JAMIL ZAKI received his Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University, and then conducted postdoctoral research at the Harvard University Center for Brain Sciences. He is now a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and the Director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab. His research focuses on the cognitive and neural bases of social behaviour, and in particular on how people understand each other’s emotions (empathic accuracy), why they conform to each other (social influence), and why they choose to help each other (altruism). His work on empathy has been well received in the academic community. He has published over 50 articles, spoken at about 100 conferences around the world, and received awards from organizations including the National Science Foundation, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Neuroscience, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and Harvard and Stanford Universities. He is also passionate about applying this research, and has joined forces with many people outside academia to help advise and test empathy-building interventions.
Jamil is an avid science communicator for years, devoting great energy to helping the public understand their power of empathy. He has written about how a “choice view” of empathy speaks to policing (for The New Yorker), parenting (for The Atlantic Monthly), philanthropy (for The New York Times) and medicine (for NautilusMagazine). He has also written about empathy and pro-sociality for Scientific American and WIRED. His outreach efforts have broadened even further more recently, through The Lutz Experiment (forthcoming from Simon & Schuster), a collaborative book project with the comedian and writer John Lutz (SNL, 30 Rock, The Late Show with Seth Myers).