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‘Well-Being’ Psychologist Lucas Named MSU Foundation Professor

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Michigan State University (MSU) professor of psychology Richard Lucas has been named an MSU Foundation Professor.

“This award recognizes Professor Lucas’s highly respected research as well as his admirable leadership in the field of psychology,” said MSU Provost June Youatt. “MSU Foundation Professorships demonstrate the university’s commitment to invest in our top faculty scholars and encourage their work.”

The title is bestowed by MSU, with support from the MSU Foundation. Lucas will receive supplemental research support over five years and hold the MSU Foundation Professor designation permanently.

“Rich is known internationally for his research on happiness and subjective well-being, positive emotions, and the effects of life events on life satisfaction,” said Interim Dean of the College of Social Science Neal Schmitt. “His work in personality traits, extraversion, and personality assessment has been supported by the National Institute on Aging, among others, and has been published extensively in the top research journals in the field.”

According to Stephen Hsu, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, the work Lucas has done to further scientists’ – and society’s – understanding of human behavior underscores MSU’s mission to advance the common good. “Exploring and quantifying peoples’ sense of well-being across cultures and through time, as Dr. Lucas has done, has far-reaching implications for the future of humanity.”

Lucas, who joined MSU in 2001, is currently editor-in-chief of the Journal of Research in Personality and has been an outspoken proponent of replication studies, that is, conducting follow-up research that can increase the confidence in the results of an original study. “Over the past few years,” said Lucas, “psychologists have taken a prominent role in developing strategies and methodologies for improving the quality of scientific research and increasing the confidence in the results of published studies.

“As part of this effort,” said Lucas, “the editors of the Journal of Research in Personality and I hope that by encouraging – and publishing – high quality replication studies, we will be able to provide critical information about which initial discoveries really hold up over time.”

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