I help teams combine psychology and design to do cool stuff, like reverse hypertension, increase voter turnout, or eliminate debt. I also coach people to become better at changing behavior through technology, or help them stand up internal teams which do the same. Some of these people are within startups I’ve advised or invested in, and some of them are public sector or large companies.
Most of what you’re interested in is probably in the work section. I don’t do as much consulting as I used to; I’m more focused on the Behavior Institute, investing, and the occasional advisory role.
That said, if you’re doing something especially cool that involves a difficult behavioral problem, you should contact me anyway.
I’m based in Puerto Rico, but you’re also very likely to catch me in New York or San Francisco. Most of the work I do in terms of consulting, advising, and investing is done remotely.
In 2012, Forbes referred to Chris York as “a psychologist with a special job [: …] to find ways to keep users engaged, and ultimately modify their behavior.” The scope of behavioral challenges he’s undertaken are broad, including voter turnout, eliminating hypertension, and maximizing contributions to savings account. Working at the intersection of psychology, technology, and design, Chris helps organizations develop successful approaches to applying behavioral science.
Chris founded Cognitive, an award-winning strategy and design consulting firm that has worked with some of the world’s top startups, leading multinationals, and most renowned universities and medical institutions. The team has helped deliver change for organizations like Illumina, Salesforce, Novartis, VMWare, Healthline, UCSF, Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, multiple US Presidential candidates, and many Y-Combinator startups. Cognitive’s work has been chronicled by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, BBC, MSNBC, and Bloomberg.
In the world of startups, Chris provided behavioral science, product, design leadership for at least 10 startups prior to their acquisitions, including Rise, 100plus, Breakthrough, WellnessFX, TalentShare, and Keas. He is also an active investor and advisor, including Spotify, Palantir, Circle, Lark, and Able Health.
In the non-profit space, Chris founded the Behavior Institute, which aims to aggregate datasets on behavioral interventions from government, academic, and commercial sources and make them easier for practitioners to discover and analyze. The result of this work will better equip policy-makers, business leaders, and others capable of large-scale behavioral influence to do so more successfully. Chris is also an advisor to CommonCents Lab, where Dan Ariely and other world-class behavioral interventionists design and test solutions to increase the financial well-being for low- and moderate-income people living in the United States. CommonCents is funded by the MetLife Foundation, and has collaborated with CreditKarma, Gusto, AARP, CapitalOne, and other leading fin-tech organizations.
Chris studied psychology at Stanford University and worked on research in the lab of Benoit Monin, including experiments published in Psychological Science and Newsweek.
Nice things people have said about me
”Chris York is a psychologist with a special job [...] find ways to keep users engaged, and ultimately modify their behavior.Forbes
”A sharp founder who specializes in behavior change.Mark GFounder, VentureKit; EIR, 500 Startups
”Chris is a multi-talented designer [and] behavioral psych jedi.Chris HCCO, Propeller Health
”Chris is the kind of rare, sharp, innovative and contemporary talent that one reads about in entrepreneurial manifestos.George KCEO, Keas
”I'll shorten the usual superlatives to just "Chris can walk on water" and be done with it.Ilya DCEO, Exit Reality VR