About

Hi, I’m Scott! I’m am author, researcher, speaker, and public science communicator, who is interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. I am currently professor of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where I try to apply the latest science to help students improve the positive, healthy, adaptive, creative, and fulfilling aspects of human behavior. I received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University, and an M. Phil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

I’m insatiably curious about the mind, brain, and behavior, and like to share my enthusiasm for these topics through my writing, podcast, and teaching. My writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review, and I write a regular column at Scientific American called Beautiful Minds. I also host The Psychology Podcast, which was recently named by Business Insider as a podcast that “will change how you think about human behavior”.

In 2013, I published Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, which reviewed the latest science of intelligence and also detailed my experiences as a child growing up with a learning disability. In the book, I outlined the Theory of Personal Intelligence, which goes beyond traditional metrics of intelligence (e.g., IQ, standardized tests), and takes into account each person’s unique abilities, passions, and personal goals. As a result of my work redefining intelligence, I was listed as one of “50 groundbreaking scientists who are changing the way we see the world” by Business Insider. Here’s a recent TEDx talk on the topic:

My latest book is Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, which I co-authored with the journalist Carolyn Gregoire. In Wired to Create, we review the latest science of creativity, and argue that creativity is a lifestyle that anyone can cultivate by continually engaging in a series of habits– from daydreaming to mindfulness to being open to new experiences.

Some fun facts:

  • From 2014-2017, I was scientific director of the Imagination Institute, and oversaw a project to advance the measurement, growth, and improvement of imagination across all sectors of society. The project was done in collaboration with Martin Seligman, and was funded by the Templeton Foundation.
  •  I am on the advisory board of The Future Project, an amazing non-profit dedicated to working with schools to unlock the limitless potential of every young person in this country.
  • I am the “Positive Creativity Cultivator” of the upcoming Amazon video series Pete the Catthe coolest cat ever with a groovy guide to life!
  •  I co-founded The Creativity Post with my good friends Milena Fisher and Elliot Samuel Paul.
  • I like to sing (musical theatre and opera), play the cello, and dance (hip hop)! But usually not all at the same time.
  • In 2005 and 2007, I was rejected from American Idol. So I did what I do best: I analyzed how to win American Idol.

I’ll leave you with a collaboration I did with Disney to inspire children to dream big and believe in themselves:

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