Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist who, along with Amos Tversky, revolutionized economic theory in the 1970s and is widely regarded as one of the world's most influential living psychologist.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1934 to Lithuanian Jewish parents, Kahneman grew up in Paris, during which time his father was taken by Nazis in one of the first "round ups" of Jewish prisoners. Though he was later released, Kahneman's family spent the rest of the war years ill at ease in their surroundings. In 1948, four years after his father passed away from diabetes, Kahneman and his family moved to Palestine (which, on May 14, 1948, would become Israel). While there, he experienced a period of great social growth and intellectual stimulation.
He studied psychology and mathematics in Israel, receiving his first degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and spent a portion of his required military service developing some of his first ideas regarding humans and their decision-making. By 1955 Kahneman had been given the task of conducting military officer candidate assessments for the Israel Defense Forces - a job that inspired his interests in cognitive behavior. In 1958 he and his wife, Irah, moved to San Francisco to begin work as graduate students at Berkeley. Years of learning, teaching, and researching later, he began his long-term collaboration with Amos Tversky (a fellow psychologist who died of cancer in 1996) in a period that Kahneman describes as his most rewarding professional association.
In addition to the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Kahneman has won the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology (both jointly with Tversky), the American Psychological Association's Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement, and has made the Bloomberg 50 Most Influential People in Global Finance in 2011.
Kahneman is a senior scholar and faculty member emeritus at both Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, a fellow at Hebrew University and a Gallup Senior Scientist. He is now married to Anne Treisman, a fellow professor of psychology at Princeton.
For more information, watch the video below of Daniel Kahneman discussing "The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory" (based on material from Thinking, Fast and Slow) at a TED convention in February 2010.
This article was originally published in January 2012, and has been updated for the
April 2013 paperback release.
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