Haidt received his B. A. from Yale University in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He then did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India. He was a professor at the University of Virginia from 1995 until 2011, when he joined the Stern School of Business.
Haidt is a social psychologist whose 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.
He is the co-developer of Moral Foundations Theory, and of the research site YourMorals.org. He uses his research to help people understand and respect the moral motives of people with whom they disagree. He won three teaching awards from the University of Virginia and one from the governor of Virginia. His four TED talks have been viewed more than 6 million times (those talks are on political psychology, on religion, on the causes of America’s political polarization, and on how America can heal after the bitter 2016 election).
He was named a “top 100 global thinker” in 2012 by Foreign Policy magazine, and one of the 65 “World Thinkers of 2013” by Prospect magazine. He is the author of more than 90 academic articles and three books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006), The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012), and The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (2018, co-authored with Greg Lukianoff). The last two books became New York Times best sellers.