Neil Lewis, Jr. is a behavioral scientist who studies the motivational, behavioral, and equity implications of social interventions and policies.
Lewis is an assistant professor of communication and social behavior at Cornell University, and assistant professor of communication research in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. He also co-directs Cornell’s Action Research Collaborative, an institutional hub that brings together researchers, practitioners, community members, and policymakers to collaborate on projects and initiatives to address pressing equity issues in society. Lewis received his B.A. in economics and psychology from Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan.
Lewis’s research examines how people’s social contexts and identities influence how they make sense of the world around them, and the implications of those meaning-making processes for their motivation to pursue a variety of goals in life. He is interested in the consequences of these processes not only for individuals, but also for the communities, organizations, and societies those individuals are embedded in; he is particularly interested in using insights from research findings to improve educational, health, and environmental outcomes for individuals and societies.
Outside of academia, Lewis is a publicly engaged scholar and science communicator. He writes about the application of social and behavioral science research in policy and practice at The Atlantic (and previously at FiveThirtyEight). He also works with policymakers on efforts to put science into practice to address pressing societal issues.
Lewis’s work has been recognized by numerous awards and honors. In academia, he has been awarded: the Early Career Scholar Award from the International Communication Association, the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science, and Cornell’s Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Public Policy. Outside of academia, Thinkers50 and Deloitte identified him as one of the 30 up-and-coming thinkers whose ideas will shape management in the coming years due to his contributions to work motivation and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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