Hi, I’m Scott! I’m am author, researcher, speaker, public science communicator, and generally cheeky person, who is deeply interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. I am currently scientific director of the Imagination Institute, and I conduct research in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where I also teach the popular undergraduate course Introduction to Positive Psychology (download my most recent syllabus here). I received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University, and an M. Phil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge.
I’m insatiably curious about everything having to do with the mind, brain, and behavior, and like to share my enthusiasm for these topics. My writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review. I write a regular column at Scientific American called Beautiful Minds, and I host The Psychology Podcast, which was recently named by Business Insider as a podcast that “will change how you think about human behavior”. I always welcome suggestions for new and exciting guests!
Additionally, I am the “Positive Creativity Cultivator” of the upcoming Amazon video series Pete the Cat– the coolest cat ever with a groovy guide to life! I also co-founded The Creativity Post with my good friends Milena Fisher and Elliot Samuel Paul. Check out the site for quality content on creativity, innovation and imagination.
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 my 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, personal goals, and developmental trajectory. Here’s a recent interview where I talk about the theory, and implications for children with learning and attentional difficulties:
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: I like to sing (musical theatre), play the cello, and dance (hip hop)! 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: