Scott Barry Kaufman is an author, researcher, and speaker who is interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. He is insatiably curious about the mind, brain, and behavior, and likes to share his enthusiasm for these topics through his writing, podcast, and teaching. Dr. Kaufman 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.
Scott’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review, and he writes a regular column at Scientific American called Beautiful Minds. He also hosts The Psychology Podcast, which has been downloaded over 6 million times, and was named by Business Insider a podcast that “will change how you think about human behavior.”
In 2013, Kaufman published Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, in which he reviewed the scientific literature on human potential and outlined the Theory of Personal Intelligence. This theory goes beyond traditional metrics of intelligence (e.g., IQ, standardized tests), and takes into account each person’s unique abilities, passions, and personal goals.
Scott’s latest book is Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, which he co-authored with the journalist Carolyn Gregoire. In Wired to Create, Kaufman and Gregoire 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.
Kaufman was listed as one of the top 19 most highly cited scientists in the leading textbooks on human intelligence, and was listed by Business Insider as one of “50 groundbreaking scientists who are changing the way we see the world.”
Some fun facts:
- From 2015-2017, Kaufman taught the popular “Introduction to Positive Psychology” course at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most popular courses at the University [see syllabus here].
- From 2014-2017, Kaufman was scientific director of the Imagination Institute, where he oversaw a project to advance the measurement, growth, and improvement of imagination across all sectors of society. The Imagination Institute funded 16 research projects to advance the measurement of imagination. They also hosted gatherings of the world’s most imaginative and creative people across 12 domains of human progress (the “Imagination Retreats“).
- Kaufman is on the advisory board of The Future Project, a non-profit dedicated to working with schools to unlock the limitless potential of every young person in this country.
- Kaufman is on the advisory board of the Mindful Education Lab at NYU. The Mind Education Lab looks at the psychological and neurological effects of mindfulness on student learning, teacher effectiveness, and school and classroom climate.
- Kaufman is the “Positive Creativity Cultivator” of the Amazon video series Pete the Cat– the coolest cat ever with a groovy guide to life!
- Kaufman co-founded The Creativity Post with Milena Fisher and Elliot Samuel Paul.
- Kaufman likes 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, Scott was rejected from American Idol. So he did what he does best: he analyzed how to win American Idol.
Here’s a collaboration Kaufman did with Disney to inspire children to dream big and believe in themselves: