portrait of Dan Simons
Daniel J. Simons, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology
Head of the Visual Cognition Laboratory
Department of Psychology
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

prof.simons@gmail.com (primary)
dsimons@illinois.edu (university)

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cover of Nobody's Fool


Dr. Daniel J. Simons is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois where he heads the Visual Cognition Laboratory. In addition to his position in the Department of Psychology, he has courtesy appointments in the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising and the Gies College of Business. His research explores the limits of awareness and memory, the reasons why we often are unaware of those limits, and the implications of such limits for our personal and professional lives.

Dr. Simons received his BA from Carleton College and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Cornell University. He spent five years on the faculty at Harvard University before moving to Illinois in 2002. He is a Fellow and Charter Member of the Association for Psychological Science, a fellow of the Psychonomic Society, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and he has received many awards for his research and teaching, including the 2003 Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association. He and his co-author Christopher Chabris received the 2004 Ig Nobel Award (given for research that "first makes you laugh and then makes you think"). He was the founding editor in chief of the APS journal, Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science.

He is the co-author, with Christopher Chabris, of the 2023 book Nobody's Fool: Why We Get Taken In and What We Can Do About It as well as the 2010 New York Times bestseller, The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us. He has published more than 100 scholarly papers and has penned articles for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other outlets. His work has been featured in science museums worldwide. In addition to his talks for academic audiences, he speaks regularly to companies, organizations, societies, and the broader public.

Dr. Simons has won awards for his teaching and mentoring, and he currently teaches undergraduate statistics and graduate courses on research practices, speaking and writing for broad audiences, and special topics related to attention and awareness (including a course on psychology and magic).

His hobbies include biking, juggling, bridge, chess, and wearing gorilla suits in public.