Matt Johnson

Neuroscientist specializing in the application of psychology to branding.


Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2023. 


Branding That Means Business listed book of the month by Habit Weekly, December 2022.


The highest academically achieving graduate of Warren College, UC San Diego, 2008.


Johnson explores the science behind brand loyalty, experiential marketing, and consumer decision making and is passionate about helping brands use neuroscience to better understand, serve, and interact with their consumers. His research crosses several fields including behavioral economics, consumer neuroscience, and experiential marketing. Specific projects include the influence of empathy on consumer decision-making and the ethics of unconscious influence. Johnson’s  2020 book, Blindsight, uncovers the surprising science that drives consumer experiences and influences decision-making and his 2022 book, Branding That Means Business, combines the latest business thinking with psychology, sociology, and anthropology to show that a brand can’t serve a business unless it connects with people.


Professor of psychology and marketing at Hult International Business School, and an instructor at Harvard University’s Division of Continuing Education, Johnson also consults with a wide array of organizations, including as an expert-in-residence for Nike. He is a regular contributor to major news outlets including Psychology Today, Forbes, and the BBC. Johnson received his PhD in cognitive psychology from Princeton University.


Blindsight: The (mostly) hidden ways marketing reshapes our brains (with Prince Ghuman, BenBella, 2020); Branding That Means Business (with Tessa Misiaszek, Economist Books, 2022).


Media picks


“Bridging the gap between science and business.”

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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