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


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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