Neil Lewis

Behavioral scientist studying the impact of social interventions and policies.


Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2023. 


Shortlisted for the 2023 Thinkers50 Ideas Into Practice Award.


President’s and Provost’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Service through Diversity, Cornell University, 2022.


Lewis’s research examines how people’s social contexts and identities influence how they make sense of the world around them, and the implications of those meaning-making processes for their motivation to pursue a variety of goals in life. He is interested in the consequences of these processes not only for individuals, but also for the communities, organizations, and societies those individuals are embedded in; he is particularly interested in using insights from research findings to improve educational, health, and environmental outcomes for individuals and societies.


Assistant professor of communication and social behavior at Cornell University, and assistant professor of communication research in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, Lewis also co-directs Cornell’s Action Research Collaborative, an institutional hub that brings together researchers, practitioners, community members, and policymakers to collaborate on projects and initiatives to address pressing equity issues in society. Lewis received his BA in economics and psychology from Cornell University and his MS and PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan.


‘What Happens When American Children Learn About Racism?’ (FivethirtyEight, 17 June 2022); ‘How White Victimhood Fuels Republican Politics’ (with Alex Samuels, FivethirtyEight, 21 March 2022); ‘Democrats Helped Build The Social Safety Net. Why Are Many Now Against Expanding It?’ (with Alex Samuels, FivethirtyEight, 15 February 2022); ‘Why Many Americans Underestimate Who Is Most Concerned About The Environment’ (FivethirtyEight, 18 November 2021); ‘Why Many Americans Can’t See The Wealth Gap Between White And Black America’ (FivethirtyEight, 17 July 2021); ‘COVID-19 Reminded Us Of Just How Unequal America Is’ (FivethirtyEight, 29 March 2021); ‘Why Coming Up With Effective Interventions To Address COVID-19 Is So Hard’ (FivethirtyEight, 14 September 2020).


Media picks


“Making an important contribution to work motivation and DEI.”

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest and greatest ideas in business, management, and thought leadership.

*mandatory field

Thinkers50 will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide news, updates, and marketing. Please confirm that you agree to have us contact you by clicking below:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at . We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Privacy Policy Update

Thinkers50 Limited has updated its Privacy Policy on 28 March 2024 with several amendments and additions to the previous version, to fully incorporate to the text information required by current applicable date protection regulation. Processing of the personal data of Thinkers50’s customers, potential customers and other stakeholders has not been changed essentially, but the texts have been clarified and amended to give more detailed information of the processing activities.

Thinkers50 Awards Gala 2023

Join us in celebration of the best in business and management thinking.