Contact by Email: tkashdan@gmu.edu
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Postdoctoral Fellowship

Seeking one or two postdoctoral fellows for 3-year periods to begin around May 2020 or close proximity (NOTE: WE PUSHED THE STARTING DATE BACK TO ATTRACT THE BEST CANDIDATES). Fellows will work on currently funded studies (see below for details). Our Well-Being Laboratory remains productive in terms of research output, dissemination efforts, and talent development for the next generation of scientists. We are primarily interested in three new lines of research:

  1. Better understand and improve civil, open-minded discourse. Our lab wants to understand and improve group dynamics in the current social/work environments where competition is fierce, humans are polarized, and technological and demographic shifts are rapidly altering the way we communicate, work, and live. How can individuals and social groups cooperate across group boundaries? How can we reduce defensive reactions that are shaped by identity and ideological motives?  To improve the quality of ideas and products, how can groups create the conditions for dissent, deviance, and difference to be expressed and heard? These and other related questions will be explored.
  2. Design interventions that increase political tolerance and civility. We are developing interventions for improving discourse between people and groups with different ideologies. Our aim is to uncover the most effective and efficient strategies to disable self-defense mechanisms that steer people away from useful information that runs counter to their identity/ideology. To date, our focus has been on the value of cultivating curiosity, intellectual humility, and purpose in life. We are exploring ways to improve communication between liberals and conservatives, with the hope that these lessons can be applied to other realms of in-group favoritism and out-group hostility (e.g., relations between members of different races and sexes).
  3. Better understand and facilitate innovation in groups. We are interested in understanding groups that profess a desire to be creative and innovative and yet when confronted with different, dissenting, deviant ideas, shut down. We want to better understand minority voices that offer alternative, useful ways for improving ideas, processes, and products in schools, the workplace, and other groups such as athletic teams.

For each of these areas of inquiry, we are interested in the basic science, wide-range dissemination, and societal impact. For all three of the objectives listed above, we plan to conduct interdisciplinary work to ensure that our science informs organizations, public policy, education, and is communicated to the general public. It should be noted that we are still studying many themes in our past work including psychological flexibility, well-being, psychological strengths (e.g., curiosity, perseverance), emotion generation and regulation, social anxiety, social relationships, sexuality, and emotional disorders. 

The successful applicant will work collaboratively to design studies, oversee data collection, management, and analysis, disseminate findings in scientific journals and conferences, and assist in the mentorship of graduate students to do all of the above. Applicants should have a Ph.D. in psychology and a commitment to open scientific values that support rigorous, reproducible research. Demonstrated statistical expertise and experience with computer programming and R is preferred.

It is worth mentioning that post-docs will receive two mentors, Drs. Todd Kashdan (www.toddkashdan.com) and Patrick McKnight (https://psychology.gmu.edu/people/pmcknigh), who have worked together for 15 years. Because we have published over 200 peer reviewed journal articles, we are in a generativity stage. Incoming post-docs will have unprecedented opportunities for first author manuscript submissions and publications. We have over 15 archival datasets that will be readily available for post-docs to develop questions, analyze data, and write up first-author manuscripts. Our generativity and approach to science is detailed in our Well-Being Laboratory manual. Prospective applicants should send a current CV, a statement of research interests, and contact information for three professional references by email to both tkashdan@gmu.edu and pmcknigh@gmu.edu

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