Texas Tech University

Eric Walden

Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute

Data Science Programs

James C. Wetherbe Professor
Area of Information Systems and Quantitative Sciences
Rawls College of Business

What are your research objectives and interests?

I am a Renaissance man. I am interested in researching everything. Currently, most of my effort is dedicated toward neuroscience. Specifically, I am trying to understand two things. The first is how the brain stops searching for information. Anytime you make a decision you start by gathering information. At some point, you stop gathering information and actually make a decision. How do you know it is time to stop? No one knows. I am trying to figure it out. The second is how the brain processes and understands graphs. Though graphs are a very important means of communicating scientific and business data, virtually nothing is known about how the brain processes them.

How do you feel your research impacts the globe?

Consider the graph research. Perhaps the most important and controversial graph in history is Mann, Bradley & Hughes' 1999 hockey stick graph, shown below, depicting global warming. Basically the entire argument over global warming comes down to what this graph means. All over the globe decisions are being made based on graphs. If I can help to determine how human brains understand graphs, I can help humans make better decisions about everything from climate change to stock investments, to sales prediction.

example of line and dot chart

eric waldenWhat types of service projects have you been involved with?

I had the opportunity to teach several summer courses for Texas Tech's IDEAL (Institute for the Development and Enrichment of Advanced Learners) program. This allowed high school students to come to campus and learn about a variety of college topics (business from me).

What are you currently working on?

I collaborate with a variety of people on a variety of projects. However, the main thing that I am motivating at the moment is an exploration of how human brains make sense of graphical representations.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration in two main places. The first is my family. As you may imagine, one topic of family conversation is my research. My family often says, "you know what would be really interesting to study..." The second source is magazines. I have many magazine subscriptions and each is full of short articles about many different subjects. Some of those subjects seem incomplete or lacking an important detail. Those often become my research. 

What advice do you have for new faculty members about balancing the components of Integrated Scholarship—teaching, research, and service—in their careers?

Always strive to be a good teacher. You owe it to the students and it is not that much additional effort if you just put out a bit of effort to continually improve. Thoughtful effort at improvement is cumulative.

Get into an organization that supports and respects research. It is hard to accomplish anything if the organization does not support you. Keep in mind that you are working not for Texas Tech, but for the market for professors. Try to be competitive in the market.

Serve when you can. Service is a great chance to meet people you can work with in the future. Always keep in mind that your service is an audition for other work. You don't want to work with the guy on the textbook committee who is a big jerk. Why would others feel different about you?

Try not to say no. I realize that you can get overloaded, and sometimes you have to protect your time. However, every no makes people think a little less of you, and it closes a door. Sometimes, that matters a lot.

More about Eric Walden

Eric is the director of the Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute and the director of Data Science programs at Texas Tech's Rawls College of Business. His research spans boundaries from neuroscience to intellectual property law. His work has appeared in journals as diverse as the Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Real Estate Research and Management Information Systems Quarterly.

Professional Preparation

  • New Mexico State University, Economics B.A., 1993
  • Louisiana State University, Economics M.S., 1997
  • University of Minnesota, Information and Decision Sciences PhD, 2002


  • Since 2016 Full Professor and Director of the Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute
  • Since 2014 Director of Data Science Programs
  • Since 2009 James C. Wetherbe Professor
  • 2013-2014 Visiting Professor, Saïd Business School, Oxford University
  • 2009-2015 Associate Professor, Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration, Texas Tech University
  • 2008-2009 Associate Professor, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University
  • 2002-2008 Assistant Professor, Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration, Texas Tech University

Five related papers

  • Gibson, Scott, Seiler, Michael J., and Eric Walden, "Using Experimental and Neurological Data to Gain a Deeper Understanding of Realization Utility Theory," Real Estate Economics, doi:10.1111/1540-6229.12164. (2016)
  • Merrill Warkentin, Eric Walden, Allen C. Johnston, Detmar William Straub, "Neural Correlates of Protection Motivation for Secure IT Behaviors: An fMRI Exploration", Journal of the AIS, 17(3), pp 194-215, (2016).
  • Seiler, Michael J., and Eric Walden, "Using Neurological Evidence to Differentiate between Informational and Social Herding among Strategic Mortgage Defaulters," Journal of Real Estate Research, 38(3) pp. 453-471 (2016).
  • Michael Seiler, Mark Lane and Eric Walden, "Strategic Mortgage Default and the Decision to Follow the Herd: A Neurological Explanation" The Journal of Real Estate Research, 36 (3), 341-362 (2014).
  • Michael Seiler and Eric Walden, "A Neurological Explanation of Strategic Mortgage Default" Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 1-16 (2014).

Five other significant papers

  • Aggarwal, Nitin, Dai, Qizhi, and Walden, Eric A., " The More, the Merrier? How the Number of Partners in a Standard-Setting Initiative Affects Shareholders' Risk and Return," MIS Quarterly, 35(2): 445-462 (2011).
  • Walden, Eric A and Browne, Glenn J.," Sequential Adoption Theory: A Theory For Understanding Herding Behavior in Early Adoption of Novel Technologies" Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Vol. 10, No. 1, January 2009, pp. 31-62.
  • Walden, Eric A., "Intellectual Property Rights and Cannibalization In Information Technology Outsourcing Contracts", MIS Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 4, December 2005, pp. 699-720.
  • Walden, Eric A., and Wetherbe, Jim C. "Give a Little, Get a Little," Harvard Business Review, Vol. 83, No. 9, September 2005, pp. 30-32.
  • Subramani, Mani, and Walden, Eric A., "The Impact of E-Commerce Announcements on the Market Value of Firms," Information Systems Research, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2001, pp. 135-154.