The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Your Brain is Plastic: A Live Q&A With Neuroscientist David Eagleman

On August 26th, world-renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman will join The Lavin Agency for a stimulating Q&A session discussing his latest book Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain.  

How can a child function with only one half of his brain? What does drug withdrawal have to do with a broken heart? And can a blind person really learn how to see using his tongue? The answer to those questions—and many more—lie in David Eagleman’s hotly anticipated book Livewired. Combining decades of research on brain plasticity with new scientific discoveries coming from his own lab, Eagleman shatters the text-book model of the brain we’ve all been taught to reveal a system that is dynamic, interwoven, and most importantly, self-modifying.


As one of the world’s best scientific translators, Eagleman masterfully takes readers and audiences alike through the leading edge of neuroscience—and best of all—applies his insights to our own lives. Join us on Wednesday, August 26th from 1pm—2pm EST (10am—11am PST) to learn more! You’ll never think about your brain the same way again.


Register for this one-time session HERE and you’ll immediately be entered to win a copy of the book!


To book speaker David Eagleman for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.

New Speakers Heather Berlin and Nita Farahany Explore Neuroscience—and What It Means for Business.

How can business leaders better understand cognitive processes, thereby enhancing productivity, creativity, and performance? Introducing Lavin’s two newest neuroscience speakers, DR. HEATHER BERLIN and  NITA FARAHANY, whose science backgrounds—and unique takes on the brain—offer incredible new ways of thinking about workplace practices. Both of these exciting new speakers push the envelope as they talk about the brain, cognitive plasticity, and the intersection of tech and business. 

Heather Berlin |  The Human Brain and Its Future: What We Know and What We Don’t

Your brain perceives and decides on your behalf before you’ve even batted an eyelash says Heather Berlin. But that doesn’t mean you can’t own your choices with a little mindfulness and discipline. A cognitive neuroscientist and host of StarTalk All-Stars with Neil DeGrasse Tyson,  shows that by understanding the inner workings of our brains—what they’re good (and bad) at—we can discover solutions to some of our most common professional, creative, and social challenges, making us more productive, innovative, and in-control. As she demonstrates in her highly entertaining science talks, you are your brain, but you also have the power to shape it—and yourself.

Heather Berlin: Cognitive Science of the Unconscious Mind


Nita Farahany | Technology That Reads Minds: Motivation, Not Regulation in the Workplace


When the World Economic Forum, the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Congress need to know the risks of cognitive enhancement and biometrics, they look to Nita Farahany, leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies. The Founding Director of Duke Science & Society, Chair of the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, and principal investigator of SLAPLAB, Farahany’s talks explore how these technological advances are scary, and amazing: she helps companies to get ahead of these issues, maximizing social benefits—while minimizing social harm. As tech converges with our bodies, we must embrace it responsibly and ethically, and Farahany’s fascinating, timely talks will show you how.


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To book Heather Berlin, Nita Farahany, or another one of our Neurscience Speakers, contact The Lavin Agency today. 

Obama’s Brain Activity Map Is a Good Investment: David Eagleman, NYT Op-Ed

In a New York Times Op-Ed, neuroscience speaker David Eagleman says that when it comes to what we know about our brains, we've barely scratched the surface. That's why he believes that President Obama's plan to pour a cool $3 billion into neuroscience research will be a valuable investment. The initiative, known as the Brain Activity Map (BAM) project, will bring together the brightest neuroscientists today to better understand the activity in our brains. The implications for what we can find out are boundless, and, as Eagleman says: “brain health, drug rehabilitation, computer intelligence, adaptive devices—these economic drivers would lavishly pay back any investment in brain research.”

Despite the fact that we have greatly improved our ability to diagnose problems with the physical health of our brains, we have yet to fully understand how to rectify these problems. A better understanding of the way our brains operate can help us treat diseases of the mind more effectively. Addressing brain health can also improve societal conditions. For example, he notes that “a deeper understanding of mental illness will improve early detection, resources and rehabilitation, potentially helping us find a way to stop using our prisons as a de facto mental health care system.” Even further, unlocking the nuances of a drug addict's brain activity can help us combat the “demand” part of the war on drugs equation (when we've typically focused mainly on “supply”).

Finally, this initiative can usher in a new era in technological advancement and bio-inspired machinery. The quest to create artificial intelligence has been met with limited success to date, but Eagleman suggests that the “most promising hope” for achieving that goal is by “figuring out how natural intelligence works.” If we can understand the complexities of the human mind, and how it does the amazing things it does, we can possibly create devices that are self-configuring. When damaged, your brain can “rewire itself to take over responsibility for the parts that are missing” and it is “the only functioning example of such futuristic machinery on our planet,” Eagleman writes. He then asks us to “imagine a future in which we capitalize on the principles of neural reconfiguration, producing devices—from smartphones to cars to space stations—that flexibly adapt rather than bust.” These are questions that Eagleman tackles in his books, such as Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, and keynotes. As a bestselling author and a popular speaker, he presents us with fascinating research on the most complex machine we know—our brains.

David Eagleman: Why Our Legal System Needs Neuroscience

In an article in today’s Daily Telegraph, David Eagleman — acclaimed neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain — tackled the issue of neuroscience and its role in the legal system. The central issue lies with the assumption that all people are “practical reasoners” (meaning they will act in their best interests and are capable of rational foresight), and that anyone who is of legal age and has an IQ of above 70 has the same capacity for impulse controlling, rationality and decision making as any other individual who meets these standards. Why are these assumptions problematic? Because, as Eagleman points out, they are not true:


Along any axis that we measure, brains are different – whether in aggression, intelligence, empathy and so on. Brains are more like fingerprints: we all have them, but they are not exactly alike. As Lord Bingham, the senior law lord, put it, these myths embedded in the legal system do not provide a “uniformly accurate guide to human behaviour”.

The legal system needs an infusion of neuroscience. It needs to turn away from an ancient notion of how people should behave to understand better how they do behave.

Instead of treating incarceration as a “one-size-fits-all” solution to violators of social norms, Eagleman proposes that we try and sentence offenders based on a variety of different conditions. Specialty mental health courts and facilities for the mentally ill, studying the neurological demand for drugs instead of spending millions fighting the supply, and engaging prisoners in brain-based rehabilitation programs — all of these ideas focus on the reality of human behavior, instead of the societal expectations of it. Just as DNA evidence has revolutionized the legal process, Eagleman believes that incorporating the recent breakthroughs in neuroscience can help make our legal system more efficient, more humane, and more fair.

Read more about neuroscience speaker David Eagleman.


Neuroscientist David Eagleman: What Motivates People to Care About a Brand?

Neuroscientist David Eagleman, whose unique brand of “guerilla science” was recently featured on NOVA, just delivered his new keynote on consumer research — specifically, what does traditional consumer research get wrong? And why is brand loyalty even more important than we assume?

Emotion, Motivation, and Reputation: What Matters to the Mind of the Consumer

What motivates people to care about a brand?  Why do people show loyalty to corporations?  What is the role of emotion in decision-making? Brain scientist David Eagleman marshals surprising new data from social neuroscience to show that people use the same brain circuitry to relate to brands as they do to one another. This suggests strong motivation for companies to work on reputation, loyalty and trust – subconscious issues which powerfully navigate customer decisions, but are missed by traditional methods of market research. Traditional research fails for two reasons: (1) it usually probes the conscious mind of the customer, which is not, in the end, what drives actual purchasing decisions, and (2) it is geared to measure the immediate influence of branding changes, while investments in social reputation pay off on a slower time scale. In this talk, Dr. Eagleman translates cutting-edge neuroscience into everyday examples to illuminate customer motivations, emotions, and decision-making from new angles.

Photo above is by kk+ from Flickr, CC

Read more about neuroscience speaker David Eagleman

Steven Pinker Answers Questions About IBM’s Jeopardy-Winning Supercomputer

As IBM’s Watson outsmarts its human competitors on Jeopardy this week, Steven Pinker, the Harvard psychologist, weighs in on what the computer’s victory could mean for humanity. Asked by The New Yorker whether Watson is a scientific breakthrough or merely a parlor trick—an elaborate billion-dollar parlor trick!—Pinker said that Watson may provide insight into human cognition. But, he adds: “[W]hen a system is designed to meet a highly specific challenge like playing Jeopardy, and one where the reputations of the designers are on the line, there will be enormous pressure to tailor the system to succeeding at that challenge by any means whatsoever, including kludges that are specific to the rather peculiar requirements of the game of Jeopardy.”

Watson’s win has brought Artificial Intelligence back into the spotlight, and Steven Pinker takes the opportunity to talk about the golden age of A.I., meaning the 1960s and ’70s. What’s different about A.I. today is a matter of transparency. During the golden age, ideas flowed freely among researchers at various companies. Since then, due to tougher competition, companies have been less likely to share their ideas in the public domain, choosing instead to work on applied projects in-house. So, Pinker says, unless IBM breaks from this closed culture and reveals what went into Watson’s construction, “we won’t be able to know how much of the program’s success to attribute to humanlike or superhuman intelligence, and how much to Jeopardy-specific hacks.”

Photo above courtesy of Rebecca Goldstein.

Read more about neuroscience speaker Steven Pinker