Daniel Kahneman, 1934 - 2024

March 27, 2024

Daniel Kahneman, esteemed Israeli-American psychologist, professor of psychology and public affairs emeritus and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at the University, and namesake of our Center, died peacefully on March 27, 2024, twenty-two days after his ninetieth birthday.

Popularized by his award-winning 2011 book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman's work on the psychology of judgement and decision-making laid some of the early foundations for the field of Behavioral Economics and for modern Behavioral Science and their applications to policy. In recognition of his bridging research for the fields of psychology and economics, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002.

"Danny was a giant in the field, a Princeton star, a brilliant man, and a great colleague and friend,” said Eldar Shafir, the Class of 1987 Professor in Behavioral Science and Public Policy and inaugural director of the Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy. “Many areas in the social sciences simply have not been the same since he arrived on the scene. He will be greatly missed.”

Kahneman joined the Princeton faculty in 1993, following university appointments at Hebrew University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of California–Berkeley. Jointly appointed within the Department of Psychology and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (now SPIA), he developed, in tandem with Shafir, the first psychology for policy course to be taught in the school of public affairs. An updated version of the course is still taught today.

The list of Kahneman's accolades is long. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Kahneman’s academic honors are many and include election as a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (2001), the American Philosophical Society (2004), and the British Academy (2008). He was awarded the Talcott Parsons Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), presented with multiple awards for outstanding achievement from the American Psychological Association, and bestowed numerous honorary degrees.

We are proud that the Center bears his name along with that of his wife Anne Treisman, a distinguished Princeton scholar who died in 2018. Planning will soon commence for an on-campus celebration of Kahneman's life and work.