Psychologist and TED All-Star Barry Schwartz Speaks at TED2014 Conference

By Mark Anskis

Barry Schwartz, the Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action, will be presenting at the TED2014 conference from Vancouver on Wed., Mar. 19, at 5 p.m. EST. Schwartz will discuss the concept of "Idea Technology."

The author of popular and influential books such as The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom, Schwartz is taking part in the "TED All-Star" panel.  Filmed in 2005, Schwartz's Paradox of Choice Ted Talk remains one of the most popular in the history of the conference, registering over seven million views. Schwartz also spoke at the Swarthmore TedX in 2012. 

Now in its 30th year, TED is a series of global conferences known worldwide for its popular thought-provoking talks and its ubiquitous slogan "ideas worth spreading."

Prior to the TED conference, Schwartz spoke with The Psych Report, a website founded by Swarthmore alums whose mission is to "bring psychological science and thought to the public sphere." In the Q&A, The Psych Report's editor-and-chief and founder Evan Nesterak '09 asks Schwartz about his upcoming talk, his thoughts on the TED conference, and the following about his trademark outfit:

Evan Nesterak: Maybe this goes to a little bit to the performance question, but in your first TED talk you went with the t-shirt, shorts, and socks, but in next TED talk you were looking a little flashier. What are you thinking of wearing this time?

BS: Not flashier just like a grown-up. And let me explain this. First of all there was no notion that it was going to be put up online, so I was just talking to the audience. Second of all it was in a very old theater in Oxford, England that was not air conditioned, and third of all it was about 90 degrees, so everybody was dressed like that. Not everybody was speaking, but everybody was dressed like that. It was just broiling hot. Then a few months later I get this release to sign saying we're going to put these up online. So that's why I was dressed like that. My wife made it clear to me that if I showed up the next time looking like that she would change the locks on our front door.

Read the full Q&A

The Psych Report  is a web-based news organization that reports on current events through a psychological lens. Members of The Psych Report's editorial board include Nesterak, Schwartz, Max Nesterak '13, Paul Thibodeau '06, Yoi Tibbetts '09. Additionally, many current Swarthmore students serve as staff members.