Research Areas

Ongoing Lab Projects

Meta-Analysis of Post-Traumatic Growth

Alex is a first-year graduate student working with Dr. Jayawickreme on a meta-analysis project. This project examines how post-traumatic growth is related to several psychosocial and mental health outcomes. Post-traumatic growth describes the degree to which a person can identify positive life changes as a result of their adverse life experience. In a 2006 meta-analytic study, post-traumatic growth was found to relate to fewer depressive symptoms, and higher measures of positive well-being; however, it appears to have a more counter-intuitive relationship with other aspects of psychosocial functioning. The positive psychology community could benefit from an updated meta-analysis that builds on prior findings with newer studies to learn more about how post-traumatic growth may contribute to quality of life and subjective well being.

Intellectual Humility as a Component of Wisdom

Corinne is a first-year graduate student in the Psychology Department. She is tasked with the role of Project leader in an Intellectual Humility project. The primary goal of the research project is to explore individual differences in daily manifestations of intellectual humility, and the situations in which people behave in an intellectually humble manner. Prior works have linked intellectual humility to benefits in schoolwork, social relationships, well-being, forgiveness and religious tolerance. While the value of traits such as intellectual humility for development of wisdom has become increasingly clear (e.g., Grossman et al., 2016; Jayawickreme & Blackie, 2016), there is a lack of clarity over how the trait is defined and assessed. For the purposes of this research project, we define intellectual humility as as a “disposition to be alert to and to ‘own’ (e.g. admit to and take responsibility for) one’s cognitive limitations and mistakes” (following Baehr, 2017) to distinguish it from the related traits of curiosity and open-mindedness. However, given that there is uncertainty concerning the validity of existing intellectual humility scales, our preliminary work for this project consists of creating and validating trait and state measures of intellectual humility, as well as identifying situational contingencies for the manifestation of intellectual humility.

Project Re-entry 

Laura is a second-year graduate student in the Psychology Department. She is currently working on two projects. The first is a collaboration with Project Re-entry (a local organization that assists prisoners as they transition from life in prison to life in the community), for a longitudinal study of the well-being of recently-released former offenders. Specifically, it looks at how the presence of themes of redemption, agency, and communion in short, autobiographical narratives collected at multiple time points is associated with wellbeing in recently-released former offenders over time. The second study investigates the role of these narratives in impacting the social stigma experienced by former offenders.  It examines the extent to which the presence of redemptive themes influences undergraduate students’ social distancing attitudes toward former-offender narrators, as well as the moderating effects of personality characteristics (such as Openness to Experience, Social Dominance Orientation, and implicit theory of personality).

Wisdom and Adversity 

Le Vy is a second-year graduate student and a visiting scholar from Humbolt University (Berlin, Germany) . Her project focuses on the empirical foundations of psychological wisdom research. She is conducting a systematic literature review to determine distinct conceptualizations of wisdom. In addition, the review aims to categorize components of wisdom into an integrative model and evaluate the empirical basis for each component. Eventually, she hopes to provide an empirically backed up definition of wisdom and suggestions for further research.