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Tom Guarriello Ph.D.


Clinical Psychology

Organizational Psychology

Psychology of Branding

Future Thinking

Understanding the customer’s lived-experience is the key to developing new products and experiences. I have spent my career studying the ways we experience the world and the meaning of the things we use to create our unique identities. The key to innovation is always to be found in the way customers live.

I began my career as a clinical psychologist, spending 18 years in public and private mental health service delivery systems. I became enthralled with technology in the early 1980s and have spent the last 30 years helping organizations create innovative products and services by bringing the “voice of the customer” into the design process

I hold an undergraduate degree in psychology, and a Masters degree and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. In addition to having helping design teams in a wide variety of industries design products and services, I also helped create the School of Visual Arts Masters in Branding program in New York City, the first degree of its kind in the US. I also write and speak often on the topic of customer experience, design, psychology of technology, and, for the last five years, the psychology of human-robot collaboration.

Areas of expertise:

- Product and service design

- Customer experience design

- Organizational culture

- Human-robot collaboration

- Competency-based employee selection and training 

- Perception and emotion

- Qualitative research methods in design



Tom Guarriello was born in The Bronx at the beginning of the Baby Boom. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in psychology from the University of Dayton and earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Duquesne University.

Tom specializes in helping individuals and organizations develop the creative ideas, innovative methods and customer-focused products needed to succeed in rapidly changing environments.

Tom spent the first 20 years of his career working in the public and private mental health system as both a clinician and executive. Since 1989, he has focused on helping leaders improve their individual and organizational performance by developing a deep understanding of the cultural context, experience, and behavior of their customers. In 1994, he co-founded TrueTalk, Inc., along with his partner, Peggy Kelston. The firm focuses on enhancing organizational creativity by strengthening social systems.

Tom has been fascinated with the social/psychological impact of technology since spearheading his first IT project in 1981. He authored The TrueTalk Blog from 2004 - 2016, and have created hundreds of YouTube video blogs ( In January, 2006 he was invited by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen to be one of five members of the inaugural YouTube Community Council. On November 21, 2006 he became Twitter member #13,512 (twitter@tomguarriello). TrueTalk now helps organizations of all kinds use modern social technology to change the way business is done. He has worked with a wide variety of companies (from Victoria’s Secret to Harvard Business Review) in the apparel retail, publishing, insurance, health care, transportation, and communication industries.


In late 2009, Tom was invited to become a Founding Faculty Member in the newly launched Masters In Branding program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He currently teaches “The Meaning of Branded Objects,” a course in the psychology of branding from an experiential standpoint, and mentor students in Honors and Thesis projects.


In 2014, Tom launched, a website devoted to exploring the psychology of human-robot interaction. Since then, he has published the bi-monthly RoboPsych Newsletter and interviewed scores of industry leaders on the RoboPsych Podcast.


Tom lives in Princeton, New Jersey with Karen, his wife.

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