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: Do you have a personal philosophy?
Dan Gilbert: A personal philosophy. Well I think not, in the sense of, you know, a member of an organized religion or sect or cult. I couldn’t give you an “ism” that somehow described my personal philosophy. And I think that’s because I see beliefs as something you earn, not as something you start out with. Beliefs are the prize we get from a long day of looking hard. I believe in the law of supply and demand and the structure of DNA because people have worked very hard to establish the facts on which those beliefs are predicated. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean when you ask me about a philosophy, but I suppose I could say my philosophy is to start out, as much as possible, as a blank slate, and on the basis of scientific evidence, build up a philosophy from there.
Recorded on: July 12, 2007