Paul J. Zak

Paul J. Zak

Paul’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.

Recent posts by Paul J. Zak

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
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

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.