Research Interests

Broadly, my research areas include personality, motivation, and personality development.

Context-specific Goals and Personality

My primary research area explores how personality and motives are integrated concepts. In an application of Whole Trait Theory (Fleeson, 2012; Fleeson & Jayawickreme, 2015), my work tested whether specific, momentary goals related to (and caused) changes in personality states (i.e., one’s personality in a given moment). For example, when a person is pursuing the goal of "trying to have fun," he or she becomes more extraverted to achieve this goal. People use personality states as a means, or tools, that help them achieve their goals.

I also extended this work to other areas of motivation, including achievement goals. Using Elliot and McGregor's (2001) 2 x 2 achievement goal framework. I researched how these context-specific achievement goals have different relationships with the Big Five personality traits.

Adolescent Personality Development and Risk

My work with the Youth Activity Participation Survey of Western Australia (YAPS-WA) focused on how personality development in adolescence is related to risky behavior, such as binge drinking and substance use. This work explored these developmental trajectories in relation to different contextual factors, such as activity participation, sports participation, and peer influence.

Individual Differences and Talent Development

My work with the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) has touched on a variety of topics, but the common theme is the importance of individual differences (e.g., personality, ability, educational-vocational interests, and lifestyle preferences) and how they predict life outcomes. These outcomes are varied, and they include STEM leadership, health, and volunteering.