2 min read

Machine Learning with Immersion

By Paul J. Zak on Mar 8, 2021 8:36:07 PM

Immersion is a prediction engine. It was designed from the get-go to accurately and consistently predict what individuals and markets will do. This linkage means that clients can measure the value Immersion creates immediately and unambiguously.  

Topics: Entertainment Science Prediction
1 min read

Building Trust Remotely

By Paul J. Zak on Feb 22, 2021 2:18:56 PM

I was privileged to have a LinkedIn Live conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Hull, the Education Director at Harvard Medical School's Institute of Coaching. We discussed the role of trust in creating high-performance teams, the science behind trust, and how to build trust when teams work remotely. Jeff and I filled our conversation with practical ways that leaders can measure and manage teams for high trust in order to reach high performance.  We also laughed a lot; once the value of trust is recognized, it is easy to maintain it by showing one authentically cares about others.

Topics: Flow Trust Performance
1 min read

Using Immersion to Optimize UX

By Paul J. Zak on Feb 15, 2021 11:57:12 AM

Retailers are battling each other to capture sales online. Prices matter, but so do services such as rapid shipping and free returns. Companies spend considerable amounts to make user experiences (UX) during shopping exciting and easy. Market researchers typically do this by following clicks: track where to people go, how much time they spend there, and how much they buy.   Nearly every serious online retailer is constantly A/B testing colors, font size, typefaces and anything else that can promote purchases.

Topics: marketing Retail Customer Journey
1 min read

Sustain High Performance With Psychological Safety

By Paul J. Zak on Feb 8, 2021 10:01:34 AM

Teamwork: is it hard or easy?

Topics: Training Flow Performance
2 min read

Optimizing Organizational Performance

By Paul J. Zak on Jan 18, 2021 11:21:01 AM

I've spent much of the last 20 years developing the science of interpersonal trust and showing how powerfully trust drives outcomes. Mary Slaughter, a Managing Director of People Advisory Services at EY, kindly asked me to contribute to an article she wrote at the digital magazine Reworked on optimizing organizational performance by building a culture of trust. Connecting trust to culture was not fast or easy.

Topics: Emotional Health Flow Trust
2 min read

Can you Dial for Answers?

By Paul J. Zak on Jan 5, 2021 11:06:30 AM

Data analysts like to say that more data is always good.

Topics: Entertainment marketing Prediction
2 min read

Flowing into Immersion

By Paul J. Zak on Dec 14, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Steamed mussels, white wine, and espresso. Mihaly, or Mike as he preferred to be called in America, had lived here for 45 years but his Hungarian heritage was clear from his lunch. Sitting outdoors on a warm day in a Southern California café, my Claremont Graduate University colleague Mike Csikszentmihalyi described how he discovered the psychological state he named “flow” in the early 1970s. He observed and interviewed painters and other artists who described being so absorbed in their work that they lost track of time. They also reported a sense of bliss during the experience. Mike characterized flow as the pleasurable experience of being actively engrossed in a task. This research has been, and continues to be, very influential.

Topics: Science Emotional Health Flow
2 min read

Battle Tested

By Paul J. Zak on Dec 7, 2020 6:07:20 PM


Topics: Training Science Prediction
3 min read

Thank You to Immersion Super Fans

By Paul J. Zak on Nov 26, 2020 8:08:11 AM

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." So said the Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero.

Topics: Training Entertainment recall
2 min read

Crowd-Sourcing Content Creation Using Immersion

By Paul J. Zak on Nov 16, 2020 6:56:03 PM

Years ago, I served as a consultant to a large ad agency and was invited to join a meeting with a client. The agency presented rough-cut videos of six approaches for an American automobile manufacturer's Super Bowl commercial. The 30-second air time would cost $4 million and toss in another million to the agency for creative and production and you're talking real money.

Topics: marketing NaaS
2 min read

Neuroscience-as-a-Service: Democratizing Neuroscience

By Paul J. Zak on Nov 9, 2020 10:03:49 AM

Neuroscience is awesome! Also, very complicated.   Specially trained scientists need a lab and lots of expensive equipment to figure out what the brain is doing. Especially human brains.

Topics: Science NaaS
3 min read

Why Your Gut is Wrong (But is Sometimes Right)

By Paul J. Zak on Nov 2, 2020 10:30:10 AM

The oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in 2010 causing deaths and a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig was operated by British Petroleum. BP's CEO, Tony Hayward, issued an apology immediately after the accident saying, "We're sorry for the massive disruption it's caused... There's no one who wants this over more than I do. I'd like my life back." This after 11 men lost their lives in the accident, mothers lost sons, children lost fathers. Hayward was forced to resign a few weeks after the incident due in part to his feeble apology. A month after oil spill, BP's market capitalization had dropped in half, losing $105 billion in value.

Topics: Science Prediction
2 min read

The Neuroscience of Disneyland

By Paul J. Zak on Oct 26, 2020 3:37:59 PM

Pirates of the Caribbean—that's easily the best ride at Disneyland. At least for me.

Topics: Entertainment Customer Journey
1 min read

On Being One's Own Rabbit

By Paul J. Zak on Oct 1, 2020 8:47:12 AM

On Being One's Own Rabbit is the title of a 1927 article by British scientist and mathematician J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964). Haldane wrote about a scientific approach with a long history: self-experimentation.  Haldane first did this at the age of eight in his scientist father's home laboratory testing poison gases.  A self-experiment he did as an adult testing high levels of oxygen saturation caused a violent seizure that crushed several of Haldane's vertebrae.  That's commitment.

Topics: Science Prediction
1 min read

5 Ways to Create Immersive Training@ Training Magazine

By Paul J. Zak on Sep 21, 2020 10:26:41 AM

The editors at Training Magazine asked me if I could identify best practices from the training data collected by Immersion's clients. Excellent idea! Immersion is a prediction engine, so I reviewed anonymized data to identify training that generated high immersion.   Across several analyses, we have found the correlation between immersion and recall runs from 0.60-0.70.   In human-speak, this means if one delivers high immersion training, participants will remember more of the content weeks later. I contacted learning architects at companies that consistently generated high immersion and asked them to share how they structured their training.  The approaches they shared with me are immediately applicable now that the majority of training is being done remotely.

Topics: Training Events
2 min read

Face Freaks

By Paul J. Zak on Sep 2, 2020 8:00:00 AM

It was such a great idea.  Capture people's emotional states from facial twitches.

Topics: Science Prediction
1 min read

How to Optimize Training with Immersion @TD Magazine

By Paul J. Zak on Sep 1, 2020 4:11:59 PM

TD Magazine invited me to write an article discussing what our clients have learned using the Immersion platform to optimize the delivery and impact of training.  The article explains that the problem with post-training surveys is that people lie.  Yes, shocking! People have great difficulty identifying the value of training and how it can be improved because value comes from the unconscious and emotional regions of the brain.  This is why measuring neural activity during training is absolutely necessary.

Topics: Training Education Science
2 min read

Sweating the Data?

By Paul J. Zak on Aug 31, 2020 8:00:00 AM

I love to sweat.  When working out.

Topics: Science Prediction
2 min read

Why not EEG?

By Paul J. Zak on Aug 26, 2020 11:10:18 AM

That's me and Dr. Jorge Barraza, Immersion's co-founders, calibrating a high-density electroencephalogram (EEG). Immersion's foundational studies measured brain activity multiple ways using EEG, electrocardiograms (ECG), skin conductance, and changes in neurochemicals in blood.  Over and over.  For hundreds of people. 

Topics: Science Prediction
3 min read

Neuromyths Debunked

By Paul J. Zak on Aug 24, 2020 12:34:49 PM

Immersion is full of neuro-nerds. In the last 15 years I've done about 10,000 blood draws to measure neurochemicals in order to figure out when the brain knows that an experience is extraordinary.  That's part the comprehensive science that forms the foundation for Immersion—years and years in the lab. 

Topics: Training
5 min read

Immersion & Pandora Collaborate to Predict Hits

By Paul J. Zak on Aug 19, 2020 9:39:25 AM

The Problem

Topics: Entertainment
3 min read

The Science of Superfans

By Paul J. Zak on Jul 28, 2020 5:13:33 PM

Superfans are thrilled by an experience and they respond in an oversized way.  The scientists at Immersion wondered if superfans just appeared randomly during an experience or if they shared commonalities.  We traced a propensity to superfandom to two personality traits: agreeableness and empathy.  These warm and friendly human beings have high "affect intensity" meaning that they experience stronger emotional responses to experiences compared to other people. 

Topics: Entertainment marketing
3 min read

Why we give to charity

By Paul J. Zak on Jul 20, 2020 8:19:00 AM


Ben.  The little boy's name is Ben.  He looks so happy.  So, why is his father heartbroken? 

Topics: marketing Giving
2 min read

Immersion on the Move

By Paul J. Zak on Jul 6, 2020 3:20:34 PM

Every year cars have more automated features, but some people still want to get on the road simply for the fun of driving.  Driving is especially enjoyable when one has the right vehicle for the journey.  I have a Hummer that my dog and I take out to the mountains. I did some research on on off-road vehicles before I bought my Hummer, drove a couple of used ones, and then took the plunge.  Just like dating, it is hard for people to know which car is the right match for them. 

Topics: marketing Events
2 min read

Why do some TED Talks go viral?

By Paul J. Zak on Jun 2, 2020 10:00:00 AM

My knees were shaking as I walked onto the stage at the Edinburgh International Conference Center.  I had been invited to give a talk at TED Global, the biggest of the big leagues of public speaking, and I was beyond nervous.  So nervous, that a TED production assistant agreed to click through my slides because I couldn't do it myself in rehearsal.  Speaking at TED was a life-changing experience—my talk has been viewed over 1.6 million times.  But not every TED talk goes viral.  TED curator Chris Anderson warned the speakers that only 80% of what appears live at TED makes it online; the other 20% are just not good enough. So, what makes a TED talk great? 

Topics: Events
2 min read

Customized Classroom

By Paul J. Zak on May 26, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Teachers get too much and too little credit for student outcomes.

Topics: Training Education
2 min read

Creating Extraordinary Customer Experiences

By Paul J. Zak on May 21, 2020 10:00:00 AM

After two days, I resolved that Canberra is the world's most boring city.  That is why I went back to Sydney. 

Topics: marketing Events
1 min read

Best Practices When Running Remote Meetings

By Paul J. Zak on May 18, 2020 12:00:00 PM

The global pandemic has forced meetings, teaching, and training to be remote.  Running a remote event, as we have discussed before, is not like running an in-person meeting.  It needs to be structured to keep people immersed when the social pressure of being in a room together is missing.  Immersion's scientists combed through client data who are using our Distributed NeuroscienceTM platform and spoke to users to identify best practices when running remote events. Here's what we have learned.

Topics: Training Events
1 min read

What Your Brain Wants To Watch

By Paul J. Zak on Apr 15, 2020 1:14:02 PM

News or entertainment?

Topics: Entertainment
2 min read

Size Matters. How Facebook & Immersion Figured Out What People Love

By Paul J. Zak on Apr 7, 2020 8:23:00 AM

The largest advertiser in the world, consumer products company Proctor & Gamble, cut their digital advertising by over half a billion dollars between 2018 and 2019 because they could not show it was effective. 

Topics: Entertainment marketing
2 min read

Your Virtual Events are the New TV

By Scott Brown on Apr 3, 2020 6:15:00 AM

Will your attendees stay tuned or click away? 

Topics: Training marketing Events
1 min read

The Power of Distributed Neuroscience

By Paul J. Zak on Mar 12, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Fears of the COVID-19 variant of the coronavirus are impacting all unnecessary gatherings, including attending conferences and date nights at the movie theater.  While many of us are now working from home, how is this impacting industries where gathering groups of people are the core of their business?

Topics: marketing
2 min read

Fewer Brains Mean Bigger Data

By Paul J. Zak on Mar 11, 2020 1:11:34 PM

Many companies built their reputations on surveying a thousand or more people to capture national opinions or TV watching habits.  Today, online survey companies may maintain panels of respondents and can deliver several thousand data points in a week.  We all know bigger is better.

Topics: Entertainment
2 min read

Getting Schooled: How Immersion Works in the Classroom

By Paul J. Zak on Feb 19, 2020 6:00:00 AM

At Immersion, we are "on the ground" technologists.  By that I mean we have partners not clients.  When our partners find new applications for our technology we ask to observe what they are doing to see if we can suggest improvements.  This is just what we did when a partner brought Immersion into K-12 classrooms.

Topics: Training
2 min read

Why We Remember

By Marketing on Feb 13, 2020 3:28:21 PM

The first time you met your life partner.  Birth of your child.  The destruction and death of 9/11/2001. They are seared into your memory. 

Topics: Training marketing recall
2 min read

The Neuroscience of Failed Product Launches

By Marketing on Jan 20, 2020 6:15:00 AM

In the 1980’s Coca-Cola was losing market share to Pepsi. The solution, the Coke people thought, was to make a new formula that tasted more like, ahem, Pepsi.  Coca-Cola conducted 30,000 blinded taste tests and found that 55% of people said "New Coke" was better than the original. People also said New Coke tasted better than Pepsi.  Coca-Cola spent over four million dollars to decide if they should launch New Coke.  The people had spoken so the launch was on.

2 min read

Going Forward By Starting Backwards

By Paul J. Zak on Jan 13, 2020 6:00:00 AM

The American Psychological Association christened the 2000s "The Decade of Behavior."  They even invited me to give a keynote address on behavioral neuroscience at their national convention.  The result?  Research by prominent psychologists has shown that fewer studies that seek to explain and predict behavior are being published.  What psychologists have focused on, because it is faster to research and publish, are studies of introspection, feelings, intentions, and other self-reported data that copious research shows are only weakly related to actual behaviors.

2 min read

Psychological Safety & Measuring Readiness

By Paul J. Zak on Jan 9, 2020 4:49:55 PM

Are you ready?

Topics: Training
1 min read

Tech Trends Embrace the Future With These Latest Meeting Planner Trends

By Marketing on Jan 7, 2020 6:48:48 PM


3 min read

If Content Is King, Why Do Most Shows Play The Fool?

By Paul J. Zak on Dec 12, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Content is king. 

Topics: Entertainment
2 min read

How Do You Prove The ROI of Corporate Training?

By Paul J. Zak on Dec 9, 2019 5:30:00 AM

Great trainers are artists.  You may have seen a few of these: everything they present comes alive and tattoos itself onto your brain.  The experience is extraordinary.

Topics: Training
2 min read

I Believe in Software Not Slides

By Scott Brown on Dec 5, 2019 6:00:00 AM

There was a time when answers were delivered to you on paper, or in a PowerPoint slide deck.  If you wanted to know your monthly sales, a person printed it out on big sheets of green and white striped paper for you to review.  If you wanted to dig deep into your product plan for the next year, someone sent you a slide deck.

Topics: Entertainment
3 min read

Four Ways to Shorten the OODA Loop in Training

By Paul J. Zak on Dec 3, 2019 3:16:33 PM

"Do you mind getting beat up a bit?" 

Topics: Training
1 min read

The Risks of Using AI to Interpret Human Emotions

By Marketing on Nov 20, 2019 11:37:00 AM

What do people really feel?

Podcast: Predicting Market Outcomes

By Marketing on Oct 12, 2019 11:39:00 AM

Paul talks with our friends Derek Lundsten and Todd Staples about Immersion Neuroscience and it’s ability to accurately predict market outcomes.

Measuring Live Meeting Engagement

By Marketing on Sep 23, 2019 8:15:00 AM

"The challenge with meeting engagement is that it’s really, really tough to measure. Conference planners look at session attendance, session polling, social media buzz, post-event surveys, and more. But understanding the impact that certain ideas, speakers, or live-event environments have on attendees is an inexact science. That just might be changing. Immersion Neuroscience, a company founded by neuroscientist Paul Zak, has a wearable technology that measures immersion in live experiences and video content."

Meetings Today Podcast with Bishop-McCann powered by Immersion

By Marketing on Sep 19, 2019 2:03:00 PM

Meetings Today’s Tyler Davidson talks with Bishop-McCann’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Tracy Kinsey and Paul Zak of Immersion Neuroscience on using the Immersion Neuroscience software to measure the return on experience in the events/meeting space.

1 min read

Bishop-McCann Return on Experience powered by Immersion

By Marketing on Sep 13, 2019 2:18:00 PM

Bishop-McCann powered by Immersion Neuroscience has now created: Return on Experience.

Immersion at CableLabs Innovation Showcase 2019, presented by UpRamp

By Marketing on Aug 7, 2019 2:37:00 PM

People don’t always tell the truth – watch this video to see 5 examples of how Immersion measures unconscious emotional responses to let you create extraordinary content and experiences!

1 min read

How Our Brains Decide When to Trust

By Marketing on Jul 30, 2019 2:48:00 PM

Trust is the enabler of global business — without it, most market transactions would be impossible. It is also a hallmark of high-performing organizations. Employees in high-trust companies are more productive, are more satisfied with their jobs, put in greater discretionary effort, are less likely to search for new jobs, and even are healthier than those working in low-trust companies. Businesses that build trust among their customers are rewarded with greater loyalty and higher sales. And negotiators who build trust with each other are more likely to find value-creating deals.

Topics: featured
1 min read

Visitamos las nuevas oficinas de Accenture

By Marketing on Jul 10, 2019 2:54:00 PM

El pasado miércoles 5 de junio, estuvimos en las oficinas de Accenture Argentina en el barrio porteño de Parque Patricios.