Positive Psychology Researchers: Top Influencers’ Database

Positive Psychology Researchers header Years ago, Lisa Sansom, MAPP, of LVS Consulting started a list of positive psychology researchers, using a Google spreadsheet and filling in all the names of the researchers that she knew about from her U Penn MAPP studies. She has been so kind as to hand this project over to me so that we can now reach out to all of you positive psychology practitioners and enthusiasts together.

The aim of this database is to enable you to look up any positive psychology researcher or research topic in the world, by name or topic. By using a database, the list can easily be updated and expanded.

My aim is to maintain and add to the database as much as I can and to make it publicly available. This means you are allowed to copy, print, export or republish the list as you see fit. (Please mention its source when you do)

Since this is quite a task, I would really like to invite you to help me make the list more accurate and complete by leaving a comment below. Thank you so much and enjoy!


How to Use This List?

You can choose to see the full list of entries at once by selecting ‘Show all entries‘ at the upper left corner of the list. Because of the loading time of the webpage, we set the default to 25 entries.

By clicking on a certain column, you can sort the whole list alphabetically (A-Z) for that specific criterium, such as ‘First name’, ‘Last name’, ‘Area of research’ etc. Looking for a specific name? Try using the ‘Search:’ function at the upper right corner of the list. That might save you some time!


Who Qualifies as a Positive Psychology Researcher?

Researchers who:

  1. Are affiliated with an institution or organization that has some form of ethics review committee that oversees and approves human subject research
  2. Have published in peer-reviewed journals appropriate to their field
  3. Consider themselves to be a researcher (litmus test)
  4. Conduct research in a field that is aligned with the Positive Psychology Center’s definition of positive psychology – i.e.: a field that is generally considered to be “positive” and advances the scientific knowledge of human flourishing and well-being.

A special thanks go out to John Coffey for his extensive contribution to the database below.

Please note that the following table is not mobile-friendly. It’s best to view it on a desktop.

First name Last name Area of research Institute Country Website
Acacia Parks positive interventions Hiram College USA Visit
Albert Bandura agency, self-regulation Stanford University USA Visit
Alex Wood personality, well-being, social life, positive clinical psychology University of Manchester UK Visit
Allan Luks altruism USA Visit
Anthony Grant coaching psychology, goal attainment University of Sydney Australia Visit
Barbara Fredrickson positive emotions, flourishing University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill USA Visit
Barry Schwartz choice, practical wisdom Swarthmore College USA Visit
Carol Kauffman coaching Harvard Medical School USA Visit
Carol Dweck Fixed mindset, growth mindset Stanford University USA Visit
Christine Carter social well-being, emotional well-being, compassion, families, meaning University of California USA Visit
Christopher Feudtner hope (pediatric palliative care) Children's Hospital of Philadelphia USA Visit
Christopher Peterson character strengths, well-being University of Michigan USA Visit
Dan Bowling well-being in law Duke University USA Visit
Daniel Gilbert affective forecasting, choice, social perception Harvard University USA Visit
David Cooperrider appreciative inquiry Case Western Reserve University USA Visit
David Myers happiness, group influence, social-serving bias Hope College USA Visit
Ed Diener subjective well-being, happiness, satisfaction with life, national well-being University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign USA Visit
Elizabeth Dunn self-knowledge, affective forecasting, implicit social cognition, happiness University of British Columbia Canada Visit
Ellen Langer mindfulness, decision making, aging, illusion of control Harvard University USA Visit
George Vaillant aging, adult development Harvard Medical School USA Visit
Ilona Boniwell perceived time use, well-being, positive education, coaching, time perspective University of East London UK Visit
Iris Mauss emotional self-regulation University of Denver USA Visit
Isaac Prilleltensky community well-being University of Miami USA Visit
James Maddux self-regulation, self-efficacy George Mason University USA Visit
James Pawelski philosophy, positive humanities University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
James Prochaska change University of Rhode Island USA Visit
James Pennebaker writing and health University of Texas USA Visit
Jane Gillham resilience University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
Jason van Allen clinical University of Kansas USA Visit
Jeanne Nakamura Quality of Life research center, engagement, creativity, good work, againg, mentoring Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
John Gottman relationships Gottman Relationship Institute USA Visit
Jonathan Haidt morality, elevation, awe, admiration University of Virginia USA Visit
Karen Reivich resilience, Penn resiliency project, comprehensive soldier fitness University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
Kenneth Pargament spirituality Bowling Green State University USA Visit
Kim Cameron positive organizational scholarship, organizational effectiveness, leadership, organizational culture Michigan Ross Business School USA Visit
Laura King self perception, narrative contruction, well-being University of Missouri USA Visit
Maree Roche Metamodel Self-determination, leadership WINTEC New Zealand Visit
Martin Seligman learned helplessness, optimism, well-being University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
Michael Steger quality of life therapy, meaning in life, health, intimate relationships, coping, culture Colorado State University USA Visit
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow, engagement, well-being at work, creativity, peak performance Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
Nansook Park well-being University of Michigan USA Visit
Paul Rozin cultural psychology, purity, food University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
Paul Wong meaning International Network on Personal Meaning Canada Visit
Peter Salovey emotional intelligence, moods, health protective behaviours Yale University USA Visit
Ray Fowler physical health (retired) USA Visit
Rick Snyder hope, forgiveness University of Kansas USA Visit
Robert Biswas-Diener coaching, cultural happiness Portland State University USA Visit
Robert Kegan adult education, adult development, adult learning, constructive development, subject-object theory Harvard Graduate School of Education USA Visit
Robert Emmons gratitude, thankfulness, positive interventions, personal strivings University of California USA Visit
Roy Baumeister emotion, self-regulation, ego-depletion, meaning Florida State University USA Visit
Ruut Veenhoven World Database of Happiness, social conditions for human happiness Erasmus University Netherlands Visit
Ryan Niemiec character strengths, mindfulness VIA Institute on Character USA Visit
Shane Lopez character strengths, hope, well-being Gallup Organization USA Visit
Sonja Lyubomirsky happiness, flourishing University of California USA Visit
Stephen Post altruism Stony Brook University USA Visit
Tayyab Rashid strengths University of Toronto Canada Visit
Todd Kashdan curiosity, gratitude, mindfulness, savoring, purposeful living George Mason University USA Visit
Tom Rath character strengths, organizational well-being, employee engagement, leadership Gallup Organization USA Visit
Veronika Huta well-being, eudaimonia, excellence University of Ottawa Canada Visit
Edward Deci motivation, self-determination theory University of Rochester USA Visit
Angela Duckworth personality trait grit, academic success University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
Jane Dutton positive organizational behavior, high quality connections University of Michigan USA Visit
Adam Grant work motivation, prosocial helping and giving behaviors, job design and meaningful work, initiative and proactive behaviors, burnout, leadership Wharton University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
Daniel Kahneman Formulation of Prospect Theory, Decision-Making, Judgment, Hedonic Psychology Princeton University USA Visit
Fred Luthans Positive Organizational Behavior, Psychological Capital University of Nebraska USA Visit
Richard Ryan Motivation, Description of Self-Determination Theory Australian Catholic University Australia Visit
Carol Ryff Eudaimonic Well-Being, Positive Health, and Aging University of Wisconsin USA Visit
Kennon Sheldon Goals and Well-Being, the “Self-Concordance Model” of healthy Goal-Striving University of Missouri USA Visit
Dacher Keltner emotion, social interaction, negotiating morality, power, status UC Berkeley USA Visit
Everett Worthington forgiveness Virginia Commonwealth University USA Visit
Donald Clifton strengths University of Nebraska-Lincoln USA Visit
Shane Lopez hope USA Visit
Aaron Jarden flourishing, well-being Auckland University of Technology New Zealand Visit
Sue Langley positive workplaces, leaders and teams Langley Group Australia Visit
Susan David emotional skills, leadership, and coaching effectiveness Harvard University USA Visit
Dave Webb forensic psychology University of Sheffield Spain Visit
Robert Vallerand intrinsic and extrinsic motivation Université du Québec à Montréal Canada Visit
Michelle Fortier pediatric pain USA Visit
Emiliana Simon-Thomas health and happiness to social affiliation, caregiving, and collaborative relationships UC Berkeley USA Visit
Tom Gilovich causal attribution, emotion, mood, affect
judgment, and decision making
social cognition
Cornell USA Visit
Jim Harter relationships between work-unit employee engagement and business results University of Nebraska-Lincoln USA Visit
Gabriel Grant sustainable development Yale University USA Visit
Sue Roffey positive relationships, behavior University of Western Sydney Australia & UK Visit
Heidi Grant motivation Columbia University USA Visit
Tim Kasser materialism and well-being Knox College USA Visit
Shelly Taylor social psychology, health psychology, and social cognition University of California, Los Angeles USA Visit
Paul Zak nueroeconomics and oxytocin Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
Shawn Achor Positive Psychology, finding success through happiness Harvard University USA Visit
Richard Davidson kindness, compassion, altruism, forgiveness, mindfulness and well-being University of Wisconsin-Madison USA Visit
Salvatore R. Maddi personality, psychopathology, health psychology, creativity University of California, Irvine USA Visit
Stefan Schulenberg clinical-disaster psychology, meaning and purpose in life, positive psychology, psychological assessment, and forensic psychology University of Mississippi USA Visit
Jamie Gruman well-being in the workplace University of Guelph Canada Visit
Marie-Helene Budworth Learning, motivation, transfer of training, group process York University USA Visit
Lea Waters positive psychology, positive education, positive organisations and positive parenting University of Melbourne Australia Visit
Lucie Mandeville humanist and positive psychology Université de Sherbrooke Canada Visit
Carmelo Vazquez positive emotions in Clinical psychology Complutense University of Madrid Spain Visit
Dianne Vella-Brodrick positive education and workplace well-being University of Melbourne Australia Visit
Antonella Delle Fave optimal living and positive health University of Milan Italy Visit
Stewart Donaldson health promotion, positive & organizational psychology, career development, cross-cultural and international evaluation and research, and applied research methods Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
Maria Elena Garassini virtues and strengths and the concept of flow and resilience Metropolitan University Venezuela Visit
Nick Haslam dehumanization, essentialism, folk psychiatry, objectification, and stigma University of Melbourne Australia Visit
John Helliwell Well-Being, Social Capital, Applied Macroeconomics, International Economics, Comparative Economic Growth, Natural Resource Economics University of British Columbia Canada Visit
Rose Inza-Kim reality therapy Korea Counseling Center Korea Visit
Hans Henrik Knoop learning and creativity in education and professional work Aarhus University Denmark Visit
Marlena Kossakowska Clinical & health psychology, resilience, stress, coping, and stress management University of Social Sciences and Humanities Poland Visit
Charles Martin-Krumm links between optimism and cognitive, behavioral, and emotional variables IUFM of Rennes – University of Western Brittany France Visit
Richard Layard mental health, wellbeing, labour, unemployment, educational policy, happiness London School of Economics UK Visit
Helena Marujo Happiness and applications to organizational, community and national contexts University of Lisbon Portugal Visit
Mario Mikulincer attachment styles in adulthood, personality processes in interpersonal relationships, evolutionary psychology, human learned helplessness and depression, trauma and post-traumatic processes, coping with stress, and qualitative research of emotional states Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzlyia Israel Visit
Luis Miguel Neto Appreciative Inquiry , Solution Focus Approach, Developing Sense of Humour or Cafe World University of Lisbon Portugal Visit
Kaiping Peng intricate relationship between cultures and social cognition University of California at Berkeley USA Visit
Sarah Pressman Stress, Positive Emotions, Physiological Pathways (e.g., endocrine, cardiovascular), Health Psychology, Social Relationships University of California, Irvine USA Visit
Willibald Ruch Positive Psychology, humor, test construction, dispositions toward laughter and ridicule University of Zurich Switzerland Visit
Marei Salama-Younes positive psychology and the psychology of physical activity Helwan University Egypt Visit
Kamlesh Singh Positive Psychology, Applied Positive Psychology, Environmental Psychology, Psychometrics, Community Psychology, and Rural Women and Adolescents Indian Institute of Technology Delhi India Visit
Alena Slezåckovå hope, meaning Masaryk University Czech Republic Visit
Alejandro Castro Solano test construction, leadership and positive psychology University of Palermo Italy Visit
Philip Streit Psychotherapy, Health, Leadership and Coaching Karl-Franzens-University Graz Austria Visit
Sombat Tapanya violence prevention in children and youth. Chiang Mai University Thailand Visit
Margarita Tarragona collaborative and narrative therapies and the implications of Positive Psychology for therapy and consultation Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico Visit
Ewa Trzebinska Cognitive psychology of personality psychology, mental disorders and psychotherapy Warsaw University Poland Visit
Joar Vitterso Quality of life, positive psychology, methodology, tourism University of Tromsø Norway Visit
Lei Wang leadership, social networks, and team knowledge transfer University of California at Berkeley USA Visit
Marie Wissing Positive Psychology, Psychosocial Health, Neuropsychology, Multi-disciplinary research in health and well-being North West University South Africa Visit
Philip Zimbardo Aggression, conflict, peace, attitudes/beliefs, causal attribution, helping, prosocial behavior, intergroup relations, interpersonal processes, personality, individual differences, persuasion, social influence, and social cognition Harvard University USA Visit
Jacquelynne S. Eccles family and school influences on development; development in high-risk settings; development of self-esteem, activity preferences, and task choice; adolescent development; identity formation; biosocial influences and development; gender role development; and the role of ethnicity in development and socialization University of Michigan USA Visit
Michael Ungar resilience among children, youth and families and how they together survive adversity in culturally diverse ways Dalhousie University Canada Visit
Kimberly Schonert-Reichl child and adolescent social and emotional learning (SEL) and development with a particular emphasis on identifying the processes and mechanisms that foster positive development, such as empathy, optimism, and altruism University of British Columbia British Columbia Visit
Mark T. Greenberg developmental processes in risk and non-risk populations with a specific emphasis on aggression, violence, and externalizing disorders Pennsylvania State University USA Visit
Reed W. Larson Adolescence; organized youth activities and programs; youth practice; adolescence and globalization University of Illinois USA Visit
Suniya S. Luthar vulnerability and resilience among various populations including youth in poverty and children in families affected by mental illness Arizonia State University USA Visit
Julie F. Troum motivational issues musicians face during training activities with respect to the individual needs, well-being, and personal satisfaction of the training musician University of South Florida USA Visit
Corey L.M. Keyes social psychology and mental health Emory College USA Visit
Kate Hefferon Post-traumatic growth among female breast cancer survivors, existential psychology, optimal experiences, the psychology of physical activity and interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) University of East London UK Visit
Itai Ivtzan combination of psychology and spirituality, positive psychology, psychological & spiritual growth, consciousness, and meditation The University of East London UK Visit
Tim Lomas meditation on men’s wellbeing, using a mixed-methods design comprising narrative interviews, cognitive testing, and EEG measurement University of East London UK Visit
C. Richard Snyder Hope, Forgiveness, Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
Motivation, Goal Setting
Personality, Individual Differences
Research Methods, Assessment
Self and Identity, Social Cognition,
University of Kansas USA Visit
Roger Wood neurobehavioural issues Swansea University UK Visit
Lee Newman behaviors related to the quality of thinking and decision making in the workplace IE University Madrid Visit
Felicia A. Huppert psychological well-being or positive mental health and the relationship between emotion and cognition Cambridge University UK Visit
June Gruber positive emotion disturbance University of Colorado Boulder USA Visit
Marilyn Price-Mitchell child and adolescent development and youth civic engagement Fielding Graduate University USA Visit
Ad Bergsma happiness at work Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands Visit
Hein Zegers Positive Psychology and the science of Well-Being University of Humanistic Studies Netherlands Visit
Monique Sternin Positive Deviance approach Tufts University USA Visit
Roger Swartz acilitation, leadership, managing change and conflict, and developing effective work groups Harvard University USA Visit
Ian Rothmann prospering of people at work, the antecedents and outcomes thereof, and intervention programmes that could contribute to prospering of individuals and organisations North-West University South Africa Visit
Linda Theron South African communities and youth define resilience, and how our youths’ processes of resilience are embedded in local culture North-West University South Africa Visit
Tumi Khumalo Optimizing the potential of the youth North-West University South Africa Visit
John Paul Stephens Psychology of coordination, performance adaptation, performativity/practice, organizational aesthetics, mindfulness/attention, organizational routines and knowledge, high-quality connections, character strengths & strengths-based feedback Case Western Reserve University USA Visit
Richard Lerner life-span human development, social change, relations between adolescents and their peers, families, schools, and communities Tufts University USA Visit
Bart Tkaczyk research-based practice and practice-informed research University of California at Berkeley USA Visit
Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton Intergroup Relations, Stigma, Prejudice, Culture, Education USA Visit
Michael McCullough forgiveness and gratitude University of Miami USA Visit
Richard Davidson emotions, kindness, compassion University of Wisconsin-Madison USA Visit
Jamil Zaki affective science, empathy, positive emotions Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory USA Visit
Daniel Batson altruism, empathic concern, and psychology of religion. University of Tennessee USA Visit
Timothy Sharp emotional fitness, happiness RMIT University USA Visit
Ann Marie Roepke posttraumatic growth and positive interventions University of Pennsylvania USA Visit
Christine Robitschek Personal Growth Initiative Texas Tech University USA Visit
Jennifer Aaker meaning, giving, well-being Stanford Graduate School of Business USA Visit
Shauna Shapiro mindfulness, emotional intelligence Santa Clara University USA Visit
Matthew Killingsworth happiness Harvard University USA Visit
Robert Haringsma effects of self-help, self-discipline, self-confidence VU University Amsterdam The Netherlands Visit
S. Katherine Nelson joy, positive parenthood, well-being University of California USA Visit
Kristen Layous well-being, happiness, positive interventions Stanford University USA Visit
John Coffey developmental psychology, well-being, human plasticity Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
Margaret L. Kern healthy functioning, psychosocial processes underlying health University of Melbourne Australia Visit
Laurence Steinberg positive psychology of adolescence, behavioral development Temple University USA Visit
Mark D. Holder science of happiness, happiness in children Memorial University of Newfoundland Canada Visit
Michael Pluess developmental plasticity, psychological development University of London United Kingdom Visit
Thomas Chan good mentoring, hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, flow, and purpose in retirement Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
Jessica Borelli close relationships and emotion in children and adults Pomona college USA Visit
Kendall Bronk Adolescent development Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
Michael Warren meditation, prayer, well-being Claremont Graduate University USA Visit
Steve Cole genetics, well-being UCLA USA Visit
Sarah Algoe gratitude, emotions in social interactions University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill USA Visit
Laura Wray-Lake social development in youth University of Rochester USA Visit


Which Positive Psychology Researchers do you know that are not included yet?

Please leave a comment below with your suggestion so that we have a list of researchers to add in one place and so that others can see your suggestion. In case you’d like to submit a headshot of the researcher along with your suggestion, please send it to info@positivepsychology.com. Thank you!

About the Author

Seph Fontane Pennock, BBA, is the co-founder of PositivePsychology.com. Seph strongly believes that we can deal with most of life’s absurdities by leveraging human connection and challenging ourselves, instead of using dogma or pharmaceutical drugs.


  1. amy


    I have an MS in K-12 School Counseling and am interested in pursuing a Ph.D in Positive Psychology. I live in Israel and wondering if you have any PS Researchers in the Middle East who would be willing to supervise? Thank you for any light you can shed in this area!

  2. hadil

    thank you very nice website

  3. Yaroslav Aristeiguieta

    Hello, this list is great and has served me to find additional research for my workshops. However, I don’t see Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar who has taken positive psychology to a higher level too. Thanks for putting this together and looking to improve it. Thanks for all the information you share on your website, it is amazing! I wish I could also have the same resources in Spanish. If you are interested in expanding to that language, I’ll be happy to assist. Have a great day!!

  4. data keluaran sgp

    This is very worthwhile, you’re a very skilled blogger.I have joined your rss feed and look forward to reading more of your excellent post.Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  5. Megan

    Eranda Jayawickreme at Wake Forest University does research on post-traumatic growth as positive personality change, moral personality, wisdom, well-being and integrative theories of personality http://college.wfu.edu/sites/eranda-jayawickreme/

  6. Padmashree R P

    Respected Sir/madam,
    I am a research scholar studying the role of local authority in implementation of Right to Education. I constructed a tool on the roles assigned and their levels of implementation. When i went for data collection, I literally had to educate them and there was total lack of awareness itself. Now, I want to study the awareness levels of Local Authority members. Kindly, help me by guiding me on what tool to study awareness levels. I will be honored by your inputs.

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