Scott Barry Kaufman is a psychologist, author, and podcaster who is deeply interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. Dr. Kaufman has over 60 scientific publications on intelligence, creativity, personality, and well-being. He 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.
Dr. Kaufman likes to share his enthusiasm for the mind, brain, and behavior through his teaching writing, and podcast. Scott writes a weekly column for Scientific American called Beautiful Minds and hosts The Psychology Podcast, which has been downloaded over 7 million times and was named by Business Insider a podcast that “will change how you think about human behavior.” Scott’s writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review.
Scott is author/editor of eight books on intelligence and creativity. 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 includes ability (e.g., IQ, talent), but also takes into account each person’s unique 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 editorial board of the open access Journal of Intelligence.
- 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.
- 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: