Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone’s eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss. His research with Tim Wilson on "affective forecasting" investigates how and how well people can make predictions about the emotional impact of future events.
The premise of his current research -- that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong -- is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. Gilbert is the author of the illuminating and laugh-out-loud funny "Stumbling on Happiness," published in 2006, which became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages.
The talk below was given at the TED conference in Monterrey offers Gilbert's hilarious and eye opening view on why finding and keeping happiness is one of life's greatest challenges.