Paul Zak’s two decades of research have taken him from the Pentagon to Fortune 50 boardrooms to the rain forest of Papua New Guinea. All this in a quest to understand the neuroscience of human connection, human happiness, and effective teamwork. His academic lab and companies he has started develop and deploy neuroscience technologies to solve real problems faced by real people.
His book, Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies (2017), uses neuroscience to measure and manage organizational cultures to inspire teamwork and accelerate business outcomes. Paul was the winner of the Harvard Business Review's 2018 Warren Bennis Prize for the best article of 2017, "The Neuroscience of Trust" (Jan./Feb. 2017 issue). His 2012 book, The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity, recounted his unlikely discovery of the neurochemical oxytocin as the key driver of trust, love, and morality that distinguish our humanity. In another obsession, Paul’s group uses neuroscience to quantify the impact of movies, advertising, stories, and consumer experiences. Along the way, he has help start several transdisciplinary fields, including neuroeconomics, neuromanagement, and neuromarketing.
Paul is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard. You can check out his academic lab, consumer neuroscience company, and neuromanagement company.
Paul’s research on oxytocin and relationships has earned him the nickname "Dr. Love." That’s cool. He’s all about adding more love to the world.
Follow him on Twitter @pauljzak
Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies
Trust is the secret ingredient of high performance organizations. Dr. Zak describes the science and applications of a management tool he developed called Ofactor that has been used by numerous organizations to increase trust between colleagues and improve the bottom line. It is based on the latest brain science developed in his lab. He describes an eight step trust-boosting program that every organization can use. In a surprising twist, he shows why high trust organizations have happier and healthier employees. It's not rocket science, but it is neuroscience.
Hits: The Science and Business of the Extraordinary
Creating the extraordinary is, well, extraordinarily hard. Movie studios, TV executives, music publishers, advertising agencies, and retailers need to create extraordinary experiences or they are left behind by those who can. Until recently, businesses depended on "experts" who somehow, inscrutably, know how to create hits.
Except when they don't. These "experts" only create hits 30% of the time. The reason for these failures? Creators of experiences use intuition to determine what people will love. Intuition is a polite way of saying they are guessing. This talk will show audiences how to create hits by using the science of the extraordinary developed in my academic laboratory over the last 15 years in studies I did for the U.S. government's War on Terror. I then created a software platform used by movie studios, TV networks, luxury retail stores, ad agencies, schools and professional service organizations to ensure the content they create will be a hit. This is an entertaining, surprising, and practical talk with numerous examples to enlighten audiences.
The Moral Molecule: Vampire Economics the New Science of Good and Evil
Dr. Zak's new book shows how an ancient molecule, oxytocin, is the foundation for morality, civilization, and global commerce. In this fun romp in which Dr. Zak takes blood samples in weddings, concerts, and religious services, the essence of human nature is revealed.
Hacking the Happiness Molecule
Evolution does not promote happiness. Most creatures live on the edge of survival and do whatever it takes to get through another day. Yet, many human beings seek to be, and often are, happy. How did that happen? Dr. Paul Zak's discovery that oxytocin functions as a moral molecule, led him to investigate the biology of happiness. His experiments show that oxytocin significantly improves happiness and health. He then used himself as a test subject to "hack" his happiness. This engaging and practical talk shows how we can embrace our biology to live better, healthier, and happier lives.
Packed with examples from The Container Store, Zappos, and Herman Miller, Trust Factor harnesses our neurochemistry to effectively cultivate work places where trust, joy, and commitment compound naturally.
Drawing on converging evidence from neuroscience, social science, biology, law, and philosophy, Moral Markets makes the case that modern market exchange works only because most people, most of the time, act virtuously.