon/ Random House, 2011); The Science of Optimism (TED, e-book, 2012) and the upcoming - The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals about Our Power to Change Others (Henry Holt, 2017). She has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, The Science Channel, the Today show, the BBC and many publications around the world. Sharot also co-presented BBC’s Science Club (BBC 2). She wrote TIME magazine’s cover story The Science of Optimism (May, 2011) as well as cover stories for The Observer Review, The Guardian, The Washington Post Health Section and a New York Times Op-Ed (Major Delusions, 2011).

Sharot has given keynote addresses to a diverse collection of private and public companies/groups, including those in the field of insurance, financial management, marketing, gaming, social entrepreneurship, arts, health and safety, mental health and academia. She has also delivered many public talks including at TED 2012.