UC Berkeley News


Nobel laureate Kahneman to deliver Hitchcock Lectures

26 January 2007

Eminent psychologist and behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman will deliver the Hitchcock Lectures for spring 2007. His lectures will address the topic "Explorations of the Mind."

Daniel Kahneman

The first lecture, on Monday, Feb. 5, is titled "Intuition: The Marvels and the Flaws." The second talk, "Happiness: Living and Thinking About It," will take place the following day, Tuesday, Feb. 6. Both lectures are scheduled for 4:10 p.m. in the Chevron Auditorium in International House.

Kahneman, who spent the years 1986 to 1994 on the Berkeley faculty, is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology at Princeton University and Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is an internationally renowned psychologist whose work spans cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, and the science of well-being.

In recognition of his groundbreaking work on human judgment and decision- making, Kahneman received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, a field that increasingly bases economic models upon psychological models of information processing. Kahneman's award-winning research showed that many human decisions, especially those made in a state of uncertainty, depart from the principle of probability. With his longtime collaborator Amos Tversky, Kahneman laid the foundations for the new field of behavioral economics.

Born in 1934 in Tel Aviv, and raised in France and Palestine, Kahneman received his B.A. in 1954 from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, majoring in psychology and minoring in mathematics. Upon graduating he was drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces.

During his two-year service with the military, Kahneman devised a psychological screening exam for combat-unit recruits. The exam, which he developed as a 21-year-old lieutenant, is still in use with few modifications.

He earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Berkeley in 1961, returning to the Hebrew University as a professor of psychology (1961 to 1970). In addition to service as a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia (1978 to 1986) and at Berkeley, he has taught at Princeton since 1993.

Kahneman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, and other elective societies. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association (with Amos Tversky, 1982), the Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists (with Amos Tversky, 1995), the Hilgard Award for Lifetime Contributions to General Psychology (1995), and the Grawemeyer Prize in Psychology (with Amos Tversky, 2002) and holds honorary degrees from numerous universities, including Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Sorbonne.

"Since Daniel Kahneman departed from Berkeley a decade ago," says Berkeley chemistry professor William Lester Jr., chair of the Hitchcock Committee, "his colleagues have remembered him warmly for his inspiring presence and his seminal work in behavioral economics. We are delighted to welcome him back for what will surely be engaging and tremendously informative lectures."

The Hitchcock Lectures were endowed by Charles Hitchcock in 1885 to institute a professorship at Berkeley. Such distinguished scholars as Linus Pauling, Robert Oppenheimer, and Stephen Hawking have served as Hitchcock professors in the past.