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

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 Immersionyears 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