Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In The Neuroscience of Business: Innovations in Leadership and Strategic Decisions, you will:

  • Discover how neuroscience reveals what consumers really think and pay attention to and what motivates them
  • Learn how neuroscience can enhance talent identification, improve team selection, monitor training, enhance on boarding and cultural fit, enrich marketing and communication strategies, and improve client relationships
  • Improve leadership capabilities by understanding the science of decision-making, including how neural constraints can lead to poor decisions and how to overcome them
  • Apply brain training and cognitive enhancement within your organization to improve productivity, cultural fit, and job satisfaction
  • Gain hands-on experience designing choice sets that shape consumer and investor decisions

Businesses as People: Academic Director Michael Platt on how consumers build empathy with companies

Experience & Impact

This highly interactive and fully immersive program will show you the latest scientific discoveries that can have a direct impact on your organization. Designed to stimulate your thinking, it leverages the expertise of world-class faculty through lectures, discussions, application exercises, and demonstrations of cutting-edge neuroscience technology. Program content will also directly address the new normal of remote work and how to enhance results through more effective communication and motivation leadership strategies.

Together with a select group of participants, you will explore research as it applies to persuasive messaging and advertising, team chemistry, decision making, social influence, innovation and creativity, and more. A high level of engagement is required, and extensive networking with faculty and peers takes place throughout the program and beyond. Expect to apply new insights, brainstorm, and connect through interactions in and out of the virtual classroom. You will leave with a new network of highly experienced peers and faculty experts that you can access well into the future.

In addition to informing and enhancing your own future business practices and strategies, you will also work closely with fellow participants and faculty on a project to develop new ideas for neuroscience applications. The project culminates in a pitch session on the final day that will be critiqued by the group. Past projects have led to continued teamwork on entrepreneurial endeavors.

Session topics include:

  • Building Connections with the Social Brain
  • The Secrets of Team Chemistry
  • Social Media, Persuasive Messaging, and Why Some Ideas Catch On
  • Enhancing Perspective Taking and Reducing Bias and Assumptions
  • Powering Creative Thinking and Innovation
  • Effective Communication Using Neuroscience
  • Boosting Engagement and Memorable Content for the Visual Brain
  • Decision making: How to Get It Right
  • Driving Performance: Neuroscience Secrets for Success
  • The Future of Brain Science in Business

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Listen to Faculty Interview:

Professor Michael Platt talks about The Neuroscience of Business: Innovations in Leadership and Strategic Decisions on Wharton Business Radio, SiriusXM.

Convince Your Supervisor

Here’s a justification letter you can edit and send to your supervisor to help you make the case for attending this Wharton program.

Due to our application review period, applications submitted after 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday for programs beginning the following Monday may not be processed in time to grant admission. Applicants will be contacted by a member of our Client Relations Team to discuss options for future programs and dates.

Who Should Attend

Under the Hood: Professor Michael Platt says this program goes beyond scientific theory to understanding human behavior.

Participants in this program are executives responsible for driving top-line growth, managing portfolios, leading innovation, or creating new business models. Specific industries that will benefit from program content include but are not limited to pharmaceuticals and health care, marketing, manufacturing and consumer products, and financial services.

Potential job titles and roles include:

  • Director, senior director, vice president of large corporations
  • CEO, president, senior vice president, general manager of mid-size enterprises
  • Founders or CEOs of rapidly growing, successful entrepreneurial ventures
  • Government and military professionals
  • Managers in strategy, marketing, and R&D

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

The Neuroscience of Business participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

The Neuroscience of Business participants by job function

Participants by Region

The Neuroscience of Business participants by region

Plan your stay in Philadelphia

Plan Your Stay

This program is held at the Steinberg Conference Center located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Meals and accommodations are included in the program fees. Learn more about planning your stay at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus.

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group-enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.


Michael Platt

Michael Platt, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Director, the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative; James S. Riepe University Professor, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School; Professor of Psychology, Professor of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania

Emily Falk

Emily Falk, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Communication, Associate Professor of Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania; Associate Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth Johnson, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Executive Director & Senior Fellow, Wharton Neuroscience Initiative, The Wharton School


I chose this program because neuroscience — the blend of science and technology — is an interest personally and in terms of professional development. It was a great (and fun!) foundational education into where we are now and where we are headed. The professors covered many complex topics and the challenges that the practice faces. They are obviously excited about neuroscience, looking to learn, and open to sharing new ideas and collaborate with participants.

The biggest takeaway for me came from the venture pitch project. My team comprised of peers from different functional areas and industries. Our diverse backgrounds and perspectives enabled us to successfully develop a new venture pitch based on neuroscience and deliver to the class at the end of the program. We are still in touch and have regularly scheduled calls to continue to brainstorming about our project.

I am now looking for a way to bring this new perspective back to my organization. Neuroscience can help us solve tough challenges like building efficient teams, maximizing individual contribution, and executing on continuous improvement. The studies and practices we learned gave me insights into how to take things forward. Some components leverage advanced technology and may not be feasible in the short-term, but many practices require little resources and are easy to implement quickly.

What I learned about design and communication has been most valuable. It has helped me to better communicate with my executive teams by putting my ideas in a more consumable format and reframing questions to drive optimal resonance from my audience.

We all have a vested interest in new technology; and creating or finding the next “big thing” can be difficult. One way you can counter this uphill climb is to learn how to think differently. This program gives you an outside-in approach to doing just that. It’s not always about executing based on existing best practices, but more about leveraging a new perspective to drive change. This is how you can differentiate yourself as a thought leader, whether you are growing in an organization or leading a team.”

Devin Cohle Global Sales Operations Senior Business Partner, SAP


What part of the brain is responsible for decision making?

When we are confronted with a choice, the cerebral cortex first decodes the perceptual properties of the options available. By comparing current options with our memories, as well as our current internal state, our brains assign value to the options, which are represented in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum. The options with the highest value are then typically selected for choice by the prefrontal cortex. To aid these processes, the parietal cortex uses prior experience to focus attention on the most relevant and valuable options. All of this takes place across distributed networks connecting sensory input to motor output. Consequently, disorders involving different parts of the brain can produce distinct kinds of impairments in decision making, from impulsivity to problem gambling and other forms of addiction.

What is the reward center of the brain called?

There isn’t one reward center of the brain. Instead, there is a network of reward areas. One of these, the ventral tegmental area, is a part of the midbrain that produces dopamine, an important neurotransmitter needed to predict rewards and learn how to acquire them. Dopamine is transmitted to many different areas of the brain — in particular, the prefrontal cortex and striatum — to motivate behavior, guide learning, and make decisions. Remarkably, most parts of the brain are sensitive to reward, so processes from perception, attention, and memory to emotion can be focused on making decisions that acquire rewards and avoid punishments.

Which part of the brain is responsible for motivation?

The mesolimbic pathway, originating in the ventral tegmental area of the brain, is key to motivation. This pathway uses the neurotransmitter dopamine to motivate goal-directed behavior. Motivation is different from pleasure and also different from reward. Motivation is the internal drive to achieve a goal or obtain a reward. Dopamine increases during anticipation and provides the drive to obtain a desired goal. There is another part of the frontal lobe, the anterior cingulate cortex, that drives the extreme motivation necessary to do the difficult or impossible — like climb a mountain or run a marathon.

What does neuroscience have to do with leadership development and business management?

Neuroscience has a lot of relevance for leading and managing companies and teams. Neuroscience can help inform how we work best with others, build effective teams, and overcome bias, just to name a few leadership traits. The social brain network is specialized for managing our connections with others, and activation in this network underlies attention to others, empathy, and cooperation.

Neuroscience also provides an alternative way of looking at traditional leadership hierarchy within business settings. In fact, high status within a social hierarchy is associated with less activity in the social brain network, impairing the development of good working relationships. Using these kinds of observations, neuroscience can help inform the mechanisms that lead to better business decision making and optimized business practices that improve productivity, reduce stress, and lower employee turnover.

Why do business leaders need to know about neuroscience?

All human behaviors — from what consumers choose to buy, to how they invest, to how they respond to advertising, to how they relate to team members or clients — arise from how their brains work. And we now know that people are not very good at reporting their brain states. Today business leaders can measure those brain states directly. Neuroscience gives business leaders the objective, scientific tools they need to understand both consumers and employees and use that information to make better business decisions.

Why is neuroscience relevant to business leaders today?

Today's dynamic, hyper-connected, global business world makes every decision count more than ever. Neuroscience provides a science-based toolkit that can help business leaders make better decisions. Today we are at an inflection point where neuroscience and neurotechnology provide a scalable, objective way to improve all aspects of business decisions, from marketing, to human resources, to innovation, to finance, to entrepreneurship.

Which companies are leading the charge on neuroscience?

Marketing is the most mature area of business being disrupted by neuroscience and the clear leader in this space is Nielsen. All the major tech companies, like Facebook and Google, are now using neuroscience to understand people with ever greater precision. Wealth management companies like Vanguard are beginning to apply neuroscience to develop better models of investors. And there are multiple companies, like CTRL-labs, Halo, Muse, and Neuralink, that stand poised to bring brain-computer interface technology into everyday use.

Which industries are being disrupted by neuroscience?

We are at the dawn of a revolution in which many if not most industries will be disrupted by neuroscience. As our understanding of the relationships between brain states and decision making and human performance become more precise, this will change the way employees are selected, on-boarded, and trained; shift work is scheduled and monitored; and investment decisions are personalized for individuals. We believe human resources will be the next big area of disruption for neuroscience.

How does neuroscience impact decision making?

Brain physiology limits the number of items we can usefully consider, so decision making seems likely to depend on individual biology. People also differ in how sensitive they are to negative outcomes, uncertainty, risk, and volatility, and these individual sensitivities strongly shape the way they make decisions. In large measure, these limitations are both strongly rooted in each person's individual biology and can be measured using neuroscience techniques. These facts mean business leaders can use neuroscience to help them make more precise business decisions.

Date, Location, & Fees

If you are unable to access the application form, please email Client Relations at

December 9 – 13, 2024Philadelphia, PA$12,250

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Better Communication through NeuroscienceBetter Communication through NeuroscienceRead the Nano Tool from Wharton@Work

The Leader’s BrainBOOK EXCERPTRead the introduction to Professor Michael Platt’s new book, The Leader’s Brain: Enhance Your Leadership, Build Stronger Teams, Make Better Decisions, and Inspire Greater Innovation with Neuroscience.Download PDF

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