Academic Training Lecture Regular Programme

Evolutionary Psychology Lecture 2: Thinking about the Future: Whether, When, Why, How, Who, What ... and So What? (2/2)

by Dr Roy Baumeister (University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia)

222/R-001 (CERN)



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A planful, future-oriented mindset is probably the most effective way to find success in life, but psychology has focused much more on the past than the future. This talk reports ideas and findings emerging from our recent research program on thinking about the future. Despite the common assumption that people see the future as bright, laboratory experiments show that contemplating the future leads to caution and in some cases pessimism. Outside the lab, we have a giant data set on people’s thoughts as they go about their daily lives, and these reveal much aboutwhy, when, and how people think about the future, as well as what personality types think about it more, and what its correlates and consequences are. Predicting the future is difficult — but perhaps that is not the main part of people’s thoughts about the future. Instead, we develop a theory of pragmatic prospection that shifts the emphasis away from “What is going to happen?” to “What do I want to happen?” and “How can I bring that about?”

"The Cultural Animal" Dr R. Baumeister's book available from the CERN Library.

NB! Webcast NO, recording YES. Just watch the Indico event pages and the link to the recording will appear a few days after the lectures.

Lecturer's bio:

Roy F. Baumeister is currently professor of psychology at the University of Queensland, also linked to Florida State University. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton in 1978 and did a postdoctoral fellowship in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. He spent over two decades at Case Western Reserve University. He has also worked at the University of Texas, the University of Virginia, the Max-Planck-Institute, the VU Free University of Amsterdam, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Russell Sage Foundation, the University of Bamberg (Germany), and Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Baumeister’s research spans multiple topics, including self and identity, self-regulation, interpersonal rejection and the need to belong, sexuality and gender, aggression, self-esteem, meaning, and self-presentation. He has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the Templeton Foundation. He has over 650 publications, and his 38 books include Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, The Cultural Animal, Meanings of Life, and the New York Times bestseller Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. The Institute for Scientific Information lists him among the handful of most cited (most influential) psychologists in the world. He has received several major awards, including the William James Fellow award (their highest honor) from the Association for Psychological Science, and the Jack Block Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

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Sponsor: Maria Dimou / 175 participants