Christopher Chabris

Speech Topics

The main point of the talk will be twofold: (1) Intelligence, like all other behavioral traits, is indeed influenced by genes. (2) However, we have learned that intelligence and other traits are influenced by hundreds or even thousands of genes, each of which has a very small effect. Participants will learn about the current state of research on the genetics of intelligence — what we know and don’t know — and what is likely to be discovered in the near future.

If your message is vivid and memorable, your customers will see and remember it, right? Not necessarily. In this talk, Christopher Chabris, creator of the famous “invisible gorilla” psychology experiment, uses real-world stories and startling demonstrations to show how we all miss much more of what goes on around us than we realize. People won’t notice the gorilla in the room just because we think it’s obvious. By better understanding the gap between how we think we pay attention and remember and how we really pay attention and remember you will gain new insights into how your customer’s mind works, allowing you to craft a more persuasive and compelling message.

One of the greatest obstacles to effective leadership is faulty perception. Because of the way our minds are built, we often don’t see the world as it really is. Instead, we see what we expect to see and believe what we want to believe, regardless of the evidence. In this talk, Christopher Chabris, creator of the famous “invisible gorilla” psychology experiment, reveals how common misconceptions about the mind can undermine our ability to lead. With real-world stories, personal anecdotes, and clever experiments, Chabris leads the audience to question their assumptions about how they think and to see themselves—and those around them—as they really are.

Everyone involved in healthcare makes high-stakes decisions. One key to effective decision-making is knowing when to trust your intuition and “go with your gut,” and when to take a step back and think twice before choosing a course of action. In this talk, Chabris, creator of the famous “invisible gorilla” psychology experiment, shows how our decisions are often clouded by our intuitive ideas about how the mind works. With entertaining examples and surprising scientific studies, Chabris will leave audience members with a deeper appreciation of how we all really think, and how to make better decisions in their own lives.


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Christopher Chabris received his A.B. in computer science and his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University, where he was also a Lecturer and Research Associate for many years. He did postdoctoral work in brain imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is now Associate Professor of Psychology and co-director of the Neuroscience Program at Union College in Schenectady, New York, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at Albany Medical College.

Chris is the co-author (with Daniel Simons) of the New York Times bestseller and Editor’s Choice book The Invisible Gorilla, and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us, published in 2010 by Crown in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the U.K., with translations published or forthcoming in Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Spanish, and thirteen other languages. In 2004 Chris and Dan shared the Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology (awarded for “achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think”) for the experiment that inspired their book.

Chris’s research focuses on three main areas: collective intelligence in human groups; individual differences in thinking and decision-making; and how cognitive illusions affect our lives. He has published papers on a diverse array of topics, including human intelligence, beauty and the brain, face recognition, the Mozart effect, behavioral genetics, group performance, intertemporal choice, chess expertise, and visual cognition. Chris’s work has appeared in leading journals, including Science, Nature, Psychological Science, Nature Neuroscience, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Perception, and Cognitive Science, and it has been covered in major media outlets worldwide. Chris has spoken to audiences at PopTech, Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, government agencies, and elsewhere.

Chris is a chess master, poker amateur, and games enthusiast; he writes the monthly “Game On” column in The Wall Street Journal. He also contributes occasionally to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Slate, and other national publications.

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