About

“It’s time for a more dynamic conceptualization of potential that takes into account each person’s unique package of personal characteristics, dreams, passions, goals, and development. That emphasizes the journey, not the product. That shifts from a single judgement day of standardized and decontextualized testing to an extended period of deeply personal engagement, problem solving, exploration, and revision.” Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined

Scott Barry Kaufman is a psychologist at Barnard College, Columbia University exploring the depths of human potential (see research). Dr. Kaufman embraces a humanistic, integrative approach that takes into account a wide range of human variation– from learning disabilities to intellectual and creative giftedness to introversion to narcissism to twice exceptionality– to paint a complete portrait of human nature and to assess the implications for improving education, business, and creative self-actualization. Scott likes to share his enthusiasm for these topics through his teaching, writing, speaking, and podcast. He writes the weekly column Beautiful Minds for Scientific American and hostsThe Psychology Podcast, which has received over 7 million downloads. In Spring 2019, Kaufman will teach the course The Science of Living Well at Columbia University.

Kaufman’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review, and his books include Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (with Carolyn Gregoire), and, as editor, Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties and The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence.

Scott 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. In 2015, he was named one of “50 Groundbreaking Scientists who are changing the way we see the world” by Business Insider.

Things Scott did in his past life:

  • From 2014-2017, Kaufman was at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was scientific director of the Imagination Institute. In this role, 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“).
  •  Dr. 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.
  • Dr. Kaufman co-founded The Creativity Post with Milena Fisher and Elliot Samuel Paul.
  • Dr. Kaufman is classically trained in vocal performance and likes to sing musical theatre (his inspiration is Terrence Mann). He also plays the cello (he was taught by his grandfather Harry Gorodetzer, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra), and he likes to dances hip hop recreationally.
  • In 2005 and 2007, Scott was rejected from American Idol. So he did what he does best: he analyzed how to win American Idol.

Scott’s latest TEDx talk on twice exceptionality:

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