More about Dr. Ryan Howell

Dr. Ryan T. Howell is the director of the The Personality and Well-Being Lab which focuses on understanding the factors, especially financial, that affect human happiness and the benefits of happiness to individuals. For example, in Howell's meta-analysis (2008) his findings show that for all people, especially those living in the developing world, savings and wealth accumulation behaviors matter most for long term happiness. Also, a primary question of the PWB lab is "Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases?" Our past work has shown that life experiences lead to longer-term satisfaction - likely because purchased experiences provide memory capital. That is, we don't tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object. Yet, despite the need to understand how people can use their income to increase their well-being, surprisingly little is known about the processes by which one may resist urges to buy material items and invest in experiential consumption. 

Academic History:

Doctor of Philosophy, 2005, Social / Personality Psychology Division, Psychology Department, University of California, Riverside. Dissertation Title:  Models of Happiness: The Role of Personality Traits and  Daily Experience in Understanding Life Satisfaction  (Chair: Daniel J. Ozer).

Master of Arts, 2002, Social / Personality Psychology Division, Psychology Department, University of California, Riverside. 

Bachelors of Science, 1998, Psychology, Cum Laude, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA 1998.

Professional Experience:

2012-present: Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University

2007-2012: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University

2005-2007: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, California State University, Bakersfield.

San Francisco State University Instruction: 

Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design, Statistical Analysis of Psychological Research, Introductory Psychological Statistics, Honor's Research, Field Services Seminar/Psychological Field Service, Current Issues in Psychology, Seminar in Selected Problems.

Contact Ryan Howell at (415) 405-2140 (office) or  rhowell@sfsu.edu

Department of Psychology 

San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Avenue, Bldg., 301


San Francisco, California 94132-4168


U.S.A.