Daniel Schacter (SHS 1970)

Daniel_Schacter_(SHS_70)_(Thumbsize).jpgDaniel Schacter, ’70 – Daniel L. Schacter is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Schacter attended Scarsdale High School from 1966-1970, and spent much of his time there working on his golf game. He played on the SHS golf team under coach Warren Gaudet, rising to co-captain in his senior year, when the team won the state sectional tournament. During Schacter’s junior year, he was exposed for the first time to the field of psychology as part of LeRoy Stemmer’s health course. 

He was fascinated by the subject and went on to major in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (but failed to make the golf team). After graduating from UNC in 1974, Schacter became especially interested in the topic of memory while working as a research assistant at Duke University, and went on to receive his PhD in 1981 at the University of Toronto, a major center for memory research. Schacter served as director of the Unit for Memory Disorders at the University of Toronto for the next six years before joining the psychology department at the University of Arizona in 1987. In 1991, he was appointed Professor at Harvard University, and served as Chair of the psychology department from 1995-2005.


Schacter’s research has explored the relation between conscious and unconscious forms of memory, the nature of memory distortions, how individuals use memory to imagine possible future events, and the effects of aging on memory. Schacter and his many collaborators have published over 350 articles and chapters on these and related topics. He has received several awards for his research, including the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in Human Learning and Cognition from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Award and the Award for Scientific Reviewing from National Academy of Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Howard Crosby Warren Medal from the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions from the American Psychological Association. Schacter also received Harvard’s Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Many of Schacter’s ideas and findings are summarized in his 1996 book, Searching for Memory, and his 2001 book, The Seven Sins of Memory, both named as New Times Notable Books of the Year, and both winners of the American Psychological Association’s William James Book Award. More recently, he has co-authored an introductory text, Psychology (2nd Ed., 2011), with Daniel T. Gilbert and Daniel M. Wegner.