behavioral research scientist Alison Wood Brooks in front of a chalkboard
PROFESSOR AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL

Unlocking the Secrets of the Social World

Bringing our best selves to every conversation.

 

No matter the level of our conversational competence or confidence, we all put pressure on ourselves for our conversations to go well, with a sense of personal failure when they don’t. It’s not just that we are struggling to navigate difficult conversations, or that our social skills have begun to atrophy thanks to technology and remote work. Even in easy conversations, we are missing abundant opportunities to connect—to be known, heard, delighted, and loved, and to do the same for others.

COMING SOON 2025

Talk: The science of conversation and the art of being ourselves

With its exuberant voice, rigorous methods, approachable frameworks, and surprising insights, Talk will appeal to anyone who wants to understand the science of conversation—and master the art.

PROFESSOR | SCIENTIST | AUTHOR | LEADER

About Alison Wood Brooks

Alison Wood Brooks is the O’Brien Associate Professor of Business Administration and Hellman Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School. She teaches an award-winning course in the MBA curriculum called “TALK.” Recently named a Best 40-Under-40 Business School Professor by Poets & Quants, her book TALK: The Science of Conversation and the Art of Being Ourselves will be published by Crown (Penguin Random House) in January 2025.

Her research on the science of conversation has been published in prestigious academic journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Science, as well as in popular media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times, Scientific American, and Harvard Business Review. Professor Brooks holds a Ph.D. in Decision Processes from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Finance from Princeton University.

headshot of behavioral research scientist Alison Wood Brooks
RESEARCH

Examining how people think, feel, and interact

Alison’s research examines the psychology of conversation using experimental and computational methods across a wide range of contexts and populations—from speed dates and sales calls to parole hearings and board meetings.

Research Articles

Research in Progress

Course Materials

behavioral research scientist Alison Wood Brooks writes on a chalkboard

TALK Course: How to talk gooder in business and life

Through conversation exercises and interactive lectures, the TALK Course materials help instructors and students develop fundamental conversational skills.

Media

Check out Alison’s latest press mentions, guest appearances, podcasts, videos, research updates, and more!

Press

This 10-second trick immediately makes...

Articles

Sarcasm, Self-Deprecation, and Inside Jokes:...

Podcasts

New Rules for Work Labs