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: Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the way the world is headed?
Dan Gilbert: You know, maybe it’s just this moment in American politics. Maybe it’s the full onset of middle age for me. But I say that, right now, I feel rather pessimistic about the future of the world. I don’t see so many … so much of the progress that I might have hoped for. With that said, it’s clear to me … Although it’s clear to me that the future may be a place that I would be depressed to live in, it’s not clear to me it’s going to be a place that the future people are depressed to live in. They may not miss trees. I would.
Recorded on: 6/12/07