Dr. Neil A. Lewis Jr.: A Behavioral Scientist Explores Social Inequities


Dr. Neil A. Lewis, Jr. is a behavioral scientist, researcher, and assistant professor of communication and social behavior at Cornell University. His research focuses on applying social and behavioral science to analyze what motivates people to pursue their goals, and how the interplay between identity and social context supports or undermines their objectives. Dr. Lewis uses his research to examine and address the consequences of social disparities, including racial, economic, and gender inequality.

An engaging and eloquent speaker, Dr. Neil A. Lewis Jr. is popular with organizations, governments, and schools. Drawing on his research, he offers fascinating insights on how to understand the persistence of “invisible forms of segregation” in many areas of life, and what it means for addressing inequality and creating more equitable outcomes. As the co-director of the Cornell Action Research Collaborative, he works with policymakers and organizations to develop initiatives and policies that reduce disparities in multiple domains, including education, health, and the environment.

Dr. Lewis has been recognized as one of the 30 up-and-coming thinkers by Thinkers50 and Deloitte. He has been awarded the National Academies Eric and Wendy Schmidt Award for Excellence in Science Communication, the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science, the SAGE Young Scholar Early Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and Cornell’s Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Public Policy. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, among other publications.

Dr. Neil Lewis, Jr. earned his B.A. in Economics and Psychology at Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan.

Interested in bringing Dr. Neil Lewis Jr. to speak at your event or to your corporation or institutionContact us for more information.


A Data-Based Approach to DEI

This data-focused talk addresses why most diversity initiatives fail to move the needle on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in organizations. Organizations often appoint people to “fix their diversity problems” who are passionate about DEI, but don’t necessarily take—or know how to take—the methodical approach required. Dr. Lewis walks through the steps that organizations can take to use their own data to determine why their specific organization is having problems and generate effective solutions to create change.

Beyond Quick Fixes: Structural and Social Interventions for Motivating Behavior Change 

Bookstores are filled with self-help and pop-psychology books that assure their readers that if they do this one-weird-trick it will help them to change their (or other people’s) behavior and improve their lives. Avid readers of those books quickly realize something we’ve long known in the behavioral sciences: those quick fix solutions rarely last. In this talk I will talk about why that is, and what people and organizations can do instead to create lasting behavioral changes.

From Diversity Signaling to Actual Diversification: Systematic Solutions for Improving And Sustaining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Organizations

Organizations spend a lot of time talking about how much they value diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), but employees and other stakeholders from marginalized backgrounds are often frustrated when those expressed values are not aligned with the experiences in the organization. In this talk I will discuss a systematic approach for diagnosing the areas in which organizations fall short in their DEI goals, and generating solutions that can be implemented in multiple areas of organizations to improve DEI outcomes in the short-, medium-, and long-run.

What We Have—And Have Not—Learned from Inequities in COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare a vast number of social inequities—not-only in disease related outcomes, but also in education, workplace, and broader well-being outcomes. As organizations, and societies more broadly, try to rebuild from the pandemic, it is worth taking a step back to reflect on what we have learned so that we can build a more equitable future. This talk reflects on lessons learned from researching social aspects of the pandemic and evaluating the unequal effects of pandemic-relevant policies across multiple sectors.


Interested in bringing Dr. Neil A. Lewis, Jr. to speak at your event or to your corporation or institutionContact us for more information.