Mike Prentice, PHD

Hi, I’m Mike and I study personality and motivation with particular interest in values, morality (and 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 that drive well-being promoting thoughts, goals, and behaviors?

I'm a Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology Department at Wake Forest University. Prior to my current position, I was a Research Associate to the Beacon Project at Wake Forest. I was also 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 earned my B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy at Knox College. I am a first-generation college graduate. I earned 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 recent work with the Beacon Project focused on moral character and whether we should consider feeling like a moral person to be a psychological need. Other current work addresses moral character judgment processes, how the moral need functions at the within-person level, and how values impact perceptions for need satisfaction and the implication of such perceptions for well-being. I am also interested in 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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