Research interests: Social inference, decision-making, affective forecasting
Professor Gilbert has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. His popular book, Stumbling on Happiness, spent 6 months on the New York Times bestseller list, sold over a million copies worldwide, and was awarded the Royal Society’s General Book Prize for best science book of the year. He hosted and co-wrote the award-winning NOVA television series This Emotional Life which was seen by more than 10 million viewers in its first airing. In the last few years he has appeared in a series of television commercials meant to help Americans overcome the psychological obstacles to saving for retirement. He is a contributor to Time, The New York Times, and NPR's All Things Considered, and in 2014 Science named him one of the world’s 50 most-followed scientists on social media. His TED talks have been seen by more than 15 million people and remain among the most popular of all time.
Professor Gilbert is interested in how human beings navigate the complexities of time and social life. The first of these interests motivates his research on affective forecasting (how and how well people can predict the emotional consequences of future events), inter-temporal choice (when and how people sacrifice for the future), and other topics in judgment and decision-making. The second of these interests motivates his research on social inference (how and how well people understand each other), as well as on other topics in social psychology such as advice-giving and advice-seeking, communication and conversation, and so on. Professor Gilbert is captivated by a single fact—the world is not as it appears—and he uses science to uncover the illusions people have about the world, themselves, and each other.