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Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago

Ed O'Brien studies intuitions about everyday experiences, such as how people believe they’ll change over time, what people infer others are thinking and feeling, and which activities people think will be enjoyable—in particular when and why these intuitions are misguided. His research has been published in top journals like Personality and Social Psychology Review, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. A number of media outlets have featured his research, including NPR, The Atlantic, TIME, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Big Think.

O’Brien came to Booth after earning his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan (2014). While at Michigan, his accolades included a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Philip Brickman Memorial Prize for best predoctoral research program, and the Pat Gurin Distinguished Lecture Award.

O’Brien was born and raised on the east coast. He attended Philadelphia’s prestigious Saint Joseph’s Preparatory high school (2005) and subsequently Saint Joseph’s University where he earned a B.S. in psychology (2009), graduating summa cum laude as “University Scholar” (top member of graduating class).


  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago