Human Nature and Potentials Lab

Welcome to our lab!

Human beings are not perfect by nature, but we all have the potentials to grow. What are our natural psychological tendencies, and what factors (e.g., cognitive, motivational and experiential) help us grow and transcend ourselves? We pursue this broad question in terms of three central aspects of humanity: moral transcendence (morality), goals and achievement (competence), and the happiness and meaning of human existence (subjective experience). Integrating perspectives from developmental, social, philosophical, evolutionary and cross-cultural psychology, we study individuals’ capacities to evaluate, pursue and improve each aspect; we are also especially interested in how these fundamental aspects influence each other and together contribute to a good life.