Mike Prentice, PHD

Hi, I’m Mike and I study personality and motivation with particular interest in values, moral character, and well-being.

My research tends to focus on two broad questions: (1) what kinds of goals and values are conducive to personal and social well-being, and (2) how do aspects of character and our social contexts contribute to forming and maintaining beneficial value orientations and behaviors and promoting well-being? I am interested in using the answers to these questions to address personal and social well-being, particularly as they are hindered by social contexts and disparities in education and economic opportunity.

I'm a Postdoctoral Research Associate to the Beacon Project in the Psychology Department at Wake Forest University. Prior to my current position, I was a full-time instructor in psychology at Knox College, a PhD Candidate in Social and Personality Psychology at the University of Missouri, and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Salzburg. I am a first-generation college graduate. I earned my B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy at Knox College, my M.A. at York University, and my Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology at the University of Missouri with a graduate minor in Quantitative Methods in Psychology.

My current work with the Beacon Project focuses on assessing and understanding people of exceptional moral character. Other current work addresses how values impact basic psychological needs and well-being and how traditional trait descriptions of personality can be integrated with motivational theories like Self-Determination Theory.

I have over 10 years of experience with data analysis, statistical reporting, and peer-reviewed publishing, and I have also taught statistics at the university level. My consulting experience with theory, design, and analysis ranges from non-profit organizations building survey-based insights for campaigns in the public interest, to individual academics working to produce high quality research, to government and private organizations designing and implementing research projects.

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