I lead a research group focusing on the two research "superquestions" that each involve several subsidiary questions.
What's the best way to understand personality variation?
* What is the most cross-culturally generalizable structure of personality attributes?
* What is the best (esp., valid) way to measure this structure?
* How do the dimensions in this structure relate to the mindset affective-motivational ‘personality system’ of the individual?
* How does variation in personality relate to the situations a person one is in?
* How does variation in personality relate to biological tendencies, including the genome?
* What are the sources of personality change (including sources related to beliefs and values)?
How do people vary, in ways that are especially consequential, in beliefs, values, and worldview?
* What is the most cross-culturally generalizable structure for inter-individual variation in belief and value systems?
* What kinds of values that have the largest effects on patterns of behavior and emotion?
* Which patterns of beliefs and values are associated with optimal human development, and which patterns encourage psychosocial dysfunction (e.g., alienation, militant extremism, genocide)?
* How are these patterns related to personality and to culture? (And do they say anything about the relation between culture and personality?)
The approach in this research group is “top-down” in the sense that we begin by (a) defining the most important dimensions of dispositional variation and then (b) seek to identify the mechanisms that most importantly account for that variation.
Much of my past work has been in developing and refining dimensional models for personality (the Big Five, and upgrading from the Big Five to a more comprehensive Big Six model) and beliefs and values (dimensions of ‘isms’). And much of my research involves international collaborations.
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