Daniel Gilbert is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. His research with Tim Wilson on "affective forecasting" investigates how and how well people can make predictions about the emotional impact of future events.
Dan has won numerous awards for his teaching and research—from the Guggenheim Fellowship to the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology. However, he says that his greatest accomplishment is that he appears just before Dizzy Gillespie on the list of Most Famous High School Dropouts.
Dan's research has been covered by The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Money, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, The New Yorker, Scientific American, Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, and many others.
Question: Where are you from and how has that shaped you?
Dan Gilbert: Well I was born in Ithaca, New York. I grew up in Evanston, Illinois. Then I moved to Denver, Colorado. Then I went to Princeton, New Jersey. Then I went to Austin, Texas. And here I am in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
I was about 15½ years old when I decided that I was smarter than my high school and I shouldn’t be attending. So I stuck out my thumb and started hitch-hiking around the country. Ended up in Denver, Colorado where I got married and had a child. I became a science fiction writer. One day I decided I might benefit from a course in writing at the local community college. So I jumped on a bus and went down there to sign up for one; but I was a little late and the course was full, so I … they said psychology was open. So I wandered into psychology.
Recorded on: 6/12/07