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Timothy D. Wilson is the Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and a researcher of self-knowledge and affective forecasting.

Wilson has published a trade book, Strangers to Ourselves and co-authored Social Psychology an introductory textbook on social psychology. The textbook has been translated into Italian, Polish, Chinese, German, Russian, and Serbian, and "Strangers to Ourselves" has been translated into Dutch and Japanese, with Chinese and German editions forthcoming.

Wilson is best known for his research on self-knowledge, including affective forecasting. Along with Richard Nisbett, Wilson authored one of Psychology's most cited papers "Telling more than we can know - Verbal reports on mental processes" that demonstrated the difficulty humans have in introspecting on their own mental processes (Psychological Review, 1977, cited 2731 times as of May 22, 2007 according to ISI Web of Knowledge). His longtime collaborator is Daniel Gilbert of Harvard University.

His research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. In 2001 he received an All-University Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Virginia. In 2009, he was named as a fellow to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, Deirdre Smith. He has two children, Christopher and Leigh.

See also[]



  • Wilson, Timothy (2002). Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious, Cambridge: Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-00936-3.
  • Aronson,E., Wilson,T.D., Akert, R.M. (1997).Social Psychology. Longman New York.

Book Chapters[]

  • Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). Affective forecasting. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 35, pp. 345-411). San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Wilson, T. D., Gilbert, D. T., & Centerbar, D. B. (2003). Making sense: The causes of emotional evanescence. In I. Brocas & J. Carrillo (Eds.), The psychology of economic decisions. Vol. 1: Rationality and well being (pp. 209-233). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Wilson, T. D., Centerbar, D. B., & Brekke, N. (2002). Mental contamination and the debiasing problem. In T. Gilovich, D. W. Griffin, & D. Kahneman (Eds.), The psychology of judgment: Heuristics and biases (pp. 185-200). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wilson, T. D., Dunn, D. S., Kraft, D., & Lisle, D. J. (1989). Introspection, attitude change, and attitude-behavior consistency: The disruptive effects of explaining why we feel the way we do. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 22, pp. 287-343). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.


  • Wilson, T. D. (2006). The power of social psychological interventions. Science, 313, 1251-1252.
  • Wilson, T. D. (2005). The message is the method: Celebrating and exporting the experimental approach. Psychological Inquiry, 16, 185-193.
  • Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2005). Affective forecasting: Knowing what to want. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 131-134.
  • Wilson, T. D., Centerbar, D. B., Kermer, D. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2005). The pleasures of uncertainty: Prolonging positive moods in ways people do not anticipate. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 5-21.
  • Wilson, T. D., Wheatley, T., Kurtz, J., Dunn, E., & Gilbert, D. T. (2004). When to fire: Anticipatory versus post-event reconstrual of uncontrollable events. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 340-351.
  • Wilson, T. D., & Dunn, E. (2004). Self-knowledge: Its limits, value, and potential for improvement. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 493-518.
  • Wilson, T. D., Meyers, J., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). "How happy was I, anyway?" A retrospective impact bias. Social Cognition, 21, 407-432.
  • Dunn, E. W., Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). Location, Location, Location: The misprediction of satisfaction in housing lotteries. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1421-1432.
  • Wilson, T. D. (2003). Knowing when to ask: Introspection and the adaptive unconscious. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 10, 131-140.
  • Wilson, T. D., Meyers, J. & Gilbert, D. T. (2001). Lessons from the past: Do people learn from experience that emotional reactions are short lived? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1648-1661.
  • Wilson, T. D., Lindsey, S., & Schooler, T. (2000). A model of dual attitudes. Psychological Review, 107, 101-126.
  • Wilson, T. D., Wheatley, T. P., Meyers, J. M., Gilbert, D. T., & Axsom, D. (2000). Focalism: A Source of durability bias in affective forecasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 821-836.
  • Wilson, T. D., & Brekke, N. C. (1994). Mental contamination and mental correction: Unwanted influences on judgments and evaluations. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 117-142.
Nisbett, R. E. and Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231-259.  

External links[]

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