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Rodica Damian, Ph.D.

Rodica Damian

Assistant Professor
Social Psychology
Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Heyne Building, Room 103B
ridamian [at] uh [dot] edu
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Biographical Summary

Dr. Rodica Damian is an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Houston. Her current research examines the role of diversifying experiences, life events, and personality by social context interactions on personality development, and downstream consequences for creativity, status attainment, and well-being. Dr. Damian studies these topics using multiple methods ranging from controlled laboratory experiments to large longitudinal studies that track people's lives and real-world outcomes over time. She collaborates on this research with colleagues across North America and Europe.

Dr. Damian has published more than 20 scientific papers and chapters so far, including several articles in international peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Research in Personality, and Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Research Interests

My research program is dedicated to understanding the precursors of status attainment, creative achievement, and well-being. In doing so, I use a person-by-situation interaction framework, where I examine the interplay of life experiences, social background factors, and individual differences, with a focus on the underlying cognitive and developmental processes. In particular, I am interested in diversifying experiences, which include both adverse and diverse life experiences, such as poverty and multiculturalism, respectively. I seek to understand how diversifying experiences, contribute to personality development, career success, and well-being, and why some people are better than others at coping with adversity and using diversity to their advantage.

For a more detailed list of research questions and current projects, click here.

Prospective Graduate Students

I am looking for highly motivated graduate students to join my team starting Fall 2016.

Are you curious which factors promote success, creativity, and happiness? How life experiences and social contexts shape our personalities and change us over time? Why some people thrive against all odds, while others are crushed by the weight of their misfortune? And how we can benefit from diversity in today’s globalizing world?

If you want to join my lab in this exciting scientific quest, then apply for admission to the Social Psychology program at the University of Houston. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Selected Publications

Damian, R. I., & Roberts, B. W. (2015). The associations of birth order with personality and intelligence in a representative sample of U.S. high school students. Journal of Research in Personality. Online first: 10.1016/j.jrp.2015.05.005

Damian, R. I., & Simonton, D. K. (2015). Psychopathology, adversity, and creativity: Diversifying experiences in the development of eminent African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108, 623-636. doi: 10.1037/pspi0000011

Damian, R. I., Su, R., Shanahan, M., Trautwein, U., Roberts, B. (2014).Can personality traits and intelligence compensate for background disadvantage? Predicting status attainment in adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Online first: 10.1037/pspp0000024

Damian, R. I., & Robins, R. W. (2013). Aristotle’s virtue or Dante’s deadliest sin? The pride-creativity link and the mediating role of motivation. Learning and Individual Differences, 26, 156-160. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2012.06.001

Damian, R. I., & Sherman, J. W. (2013). A process dissociation examination of cognitive processes underlying unconscious thought. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 228-237. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.10.018

Pozzebon, J., Damian, R. I., Hill, P., Lin, Y., Roberts, B., & Lapham, S. (2013). Establishing the validity and reliability of the Project Talent Personality Inventory. Frontiers in Psychology—Personality Science and Individual Differences, 4, 968. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00968

Saad, C. S., Damian, R. I., Benet-Martinez, V., Moons, W. G., & Robins, R. W. (2013). Multiculturalism and creativity: Effects of cultural context, bicultural identity, and cognitive fluency. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 369-375. doi: 10.1177/1948550612456560

Damian, R. I., & Robins, R. W. (2012). The link between dispositional pride and creative thinking depends on current mood. Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 765-769. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2012.07.003

Ritter, S. M., Damian, R. I., Simonton, D. K., van Baaren, R., Strick, M., Derks, J., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2012). Diversifying experiences enhance cognitive flexibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 961-964. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.009

Damian, R. I., & Simonton, D. K. (2011). From past to future art: The creative impact of Picasso’s 1935 Minotauromachy on his 1937 Guernica. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 5, 360-369. doi: 10.1037/a0023017