Thank you for visiting the Purpose and Identity Processes Laboratory. Through research, we seek to understand how identity and a sense of purpose in life shape – and often enhance – everyday experience.  

Our work follows two paths:

First, we want to uncover the correlates and consequences of having a sense of a purpose in life. Our studies primarily examine how purpose develops and test factors that amplify or diminish the benefits of feeling purposeful. Because knowing who one is and where one is going both appear valuable throughout the lifespan, we focus mainly on sense of purpose among adolescents and young adults, in hopes of promoting long-term and sustainable well-being.

Second, we are interested in how personal and social identities shape daily life. Our work shows that important aspects of identity (e.g., race, dietary preferences) influence what people think about, feel, and do in measurable ways. By attending to the various ways people define and label themselves, our work examines what kinds of things they notice or respond to in specific situations. Questions guiding this work include: How do salient aspects of identity function as sources of resilience in the face of challenging or stressful everyday experiences, and how do these relationships dynamically unfold over time?

We apply sound research methods to examine basic psychological processes in hopes that our work matters equally to scientific and social communities. Translating our work for those who might benefit from it is the end goal of our efforts, and when this is done well we are happiest.