Denise Shull

Denise Shull

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In the past 5 years, neuroscience has delivered numerous insights into how important our social environments are. The findings apply most definitely to the influences of family on each of our own perceptions of risk and good judgment. Since the time of Greek philosophers, Western Society has focused on the individual but this is proving to be wholly inadequate in understanding human decision making. In fact, this is so true that at least one neuroscientist is calling for our brain science research to be designed to study no less than two people at one time. This talk outlines the highlights of the latest in building the true and more powerful understanding of human psychology through the understanding of familial and group influences.

Denise Shull, MA, is an expert of human motivation and behavioral finance. As a Neuroeconomist, her ideas on fractal psychologies, emotion analytics and the leverage of what academics call mind-body cognition has been adopted by clients around the world. Shull bridges the gap between Wall St. and academic neuropsychology and connects non-traditional idea’s to the psychology of risk and human performance. She is known for her unconventional ideas and proprietary techniques that leverage human emotions in high-pressure decision making profess

A former commodities trader, she has worked with hundreds of market professionals to improve their performance under pressure. She uses her theory of emotional-social context to turn behavioral finance, neuroeconomics and emotion science into measurable results and competitive advantages.

Shull’s book, Market Mind Games: A Radical New Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk unravels the human mystery of the markets and offers a revolutionary prescription for benefiting from the intuition and emotion typically suppressed in market decisions. She is also a contributing author for the ‘Surprising Realities of Trader Psychology’ chapter in the 2014 Wiley book Investing Behavior: The Psychology of Financial Planning and Investing.

Shull has appeared as a guest on CNBC, PBS Nightly Business Report, Marketwatch, Cavuto, ABC News Now, Fox Money for Breakfast, and the Discovery Channel. She has also been profiled by the Financial Times, Bloomberg Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. The Huffington Post has recently invited Shull to be a contributing blogger.


Economic and Future Trends

A revolution is brewing in the way intentional risks like investing are analyzed. The relatively new field of neuroeconomics is demonstrating for example that predicting other investor’s intentions is more germane to success than mathematical or probabilistic analyses. Emotion is also getting a whole new rap. Instead of being the opposite of reason and logic, human feelings are turning out to be an asset in risk decision making. Literally, it’s time to rethink thinking itself.

That Illusive ‘Je ne Sais Quoi” in Business Success

Why can two people with equal experience, education and dedication produce such radically different results? They appear to have the same skills but one consistently outperforms the other and neither talent nor their network explain it. Do the brains of the super-successful contain a mystery particle that somehow works its magic on clients and colleagues? More importantly, can those who seek it, find it?

Denise Shull answers YES to both. The illusive factor lies in integrating all of the intelligences we possess. It’s the qualitative data rarely analyzed in business school. Cutting- edge perception and judgment research demands that we rethink how to systematically use our senses, feelings and emotions. Furthermore, did you know that science demonstrates how complex decisions are best made NON-deliberately? Learn how to do this and more in an illuminating, engaging address.

Behavioral Finance and Beyond

Behavioral Finance makes it clear that human beings tend to repetitively make crucial thinking mistakes. Examples include how we overweight our recent experience and mistakenly relate completely irrelevant pieces of data like the last four digits of our telephone number when quizzed on the year of an historical event. As Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman notes, no coherent theory exists as to why we make these mistakes. Denise Shull explains what the latest brain science has to say about how these mistakes develop and how they can be unlearned. Audiences come away more aware of the behavioral catalog of common mistakes but more importantly, they gain effective strategies and tactics for avoiding such mistakes in the future.

Audiences learn: Why the “soft” context insidiously colors decisions How to think about systemically analyzing psychological factors How to identify valid intuitions or unconscious pattern recognition – what the human brain is really good at.

Program appropriate for C-Suite, Senior Executives, ‘Rising Star” managers, Athletic and Sports Management and any Wall St. related Audience.

The Real Causes of the 2008 Market Meltdown

It’s fashionable to blame the bankers’ greed for the global financial crisis, but to do so only sets us all up for another crisis. Blaming bankers is at least as old as pre-Christian times and yet financial crises still continue to occur at regular intervals. Could it be that the ideas of greed and even of rationality should be replaced? The economists and their mathematical models can’t accurately portray how we really think. It is time to literally ReThink Thinking itself. Understanding what neuroeconomists know as “Regret Theory” shines a much brighter light on what really happened. Adding in the latest from “embodied cognition” or how we think with our bodies adds the punch line to a much more enlightened view of what really happened. This program will enlighten audiences as to the real psychological and structural causes of the crisis and in turn create a much more sophisticated view of these critical events.

Audiences learn:

  • How complex markets, like those at the core of the crisis, actually work – think Musical Chairs
  • Why accounting rules played a major role in the crisis
  • How “decision-fatigue” contributed
  • The value of analyzing potential regret as a way to more optimal decisions
  • What Wall St. and Washington should be doing to improve risk management.

Program appropriate for any general business audience but particularly applicable outside Wall St. Excellent program for Government and Regulatory audiences.

Fractal Geometry Meets the Human Psyche Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how in nature, simple patterns repeated in specific ways create larger patterns that are similar to the original. These so-called fractal patterns are now showing up in and being applied to how the brain handles thinking and judgment. Denise Shull reveals how these patterns are similar to what Freud originally identified as “the compulsion to repeat” or our unconscious tendency to repeat patterns of behavior and responses in our professional and personal lives. Identifying these mental fractals, which originate in our personal histories, and disengaging them improves decision making in a wide variety of contexts—from management decisions to decisions involving financial risk.

Audiences learn:

  • How our brains lead us unconsciously to make the same mistakes
  • How to make our own patterns explicit
  • Tricks to hire the right star and avert creating the same manager-talent conundrum yet-again
  • Marvels of the human psyche

Program applicable to all levels of Management, Human Resources, Talent Management, Hedge funds, Athletes, Coaches and Owners of sports teams.

Why Sports Teams with more High Fives Win More Games

“Chemistry” is power. From the cutting edge of performance analysis and neuroscience, Denise explains what research is telling us about how our social environments determine our performance. Explaining complex neuroscience in terms that management can actually use, Denise brings a provocative, entertaining and bankable perspective to audiences used to hearing the world’s most desired speakers.

No One Decides in a Vacuum      Risk Reflects One’s Group      Your First Bike Ride & Your Risk Profile


Full Biography

Full Biography

Denise Shull translates the latest brain science into real-world competitive advantages.

Founder of The ReThink Group, a consultancy specializing in advanced risk and behavioral intelligence, Denise teaches hedge funds, bank and independent investment managers the strategies in her 2012 book, MARKET MIND GAMES, A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk. Among its many accolades, Larry Tabb of The Tabb Group described the book as “a must read for those who want to make their livelihood as a professional investor, trader or algorithmic trading developer”.

Shull’s thought leadership explains how to capitalize on the brain’s ability to unconsciously recognize patterns while simultaneously avoiding the thinking mistakes of Behavioral Finance. She is known for discovering that decision makers also bring a fractally-patterned perceptual skew to risk decisions.

Profiled by the WSJ, The Financial Times, Bloomberg Magazine and Risk Professional, she has appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box in the US and Asia, Bloomberg’s Market Makers, PBS and The Discovery Channel. She currently writes for Psychology Today and Business Insider.

A former head trader and member of CME Group, Shull holds a Master’s degree in Neuropsychology from The University of Chicago. Shull also graduated from Harvard’s “Investment Decisions and Behavioral Finance” executive class and recently compiled a chapter for Wiley’s 2014 book Investor Behavior edited by Victor Ricciardi and Kent Baker.

Shull belongs to the Association for Psychological Science and The Society for Neuroeconomics.