Photo: Dale Robbins

Jonathan Haidt

Social Psychologist

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia and the Henry Kaufman Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at the NYU-Stern School of Business for the 2011-2012 academic year.  His current research focuses on the moral foundations of politics and on ways liberals and conservatives can move beyond the culture wars and engage in more civil forms of politics and discourse.

Haidt is the author of the forthcoming book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, to be published in March 2012.  In the book, Haidt explains the evolution of morality — how we evolved to have different morals, and how these differences can bind us together into groups that seek victory, not truth, and blind us to our own predispositions. In an era of increasing political polarization, he strives to strengthen understanding and dialogue rather than falling back on the usual partisan accusations of “You just don’t get it!”

Haidt was the 2001 winner of the Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology, and a 2004 winner of the Virginia “Outstanding Faculty Award” awarded by Governor Mark Warner. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Visiting Professor at Princeton University in 2006-2007, Haidt received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, for which he did research in Orissa, India.

Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom and co-editor of Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well Lived.  He has also published articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and lectured at the 2008 TED conference.

To take a quiz about your own moral foundations, visit his website; to learn more about his research on improving political discourse visit