Smithfield’s JonRobert Tartaglione Has Become Top ‘Influence Strategist’

By Paul Lonardo

JonRobert Tartaglione, referred to as ‘Tat’ by all those close to him, knows people – quite literally. Trained as a psychologist and behavioral scientist, Tat serves as an advisor and strategist for some of the nation’s most powerful companies to help them better understand how people think, choose, and behave. More specifically, he helps his clients leverage insights from domains such as social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral economics to design more successful influence strategies.

Tartaglione was born and raised in Smithfield, graduating from Gallagher Middle School and Smithfield High School before going off to college. He received his undergraduate degree from American University in Washington, D.C. before earning his first Master’s degree in Social Cognition at University College London, and a second Master’s from the University of Chicago, where he studied Political Psychology and Behavioral Economics.

With such an impressive educational background and academic success everywhere he went, you would think that Tartaglione knew exactly what direction he wanted to take in his career once he got out of school. However, having so many interests, it was not as easy as all that.

“When I graduated from college with my undergrad degree, I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Tartaglione says.

Human behavior and cognition was something that always fascinated Tartaglione. He wanted to better understand why people make the choices they do, why they hold the opinions they do, and act and behave in the way that they do.

“I suddenly found the motivation to want to learn,” Tartaglione says, “and that’s when I started reading. I became a voracious reader, consuming any book I could find on psychology and neuroscience.”

With both his Master’s degrees being in some form of psychology, Tartaglione looked for ways to apply what he learned, and he figured out that there were a lot of different opportunities, in a variety of different organizations, where he could apply psychology to help these different organizations to be more successful.

Tartaglione says, “I discovered that I had a passion for teaching people how to use these different psychological techniques, tactics and behavioral science methods in order to improve their business in a variety of different ways.”

Organizations will typically contact Tartaglione, and what he does for them depends on the type of organization.

“I teach restaurants, for example, how to structure their menus to influence customer choice,” Tartaglione says. “I teach them how they should layout their menus, change the colors and the fonts in order to maximize the chances that their customers choose certain dishes. I work with trial lawyers to help them understand how jurors make decisions, and what attorneys can do to better position their arguments to win the jury over.”

One arena has really opened up for Tartaglione in recent years has been politics. He works with political campaigns, teaching them about message framing and how to structure their message in order to gain the greatest possible following. He also talks about things like voter turn-out strategy, how to get people to actually come out and vote.

“Whether it’s political behavior or consumer behavior,” Tartaglione says, “whatever it may be, I’ll come in and give a briefing on what the literature says and what they can do to maximize their chances of achieving whatever objective they’re going for.”

Tartaglione refers to himself as an ‘influence strategist,’ so basically any organization that is looking to influence attitudes, decisions or behaviors of clients, or employees, or any group really, he can come in and show them how to optimize their chances of getting that done.

Tartaglione is only 29-years old, but he is well sought-after due to his experience and growing expertise in so many fields. He is based in Chicago now, but travels around the country extensively, and in May he will be coming back to Rhode Island as part of the 2019 SMPC Northeast Regional Conference, hosted at the Marriott in Providence, May 1-3.

“That conference is for marketing professionals,” Tartaglione says. “It’s a gathering of the region’s top A/E/C marketing, business development, and firm leaders so that they may learn from experts about the latest trends and best practices to maximize the success of their organizations. And I will be speaking about how they can use psychology and behavioral sciences to more effectively market to people.”

Tartaglione will be speaking during the closing keynote on May 3rd at 1:00 PM.

For more information on Tat and how he partners with organizations visit He also co-authored a book, “Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing us Apart.”Smithfield’s JonRobert Tartaglione Has Become Top ‘Influence Strategist’