Professor shares risk research with crowd at Harvard

By Dale Johnson Posted: March 3, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Sandeep Mishra specializes in research into risk-taking.
Dr. Sandeep Mishra specializes in research into risk-taking. Photo: U of R Photography

Dr. Sandeep Mishra is back home at the University of Regina, after being a guest speaker at two prestigious international events.

Mishra is an assistant professor specializing in organizational behaviour at the Paul J. Hill School of Business and an associate member in the department of psychology.  

He spoke recently to two groups at Harvard University. In the first event, about 100 people attended one of his presentations as part of the Social Psychology Brownbag Seminar Series.

"I spoke broadly about my research program linking decision-making, risk-taking, inequality and health. About 100 people showed up and the feedback was extremely positive. People seemed quite interested in the research," says Mishra.

He also spoke to a smaller evolutionary psychology group at Harvard about the specific links between inequality and its damaging effects, such as how poorer physical and mental health can contribute to increased risk-taking.

Just before he spoke at Harvard, Mishra was one of 20 academics from around the world invited to participate in the Bernoulli Symposium on Risk at the University of Basel in Switzerland.

SM in Switzerland

 Dr. Mishra (front, right) with other international researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Photo courtesy Dr. Rui Mata, University of Basel

"The group was selected based on us all having research programs addressing individual differences in risk-taking. The group was highly interdisciplinary, consisting of developmental psychologists, cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, and economists. I was there as the sole evolutionary psychologist. My topic and message there was focused on sharing our recent theoretical work (something we call the ‘relative state model’) as well as presenting on theory in decision-making more generally. The experience was phenomenal and the discussion was extremely rich, given that all of us are focused on understanding individual differences in risk from various perspectives."

Mishra says now he can share his experiences with students and researchers at the University of Regina.

"The feedback I received on my specific research program will be especially valuable to myself and to my graduate students. I think the most important thing to share with my colleagues is a sense of perspective. We are quite fortunate to work at the University of Regina, and our work experiences here compare very favorably in a lot of ways to Harvard – which by many measures is the 'best' university in the world."

Mishra believes that being able to speak at such international events such as these is good for the researcher, students and the U of R.

“Any time researchers from U of R can speak about their research in international events, it raises their own profile, as well as the profile of the university. Given the increasing focus on internationalization here at the U of R – as highlighted in our new strategic plan – I think that international connections are more important than ever.”