Events Archive - Center for Decision Research | Chicago Booth

Events Archive

The Center for Decision Research hosts regular events to promote the field of behavioral science and yield scientific discoveries with the potential to improve individual and social welfare.

Think Better

The Think Better speaker series explores how insights from behavioral science affect society, shape policy, impact business, and improve individual lives. The topics are relevant to anyone interested in understanding why people think, judge, choose, and act as they do.

calendar of events

"The Surprising Power of Social Connection" with Nicholas Epley

Wednesday, April 01 6:00 PM

Nicholas Epley


How can we stay emotionally connected while social distancing? Social psychologist Nicholas Epley explores the science behind meaningful interactions.

Aristotle noted centuries ago that “man is by nature a social animal,” making the social distancing practices we are all operating under now an extremely unique and unusual experience over the course of human history. Connecting with others is a deep human need, and the quality of our social connections is a powerful determinant of our wellbeing and health.

Despite its importance, people tend to underestimate how positively their social acts will be received by others, creating psychological barriers to reaching out and engaging with others. Expressing gratitude, giving compliments, doing random acts of kindness, and engaging in deep conversation have more positive effects on others than those initiating these actions tend to expect.

At a time when we are encouraged to keep our physical distance from others, appreciating your power to have a positive impact on others simply by reaching out and engaging with them can encourage you to reach out more often, for both your own and others’ wellbeing.

About the Speaker

Nicholas Epley is the John Templeton Keller Professor of Behavior Science and faculty director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He studies social cognition—how thinking people think about other thinking people—to understand why smart people so routinely misunderstand each other. He teaches an ethics and happiness course to MBA students called "Designing a Good Life." 

His research has appeared in more than two dozen empirical journals and popular publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Wired, and National Public Radio. He is the author of Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want.