Dr. Leor Zmigrod is a political psychologist and neuroscientist whose research investigates the cognitive and emotional characteristics that make individuals susceptible to ideological extremism. She is passionate about using scientific methodologies to address questions of societal and political concern and is currently writing a public-facing book to communicate her research on the cognitive psychology of ideology. Leor was a Gates Scholar at Cambridge University and her research has been recognized through numerous awards including Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science, the Women of the Future Science Award, the Glushko Prize in Cognitive Science, amongst others. Leor’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, New Scientist, and Financial Times and she frequently advices policymakers on developing evidence-based counter-extremism policies.
I want to map the nature of the ideological brain – its vulnerabilities and trajectories, its intolerances and aversions to evidence, its potential for change. I want this because it is essential to demonstrate the toxic psychological consequences of adhering to rigid ideological dogmas if we wish to facilitate freedom and authenticity for individuals and collectivities. I can do this because my expertise in political neuroscience allows me to trace how ideology collides with biology and how we can help communities move away from extreme narratives.