Ian Robertson

Ian Robertson

Clinical Psychologist, Neuroscientist, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, Co-Director Global Brain Health Institute

Applying the latest research to real-world problems


As a highly accomplished clinical psychologist and neuroscientist, few areas of human behaviour are beyond the understanding or scrutiny of renowned professor and speaker, Ian Robertson.

This remarkable agility means that he can offer fascinating insights into almost any subject, from the positives of stress to the power of confidence and from ‘Impostor Syndrome’ to the neuroscience of leadership. But it’s his experience, empathy and knowledge, combined with humour and his  infectious curiosity, that make him such a compelling and entertaining speaker. Audiences leave fizzing with energy and ideas, keen to apply new learning to their lives.

Tuning the ‘mind-brain’

As someone who straddles the boundary between clinical psychology practice and cognitive neuroscience theory, Ian has helped develop a new understanding of how we can “tune” our mind-brains to improve performance and cope positively with life’s challenges. Calling upon the latest research, he enlightens us as to why human beings do what they do—why we feel, think and act in particular ways. To audiences, this knowledge is fascinating but also invaluable, as their understanding evolves and they use it to perform better, or simply to be better.   

As Ian reminds us in his work, the brain is a remarkable organ whose many complex functions help determine what we do each day and how and why we do it. And while we used to imagine that we were pretty much ‘hard-wired’ to behave in certain ways, research has shown that we can ‘re-programme’ our brains and develop new, healthier behaviours. This optimistic message is at the heart of Ian’s work as a speaker who is now in high demand the world over.

Professional Background

Ian Robertson is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin and Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute. He is also the T Boone Pickens Distinguished Scientist at the Center for BrainHealth at University of Texas at Dallas and is a Member of Academia Europaea. A trained clinical psychologist as well as a neuroscientist, he is widely known internationally for his research on cognitive neuroscience and psychology, with over 400 highly cited scientific papers. His popular science writing has included five books aimed at the general reader: Mind Sculpture (2000), The Mind’s Eye (2003), Stay Sharp (2005), The Winner Effect (2012) and The Stress Test (2016), all of which have been widely translated. His latest book How Confidence Works is published by Penguin/Transworld.



You may want to go deeper into a topic for your audience. The keynote topics can be tailored and developed to suit your audience needs, be it a 90-minute Masterclass, a half-day or full-day workshop or a full online or face-to-face programme. Please contact one of our expert team to discuss.

Below are some examples of talks Ian has given, but the scope of his research means he is happy to talk about any aspect of human behaviour that you want to learn about and which might help you or your team to perform better.  

The Science of Confidence

Discover the new science of self-belief, why some people learn how to grow their confidence while others don’t, and what you can do to tap into yours.

Why do some people struggle to rise above their inner critical voice, while others seem to exude waves of confidence no matter the circumstances? How essential is confidence, really, when it comes to boosting health, wealth, motivation and innovation?

In this fascinating session with leading neuroscientist and clinical psychologist Professor Ian Robertson, you will discover the science behind self-belief, and how you can apply it to your own life.

Through seminar as well as participative exercises, you will learn about the incredible effects of confidence on the brain and on the rest of the body, as it waxes and wanes – as well as how confidence differs from optimism or self-esteem. Crucially, you will be guided through exactly why – and how – confidence can be learned, and how to train your complex network of mental processes to reinforce your own.

Designed for anyone  interested in tapping into the fascinating neuroscience of confidence, this masterclass will leave you with a new catalogue of science-backed information, and a suite of skills that you can layer into your every day, immediately. Leave informed, intrigued, and ready to invigorate your life.

Confidence: Lose it or Learn It

Confidence can empower you to reach heights you never thought possible. Equally, a lack of it can have a devastating effect on your future. Probing the latest science and neuroscience behind confidence, in this 90-minute masterclass, Ian tells you how confidence plays out in our minds, our brains and indeed our bodies. And shows you how you can learn it.

Ian explains where confidence comes from and how it spreads, with extraordinary economic and political consequences. And why it’s not necessarily something you are born with, but something that can be learned.

What you can expect to learn:

  • Confidence makes you physically stronger, emotionally more resilient, socially more persuasive and career-wise more successful.
  • Confidence is a set of habits of thought, action, emotion and attention that you can learn.  This workshop will show you how to do that.
  • Confidence depends on relationships with other people in your family, workplace and social life.  In this workshop, Ian explains how to build your confidence while navigating these relationships, particularly important when it comes to how the sexes interact.

Other topics include:

The Impostor Syndrome in Women: It’s holding you back

Stress:  Managing it can make you Sharper


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