Human Nature and Potentials Lab

Welcome to the Human Nature and Potentials 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), emotional transcendence (happiness and meaning), and self-realization (uniqueness and potential). Integrating perspectives from developmental, social, philosophical, evolutionary and cross-cultural psychology, we study children’s and adults’ tendencies to value, pursue, and improve each aspect, especially how these fundamental aspects influence each other and together contribute to a good life.

News and Publications:

Mengdi’s master thesis is published at JEP: G! Congratulations, Mengdi!
Huang, M. & Yang, F. (in press). Self-transcendence or self-enhancement: People’s perceptions of meaning and happiness in relation to the self.

Newly accepted BBS commentary:
Yang, F. (in press). Cooperative care as origins of the “happy ape”? Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Newly published article:
Wang, X., Chen, Z., Van Tongeren, D. R., DeWall, C. N., & Yang, F. (2022). Permitting immoral behaviour: A generalized compensation belief hypothesis. British Journal of Psychology. Advanced online publication.

Yanwen’s master thesis is published at the Journal of Positive Psychology! Congratulations, Yanwen!
Yu, Y., Chen, X., Li, D., Liu, J., & Yang, F. (2022). Growing up happy: Longitudinal relations between children’s happiness and their social and academic functioning. The Journal of Positive Psychology. Advanced online publication.

Newly published article:
Yang, X., Yang, F., Guo, C., & Dunham, Y. (2022). Which group matters more: The relative strength of minimal vs. gender and race group memberships in children’s intergroup thinking. Acta Psychologica, 229, 103685.

Ishita is going to the PhD program at UC Irvine (Dr. Piff’s lab). Congratulations, Ishita!

Jinrui is going to the PhD program at Nanyang Technological University (Dr. Setoh’s lab). Congratulations, Jinrui! 

2021-2022

Six potentials lab alumni have been accepted into doctoral programs. Congratulations!!
Jacky Beck (Developmental Psychology, UC Irvine)
Mengdi Huang (Social Psychology,  Northwestern University)
Yena Kim (Behavioural Science, University of Chicago – Booth School of Business)
Margaret Wolfson (Clinical Psychology, Xaviers University)
Sarah Jensen (University of Utah – Eccles School of Business)
Jessica Lee (Developmental Psychology, University of British Columbia)

2020-2021

Artemisia Deluna, Margaret Wolfson, and Yanwen Yu have been accepted to present at SRCD 2021.

Jacqueline Beck, Jenny Chang, Kevin Wei, Margaret Wolfson, Mengdi Huang, and Sarah Jensen will present their projects at SPSP 2021.

2019-2020

Margaret Wolfson, thesis student, was awarded the Earl R. Franklin Research Fellowship for Summer 2020. (May 2020)

Matthew Tineo has won a scholarship from UChicago’s Leadership Alliance Program and will join our virtual lab this summer. Congratulations and Welcome, Matthew! (April 2020)

Kaylar Furlano, who worked with us as a summer intern, has been accepted by the Social Psychology PhD program at University of Nevada. Congratulations Kaylar! (April 2020)