Jay studied psychology at Yale University, where he graduated cum laude with distinction in the major. His senior thesis in psychology was published in The Journal of Social Issues and cited over 150 times, and two of the magazine articles he wrote as an undergrad are still taught in Yale’s nonfiction writing classes.
Jay got his start as a journalist covering college life for Rolling Stone, then went on to cover comedy for The New York Times before developing a reporting specialty in psychology. As a psychology writer, Jay writes for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, and Slate, and his work appears in the anthology The Best of Technology Writing.
Jay served as Senior Editor at Psychology Today, where he covered neuroscience, behavioral economics, decision making, learning and memory, social influence and persuasion, consumer behavior, happiness, love and relationships, attraction and sex, and personality, writing and editing several of the magazine’s highest-selling cover stories.
As an interviewer, Jay has spoken to Spike Lee, Tim Roth, Willem Dafoe, Tony Robbins, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Mary Higgins Clark, Valerie Plame, Deborah Tannen, Bob Mankoff, Will Shortz, Greg Giraldo, Paula Scher, and Todd Hanson, as well as researchers such as Dan Ariely, Jonathan Haidt, and Helen Fisher. Jay also conducted George Carlin’s last interview—which the legendary comedian called the “most complete interview” of his life.
Jay has taught creative writing at Columbia University, and he is the founder and lead instructor of the New York Writers’ Intensive, which offers storytelling classes, writing workshops, and corporate training in New York City and across the country. He’s also the winner of The Moth, a live stage storytelling competition based in New York City, and his story “My Father’s Love” appears on The Moth Radio Hour and NPR.