Scott Barry Kaufman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Scott Barry Kaufman
Scott Barry Kaufman Aspen.png
Born (1979-06-03) June 3, 1979 (age 40)
Scientific career
FieldsCognitive Science
Educational Psychology
Positive Psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania

Scott Barry Kaufman (born June 3, 1979) is an American psychologist, author, and popular science writer known for his research and writing on intelligence and creativity. Most media attention has focused on Kaufman's attempt to redefine intelligence.[1][2][3] Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center [4] at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also co-founder of The Creativity Post [5] and author of "Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined".[6] Kaufman won the 2011 Daniel E. Berlyne Award from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association for outstanding research on aesthetics, creativity, and the arts by a junior scholar,[7] and is a 2011-2012 recipient of the Mensa International Award for Excellence in Research.[8] He is listed on Business Insider as one of the "50 groundbreaking scientists who are changing the way we see the world".[9]


After graduating from Lower Merion High School in 1998, Kaufman received his B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was Nobel Prize Winner Herbert A. Simon's last research assistant, and a student of Randy Pausch. In 2005, he received his M.Phil. from King's College, Cambridge under a Gates Scholarship, where he worked with Nicholas Mackintosh. After Cambridge, Kaufman earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Yale University where he was mentored by Robert Sternberg, Jeremy R. Gray, and Jerome L. Singer. From 2009-2010, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies.


Kaufman is the grandson of former Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Harry Gorodetzer.[10][11][12]


Kaufman's research focuses on the measurement and development of intelligence and creativity, with a consideration of implications for education, business, and society. Kaufman has over 40 scientific papers in numerous books and journals, including Cognition, Intelligence, and the Journal of Creative Behavior. He is also editor of The Philosophy of Creativity (with Elliot Samuel Paul, Oxford, 2014), The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice (Oxford, 2013), The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence (with Robert Sternberg, Cambridge, 2011), and The Psychology of Creative Writing (with James C. Kaufman, Cambridge, 2009).

The dual-process theory of human intelligence[edit]

Most theories of human intelligence and tests of intelligence emphasize controlled and deliberate reasoning as the hallmark of human intelligence. While agreeing that such thought processes are an important component of intelligence, Kaufman argues that spontaneous forms of thinking such as insight, imaginative play, daydreaming, implicit learning, and a reduced latent inhibition are also important contributors to a wide range of intelligent behaviors as well as creative greatness.[13][14] Integrating modern dual-process theories of cognition with research on human intelligence, Kaufman proposed the dual-process theory of human intelligence.[15][16][17][18] The theory emphasizes the importance of adaptation to task demands as the essence of intelligent functioning. At the same time, the theory takes into account an individual's personal goals and accommodates a wide range of intelligent behaviors in a wide range of fields, from the arts to the sciences. A key assumption of the theory is that abilities are not static entities but are constantly changing throughout the life span as the person continually engages with controlled and spontaneous modes of thought. In Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, Kaufman makes the point that his theory is also fundamentally developmental, because it views intelligence as the dynamic interplay of engagement and ability over time in the pursuit of personal goals. [19] Under this conceptualization, personal characteristics such as passion, growth mindset, and persistence are also essential elements of human intelligence.


Kaufman sees well-being as influenced by happiness and meaning.[20]

Light triad[edit]

Influenced by the dark triad theory of antisocial personalities, Kaufman is researching a proposed "light triad" of personality virtues: humanism, Kantianism, and faith in humanity.[21]



  • Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (with Carolyn Gregoire) (2015) New York, NY: Penguin Books. (ISBN 0399174109)
  • The Philosophy of Creativity (with Elliot Samuel Paul) (2014). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (ISBN 0-199-83696-5)
  • The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice (2013) New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (ISBN 0-199-79400-6)
  • Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (2013). New York, NY: Basic Books. (ISBN 0-465-02554-4)
  • Mating Intelligence Unleashed: The Role of the Mind in Sex, Dating, and Love (with Glenn Geher) (2013). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (ISBN 0-195-39685-5)
  • The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence (with Robert J. Sternberg) (2011). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. (ISBN 0-521-73911-X)
  • The Psychology of Creative Writing (with James C. Kaufman) (2009). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. (ISBN 0-521-70782-X)


  1. ^ Why We Need to Redefine Intelligence, Harvard Business Review IdeaCast, 13 June 2013.
  2. ^ Redefining Intelligence Archived 2013-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, The Leonard Lopate Show- WNYC, 13 June 2013.
  3. ^ Beyond IQ: 5 Ways to Reframe Success and Smarts, Fast Co.Create, 13 June 2013.
  4. ^ Positive Psychology Center
  5. ^ The Creativity Post
  6. ^ Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (2013). New York, NY: Basic Books. (ISBN 0-465-02554-4)
  7. ^ Berlyne Award, Division 10, American Psychological Association,
  8. ^ Awards for Excellence in Research winners, 2011-2012 Mensa Education & Research Foundation
  9. ^ Science (2015-07-14). "50 scientists changing the world". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  10. ^ Gates scholarship backs quest of L. Merion alum Studying at Cambridge for a year could bring progress in how human intelligence is measured., The Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 April 2003.
  11. ^ Genius, Genes and Gusto: How Passions Find You, Psychology Today, 1 November 2009.
  12. ^ Harry Gorodetzer, former Phila. Orchestra cellist. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 December 2002.
  13. ^ Dreams of Glory, Psychology Today, March 2014.
  14. ^ Why Daydreamers Are More Creative, Beautiful Minds, 27 February 2011.
  15. ^ Kaufman, S. B. (2009). Beyond general intelligence: The dual-process theory of human intelligence (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation). Yale University, New Haven, CT.
  16. ^ Kaufman, S.B. (2011). Intelligence and the cognitive unconscious. In R.J. Sternberg & S.B. Kaufman (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence (pp. 442-467). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  17. ^ Kaufman, J.C., Kaufman, S.B., & Plucker, J.A. (2013). Contemporary theories of intelligence. In J. Reisberg (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Psychology (pp. 811-822). New York, NY: Oxford University Press
  18. ^ 6 Clues to Character, Psychology Today, 15 December 2011.
  19. ^ Book Review - Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, Creativity Post, June 14, 2013
  20. ^
  21. ^ Oakes, Kelly. "The 'light triad' that can make you a good person". BBC. Retrieved 29 June 2019.

External links[edit]