Sam Gosling, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been widely covered in the media, including The New York Times, Psychology Today, NPR, and "Good Morning America," and his research is featured in Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink." Gosling is the recipient of the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution. His first book, Snoop, was a New Scientist Editor's Pick for top books of 2008. His most recent research has focused on how animal psychology can inform theories of human personality and social psychology.
Question: Who are your heroes?
Sam Gosling: I—the heroes I like are the people who acknowledge the world as a complex place. There is so much incentive to think things are simple. So you know, one of the first people who I really noticed who was able to do that was the former Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Annan. And he was really impressive to me; people—you know, because people would say, how are you going to—you know, you're going to go into this country and negotiate; how are you going to fix it? You know, and where the typical politician would have said, yes, well, it's very simple; we're going to do this. And he would respond and say, well, I don't know how I'm going to do it; it's going to be tough; I'm going to try, and maybe I'll fail, and maybe I'll succeed. We'll see. And it was so refreshing to see somebody who realized—who's able to be successful and not be frightened by the complexity of the world; embrace it and work with it.
Recorded on November 6, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen