Daniel Gilbert (psychologist)

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For other people named Daniel Gilbert, see Daniel Gilbert (disambiguation).
Daniel Gilbert
Born Daniel Todd Gilbert
(1957-11-05) November 5, 1957 (age 57)
Occupation Professor, non-fiction writer, journalist
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Colorado (BA)
Princeton University (PhD)
Period 1983–present
Genre social psychology
Notable works Stumbling on Happiness (2006)
Spouse Marilynn Oliphant
Relatives Shona Gilbert

Daniel Todd Gilbert (born November 5, 1957) is Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He is a social psychologist known for his research (with Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia) on affective forecasting, with a special emphasis on cognitive biases such as the impact bias. He is the author of the international bestseller Stumbling on Happiness, which has been translated into more than 25 languages and which won the 2007 Royal Society Prizes for Science Books.

At the age of 19, Gilbert was a high school dropout who wanted to be a science fiction writer. In an attempt to improve his writing skills, he took a bus to the local community college to enroll in a creative writing class. When he was told that the creative writing class was full, he signed up for the only class that was still open: Introduction to Psychology.[1] Gilbert eventually received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Colorado Denver in 1981 and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton University's Department of Psychology in 1985.

Gilbert has won numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the Harvard College Professorship, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology. In 2008 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, TIME, and others. His short stories have appeared in Amazing Stories and Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, as well as other magazines and anthologies. He has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows including 20/20, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, and The Colbert Report. He is the co-writer and host of the 6-hour NOVA television series "This Emotional Life" which aired on PBS in January, 2010 and won several Telly Awards. Gilbert's Stumbling On Happiness was included as one of fifty key books in psychology in 50 Psychology Classics (2006) by Tom Butler-Bowdon.

Beginning in 2013, Gilbert appeared in a series of Prudential Financial television commercials promoting Prudential's retirement services. The ads used various large-scale visuals such as asking people to put stickers on a wall to mark the age of the oldest person they knew,[2] and a series of dominoes starting from a normal sized one to a record-breaking 30-foot domino to illustrate the power of savings.[3]

He and his wife, Marilynn Oliphant, live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gilbert has one son and two grandchildren with Marilynn Oliphant.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Daniel Gilbert Stumbles onto Something Big, Dave Weich, Powells.com
  2. ^ "New Job for Brain Scientists: Pitching Mutual Funds". ScientificAmerican.com. April 9, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Prudential topples world record with retirement dominos in Charlotte (Video)". Charlotte Business Journal. August 7, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 

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