On November 18, 2011, we had a riveting interview with noted Positive
Psychologist, Timothy Wilson, Ph.D., Sherrell J. Aston Professor of
Psychology at the University of Virginia and author of the new book
Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change.
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Timothy Wilson, Ph.D. Speaks to the Royal Society of
the Arts in London
ABOUT TIMOTHY WILSON, Ph.D.
Wilson, Ph.D., did his undergraduate work at Williams College and Hampshire
College and received his doctorate degree from the University of Michigan.
Currently he is the Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the
University of Virginia and a researcher of positive psychology and affective
forecasting. His research has been supported by the National Institute
of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage
Foundation. In 2001 he received an All-University Outstanding Teaching
Award from the University of Virginia. In 2009, he was named as a fellow
to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in 2010 he received
the University of Virginia Distinguished Scientist Award.
He has published numerous articles in the areas of introspection, attitude
change, self-knowledge, and affective forecasting. Professor Wilson
is also the author of the book Strangers
to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (Harvard
University Press, 2002), which was named an Outstanding Academic Title
by CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.
His latest book Redirect:
The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change (Little,
Brown) was published in September of this year. Daniel Gilbert, author
of Stumbling on Happiness, says, "This glorious book shimmers
with insights--an instant classic that will be discussed and quoted
for generations. One of the great psychologists of our time, Timothy
Wilson has distilled the field's wisdom and shown us how to use it to
change ourselves and the world. This may well be the single most important
psychology book ever written. Not to be missed!"
According to The
UVA Today, in Redirect:
The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, Professor
Wilson "explains a new, scientifically based approach that can
make you happier, turn you into a better parent, solve your teenager's
behavior problems, reduce racial prejudice and even close the achievement
gap in education. This approach, called story editing, works by redirecting
the stories we tell about ourselves and the world around us - with subtle
prompts, in ways that lead to lasting change."
He co-authored Social Psychology, an introductory textbook on
social psychology with Eliot Aronson, currently in its sixth edition.
With Richard Nisbett, Wilson wrote one of the most cited psychology
papers, titled "Telling more than we can know - Verbal reports
on mental processes." The paper demonstrates the difficulty humans
have in introspecting on their own mental processes (Psychological
He has been associate editor of the Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology and a member of the Social and Groups Processes Review
Committee at the National Institute of Mental Health. He has been elected
twice to the Executive Board of the Society for Experimental Social
Psychology and is a Fellow in the American Psychological Society.
He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, Deirdre Smith.
He has two children, Christopher and Leigh.
more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. This is one of Wilson’s most influential publications. He wrote it
with Richard Nisbett while still in graduate school at the University
of Michigan, and it is one of the most heavily cited psychology articles
published in the seventies. It provided the first comprehensive, empirically
based argument that a variety of mental processes responsible for preferences,
choices, and emotions are inaccessible to conscious awareness.