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Welcome to the Growth Initiative lab page! My name is Eranda Jayawickreme and I’m an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and senior research fellow at the Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. I’m currently the Project Co-Leader of the Exemplar Interventions to Develop Character Project, a $1.68 million initiative funded by the John Templeton Foundation examining the role of moral exemplars in character development. I’m also currently a Science of Honesty Project Leader for the Honesty Project, a $4.4 million initiative exploring new directions in the study of the character virtue of honesty. I was formally the Project Co-Leader for the Pathways to Character Project, a $3.4 million initiative examining the possibilities for the strengthening of character following adversity, challenge or failure, and the Project Leader for the Promoting Intellectual Humility Among Middle-School Students: Developing an Educational Film and Preliminary Intervention Strategy Project. From 2011 to 2014, I was the Project Leader for the Growth Initiative, which focused on improving the quality of research on post-traumatic growth.

I received my Ph.D. in positive and social/personality psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. My research, which integrates my interests in both philosophy and psychology, focuses on post-traumatic growth as positive personality change, moral personality, wisdom, well-being and integrative theories of personality. I have worked with populations in Rwanda, Sri Lanka and various populations in the USA. My awards include the 2015 Rising Star award from the Association for Psychological Science (which recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field), Wake Forest’s 2018 Faculty Excellence in Research Award, a Mellon Refugee Initiative Fund Fellowship, and grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, the Templeton World Charity Foundation, the European Association for Personality Psychology, and the Asia Foundation/ USAID.

Read our 2021 consensus paper on post-traumatic growth in the Journal of Personality here

Visit our Pathways to Character site here and learn more about our recent funding competition here

Read our 2019 paper on post-traumatic growth in Current Directions in Psychological Science here

Read our 2014 target article on post-traumatic growth in the European Journal of Personality here

Read the special issue of the Journal of Value Inquiry based on our 2017 Wisdom Seminar at Fordham University here

Read about the relevance of Whole Trait Theory for the study of morality and ethics here, here, and here

View the call for proposals for our special issue of the European Journal of Personality on “Integrating Post-Traumatic Growth and Personality Change” here

Learn more about the cancelled Pan-Asian Summit on Wisdom, Morality and Character in the Polarized World (to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in May 2020) here

Visit the Beacon Project site here

Visit the Character Project site here

Here’s a link to a 2020 CNN.com article in which I discuss some limitations of current research on post-traumatic growth

Here’s a link to a 2019 interview I did on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time on the challenges of doing good research on post-traumatic growth

Here’s a link to a 2019 article that discusses the question of whether adversity can build character

Here’s a link to a 2018 podcast where I discuss Whole Trait Theory and its implications for the person-situation debate

Here are two articles that discuss my work on intellectual humility

Here’s a link to an article at Slate.com where I discuss the question of whether adversity can build character

Here a link to a NY Times piece about some research I did with my colleague Erik Helzer on well-being and control

Learn more about my research on character interventions here

Here’s a video of me discussing well-being at the 2014 NAIS Well-Being Summit

I’m also Lisa Blee‘s husband. Her latest book’s worth a read

And if you came to this website looking for answers to the question of how you could become happier, you could do worse than start here. Or here.