MUPC 2009 Keynote Speaker


Laura King did her undergraduate work at Kenyon College, where, an English major, she declared a second major, in psychology, during the second semester of her junior year. She completed her A.B. in English with high honors and distinction and in psychology with distinction in 1986. Laura then did graduate work at Michigan State University and the University of California, Davis, receiving her Ph.D. in personality psychology in 1991.

Laura began her career at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, moving to the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 2001, where she is now a professor. In addition to seminars in the development of character, social psychology, and personality psychology, she has taught undergraduate lecture courses in introductory psychology, introduction to personality psychology, and social psychology. At SMU, she received six different teaching awards, including the "M" award for "sustained excellence" in 1999. At the University of Missouri, she received the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity in 2004.

Her research, which has been funded by the National Institutes for Mental Health, has focused on a variety of topics relevant to the question of what it is that makes for a good life. She has studied goals, life stories, happiness, well-being, and meaning in life. In general, her work reflects an enduring interest in studying what is good and healthy in people. In 2001, her research accomplishments were recognized by a Templeton Prize in positive psychology. Laura's research (often in collaboration with undergraduate and graduate students) has been published in the Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Cognition and Emotion, the Journal of Personality, and other publications . A new paper on the place of regrets in maturity is forthcoming in the American Psychologist.

Currently editor-in-chief of the Journal of Research in Personality, Laura has also served as associate editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, as well as on numerous grant panels. She has edited or co-edited special sections of the Journal of Personality and the American Psychologist. In "real life," Laura is an accomplished cook and enjoys listening to music (mostly jazz vocalists and singer-songwriters), gardening, and chasing Sam, her 3-year-old son. (King, 2007)



King, L. A. (2007). The Science of Psychology: An Appreciative View. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Journal Articles:

Burton, C. M., & King, L. A. (2007, in press). The effects of (very) brief writing on health: The 2-minute miracle. British Journal of Health Psychology.

Burton, C.M., & King, L. A. (2004). The health benefits of writing about peak experiences. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 150-163.

Hicks, J. A., & King, L. A. (2007). Meaning in life and seeing the big picture: Positive Affect and global focus. Cognition and Emotion, 21, 1577-1584.

Hicks, J. A., & King, L. A. (2007). Mood and religion as information about meaning in life. Journal of Research in Personality, in press.

King, L. A., Burton, C. M, Hicks, J. A, & Drigotas, S. M. (2007). Ghosts, UFOs, and Magic: Positive Affect and the Experiential System. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 905-919.

King, L. A., & Hicks, J. A. (2007). Whatever happened to "what might have been"? Regret, happiness, and maturity. American Psychologist,62, 625-636.

King, L. A., & Hicks, J. A. (2006). Narrating the self in the past and the future: Implications for maturity. Research in Human Development,3, 121-138.

King, L. A., Hicks, J. A., & Krull, J., & Del Gaiso, A. K.. (2006). Positive affect and the experience of meaning in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, in press.

King, L.A., & Raspin, C. (2004). Lost and found possible selves, well-being and ego development in divorced women. Journal of Personality, 72, 603-631.

King, L. A., Scollon, C. K., Ramsey, C. M., & Williams, T. (2000). Stories of life transition: Happy endings, subjective well-being, and ego development in parents of children with Down Syndrome. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 509-536.

King, L. A., & Smith, N. G. (2004). Gay and straight possible selves: Goals, identity, subjective well -being, and personality development. Journal of Personality, 72,967-994.

King, L. A., & Smith, S. N. (2005). Happy, mature, and gay: Intimacy, power, and difficult times in coming out stories. Journal of Research in Personality, 39, 278-298.

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. A., & Diener, E. (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.

Twenge, J. M., & King, L. A. (2005). A good life is a personal life: Relationship fulfillment and work fulfillment in judgments of life quality. Journal of Research in Personality,39 ,336-352