Robert J. Neal


Staff Software Engineer at Credit Karma
Board Member at Qualia
Graduate Student in Epistemology, Ethics & Mind at University of Edinburgh

I currently have three important pieces of work that I'm focusing on not including research projects and speaking engagements. I'm continually interested in new projects and opportunities.

One thing keeping me busy is my work as a staff software engineer at Credit Karma where I'm working on developing an experimentation platform that supports large numbers of experiments running concurrently while preserving methodological rigor. There are a lot of interesting problems involved in the design of the system. See Google's white paper for some background. Some of the more interesting questions are around frequentist vs Bayesian approaches, when there is enough information to make an optimization decision, and how to balance an n-armed bandit approach with risk aversion.

In addition to this I work with Qualia on behavioral science design problems. These tend to be user experience and service design problems where the organization is interested in evoking particular attitudes and behavior in their customers. I focus on research, experimentation and applied cognitive science. Much of my work had been in applied dual system theory and gamification for political campaigns, non-profits and service experience projects.

Finally I'm also working through a graduate program at the University of Edinburgh where I've so far focused on philosophy of cognitive science and experimental philosophy methodology.


BA Philosophy Arizona State University

Research Interests

Applied Cognitive Science (including Behavioral Economics and especially for Service Experience Design)
Experiment Methodology
Value Theory (especially aesthetics)
Practical Rationality
Epistemic Rationality
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Philosophy of Mind

Works in Progress

Attribute Substitution and UI Design


Redesigning Uber's Surge Pricing: A Behavioural Economics Approach to Service Design (Touchpoint Vol. 7 No. 3) (2016)

Guest Blog Posts

Grading the Choice Architecture of Presidential Candidates' Donor Pages (Pt. 1) with Sam McNerney on Richard Thaler's Misbehaving Blog (2015)

Grading the Choice Architecture of Presidential Candidates' Donor Pages (Pt. 2) with Sam McNerney on Richard Thaler's Misbehaving Blog (2015)



(Upcoming October 27th/28th in Amsterdam)
Why Our Customers' Brains Fail and How to Design For It at Service Design Global Conference


Applied Behavioral Economics for IA & UX at IA Summit
Applied Behavioral Economics for Startups at Phoenix Startup Week


Applied Cognitive Science Framework for Interaction Design at IxDA Phoenix
How Our Brains Fail Us (And How To Design For It) at Phoenix Design Week - Content Strategy


Gamification at IxDA Phoenix


Designing for Persuasion at PechaKucha Tampa Bay


UX Design And The Mind (UX Design + Persuasion) at Phoenix Design Week


Introduction to SQL Server Service Broker for Distributed Messaging at Desert Code Camp


2013 Facebook Studio Nominee
Project: Congressman Ed Pastor 2012 Re-election Campaign
Team: Qualia
Role: Gamification and Behavior Change Strategist

AMA 2010 Spectrum Award
Silver Summit International Award
Project: Red Bull Stratos
Team: Terralever
Role: Information Architect/UX Designer

2009 Bronze Addy
Mi6 Silver (Outstanding Overall Marketing Campaign)
Mi6 Bronze (Most Effective Viral Marketing/Promotion)
Project: Ubisoft Just Dance for Wii
Team: Nomadic
Role: User Experience Designer