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Tali Sharot

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September 2017


Tali Sharot is a Wellcome Trust fellow and principle investigator at the Cognitive Perceptual and Brain Science Division at University College London. Her research on the neuroscience of optimism, emotion, memory and decision making has been published in top scientific journals including Nature and Nature Neuroscience, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, the New Scientist, the BBC, and more. She has previously taught courses in psychology and neuroscience and conducted research at New York University (where she received her PhD), Harvard University, and the University of California. She is from Israel.

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More of Tali's books…
“It‘s a curious fact, because Friday is a day of work and Sunday is a day for pleasure, so you would expect people to enjoy Sunday more, right? But we don’t. It’s not because we really like being in the office and can’t stand strolling in the park and having a lazy brunch. We prefer Friday to Sunday because Friday brings with it the thrill of anticipating the weekend ahead. In contrast, on Sunday the only thing to look forward to is work on Monday.”
Tali Sharot, The Science of Optimism: Why We're Hard-Wired for Hope

“the litter of Schrödinger's cat is all over our decision tasks”
Tali Sharot, Neuroscience of Preference and Choice: Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms

“We should finally note a more radical challenge to the concept of Platonic utility that arises from nascent work in the reinforcement learning field under the rubric of intrinsic motivation. One idea is that the "true" evolutionarily appropriate metric for behavior is the extremely sparse one of propagating ones genes. What we think of as a Platonic utility over immediate rewards such as food or water, would merely be a surrogate that helps overcome the otherwise insurmountable credit assignment path associated with procreation. In these terms, even the Platonic utility is the same sort of heuristic expedient as the Pavlovian controller itself, with evolutionary optimality molding approximate economic rationality to its own ends. It as a sober thought that understanding values may be less important as a way of unearthing the foundations of choice that we might have expected.”
Tali Sharot

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