Scott Barry Kaufman

Scott Barry Kaufman

Scientific Director


Imagination Institute

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
I have an auditory processing disorder, so I was placed into special education classes as a child.
In ninth grade, I decided to get out of special education and see what I was capable of achieving.
My early experiences in school made me realize I wanted to drastically change the education system.
During my sophomore year of undergraduate study, I took a cognitive psychology class with Anne Fay.
When we got to the section on perception of intelligence, I realized this could be my life's work.
I've published 2 books ("Ungifted," "Wired to Create") on perceptions of intelligence & creativity.
I'm currently working on a new book of case studies on gifted children in special education.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Bachelor
Psychology, General
Carnegie Mellon University
Bachelor
Human Computer Interaction
Carnegie Mellon University
Graduate
Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
Cambridge University
Doctorate
Experimental Psychology
Yale University

Career

Scientific Director

We're dedicated to measuring and developing imagination across all sectors of society.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Science
Education
Being Creative

Day to Day

On a typical day, I'd be working with my research coordinator, Elizabeth Hyde, to plan out future imagination retreats, including making phone calls to geniuses to get them onboard. I could also be setting up new research studies, writing blog posts for the public, recording an episode of my podcast, or working on writing my new book. I also teach a course called "Introduction to Positive Psychology" at the University of Pennsylvania and I travel a lot to give lectures around the country.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

I think my performing arts background in opera and musicals really helps me with the public speaking aspect of my job. There's also a lot of schmoozing involved, so basic people skills and social skills are a must-have.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

As early as high school, I knew that I wanted to change our education system and how we view intelligence. Later, as an undergraduate, I had the epiphany that this was the specific field I wanted to pursue and these were the people that I wanted to work with. But that realization might come earlier or later for others; for example, you could be doing a master's degree in psychology and get inspired by a certain topic or study. Really, there's really no expiration date on this sort of thing.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Psychology, General
undergrad
Bachelor
Human Computer Interaction
graduate
Graduate
Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
doctorate
Doctorate
Experimental Psychology

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"Why aren't you challenging yourself more?"

Challenges I Overcame

Low Test Scores