Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology This Emotional Life - PBS

Experts Biography

Awards and Credentials

  1. Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology, 2001
  2. Virginia “Outstanding Faculty Award,” conferred by Governor Mark Warner, 2004
  3. Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Visiting Professor at Princeton University, 2006-2007

Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D.


Dr. Haidt is a Social and Cultural Psychologist. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and then did postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India. He has been on the faculty of the University of Virginia since 1995. His research focuses on morality – its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course. He began his career studying the negative moral emotions, such as disgust, shame, and vengeance, but then moved on to the understudied positive moral emotions, such as admiration, awe, and moral elevation.

Dr. Haidt is currently developing a comprehensive theory about the “five foundations” of human morality, which describes the “first draft” of the moral mind given to use by natural selection, and also describes the cultural and developmental processes by which that draft gets revised into multiple forms. He is applying this theory to understand political divisions in the United States.

He was the Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Visiting Professor at Princeton University in 2006-2007. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. His next book, to be published in 2010, is The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.