Tali Sharot is a leading expert on human decision-making, optimism and emotion. She is a neuroscientist by trade, but Tali combines research in psychology, behavioural 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).
Tali Sharot is a visiting professor at MIT and 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 behavioural change that enhance well-being.
She is the author of The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain; The Science of Optimism and The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals about Our Power to Change Others.
Optimism bias is the belief that the future will be better, much better, than the past or present. And most of us display this bias. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot wants to know why: What is it about our brains that makes us overestimate the positive? She explores the question in her book The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. In the book (and a 2011 TIME magazine cover story), she reviewed findings from both social science and neuroscience that point to an interesting conclusion: “our brains aren’t just stamped by the past. They are constantly being shaped by the future.” In her own work, she’s interested in how our natural optimism actually shapes what we remember, and her interesting range of papers encompasses behavioural research (how likely we are to misremember major events) as well as medical findings — like searching for the places in the brain where optimism lives.
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).
Tali 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.
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