Hi, I’m Scott. I’m deeply interested in using psychological science to help everyone– all kinds of minds— live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. I am scientific director of the Imagination Institute, and I conduct research in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania on intelligence, creativity, and well-being. My writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review.

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 video 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.

I received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University in 2009, and an M. Phil in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship in 2005. I received my undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon in 2003, double majoring in Psychology and Human Computer Interaction, and minoring in Opera Performance.

Other stuff I do:

  • I teach the popular undergraduate course Introduction to Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. You can download my most recent syllabus here.
  • Over at Scientific American I write the column Beautiful Minds. I also write a blog here on my personal page.
  • I host The Psychology Podcast. I welcome suggestions for new and exciting guests.
  • I 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.
  • I like to sing (musical theatre) 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.

SBK Events View All

Nov 30, 2016 Palo Alto Athena Academy

Jan 25, 2017 San Francisco, CA Common Ground Speaker Series

Apr 17, 2017 Greenwich, CT Eagle Hill School