March 31, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University, will speak on “How to Be a Proper Coward” on Thursday, April 14, at 4:30 p.m. in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Gilbert's talk, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Amherst College and the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science, is the third in a series on “Well-Being.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

“There's nothing wrong with being afraid, just as long as your fear is properly calibrated with the things you're afraid of,” says Gilbert, the author of numerous scientific articles on “affective forecasting.” Gilbert's studies of affective forecasting—how, and how well, people predict their reactions to future events—have been featured in The New York Times, Money Magazine, The New Yorker, Oprah, Psychology Today and other periodicals. Writing recently in The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that Gilbert and his colleagues prove that “People are bad at forecasting their emotions—at appreciating how well, under most circumstances, they will recover.” In domains ranging from romance to finance, people make mistakes.

A recipient of research awards from the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, the American Philosophical Society and the Guggenheim Foundation, Gilbert has a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton. His book Stumbling on Happiness, will be published by Knopf in 2006.