Lauren C. Howe is an Assistant Professor in Management. Her research focuses on how individuals and organizations can harness fundamentally human attributes – such as emotion, empathy, and social relationships – to improve the world of work as rapid advances in technology and other forces change it.
Lauren C. Howe first joined the University of Zurich as a postdoctoral scholar in 2019. She received her PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford University, where her research focused on social connection and trust in experts.
Short interview with Prof. Dr. Lauren C. Howe
What influenced your career decisions?
I took an Introduction to Social Psychology course during my first semester of college. The professor of that course, Tim Wilson at the University of Virginia, opened my eyes to how behavioral science can be used for the greater good. He ended the course with an unforgettable lecture on the «top 15 practical lessons» from social psychology and described how they could be applied to important problems like climate change as well as when it comes to managing our own lives. This ignited my passion for behavioral science and how it can be used to make the world a better place.
What achievement in your life are you particularly proud of?
One of the biggest privileges of academia is the opportunity to work with scholars who are just starting out and to watch their careers develop. I’m particularly proud to see the research assistants and students with whom I’ve worked go on to get their PhDs, to medical school, and to start their own ventures, and I’m honored to have played a role in their journey.
Where do you get inspiration from for your work?
Early on in my studies, I was blown away when I learned about research illustrating the importance of social relationships – for instance, research showing that having sufficient social relationships is as protective of your health as not smoking. This inspired me to think about the many ways in which human connection matters in our everyday lives and at work. Many of my research projects examine the surprising influence of social relationships in various areas of life – for instance, how feeling rapport with a doctor can change patients’ physical responses to medical treatment, how sensitive people are to signs that another person might be judging them or pressuring them to conform, and how seemingly small social interactions can have a positive impact.
According to your opinion, what will distinguish our Faculty in five years' time?The unique interdisciplinary environment that brings together top minds in economics, business administration, banking and finance, and informatics.
Why would you recommend studying at our Faculty to young women holding their Matura (Swiss university entry qualification)?
There are so many unique opportunities to take ownership over your learning and to make a difference during your studies – whether it’s taking a Digital Entrepreneurship Bootcamp to launch a new business idea, majoring and minoring in different faculties, receiving mentorship from accomplished former students, and more.