Todd Kashdan

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Todd B. Kashdan
Nationality United States
Education University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Occupation Psychology professor, public speaker, writer and scientist
Employer George Mason University

Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D. is scientist, public speaker, and a professor of psychology at George Mason University.[1] He is director of the Laboratory for the Study of Social Anxiety, Character Strengths, and Related Phenomena at George Mason University.[2] His research has advanced our understanding of why people suffer, with an emphasis on the transition from normal to pathological anxiety. His other research has advanced our understanding of the nature of well-being, with an emphasis on the critical functions of curiosity, meaning and purpose in life, and psychological flexibility to living a well-lived life. He is one of the first people in the world to teach college courses on the science of well-being, and soon after, brought this science to the general public and business organizations.

Personal life[edit]

Todd B. Kashdan was born in Mineola, New York. Taking full advantage of the two minute lead on his twin brother Andrew, Todd absorbed enough of the world that they would never be on the same page again. He has twin daughters with plans to rapidly populate the world with bizarre conversationalists.

Todd’s mother died of cancer and his grandmother raised him. Before psychology, he put all of his energy into discovering punk and hardcore rock bands and living most of his young adulthood inside a sweaty mosh pit or 7-foot diameter shot put circle.

His interest in research was sparked by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (1975) book, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play. Soon after, Kashdan found research positions with Dr. Arthur Aron at Stony Brook University to study how to maintain passion in long-term relationships, and Dr. Jan Loney on parents interacting with children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Kashdan began his clinical psychology graduate training at the University at Buffalo in 1998 – a time that coincided with Martin Seligman's introduction of positive psychology at his American Psychological Association presidential address. The timing could not have been better. The study of psychological strengths, social relationships, leadership, and well-being became his passion.



Kashdan received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and attended the University at Buffalo, State University of New York where he received his Ph.D. in 2004.[1]


In his Laboratory for the Study of Social Anxiety, Character Strengths, and Related Phenomena,[2] Kashdan conducts research on well-being, self-regulation, emotional disorders, and romantic relationships. His research has helped explain the difference between people with normal anxiety from those suffering from anxiety disorders. More important than the experience of anxiety in everyday life is infrequent positive events, a lack of positive emotions, and intense efforts to control or avoid unpleasant mental events, such as distressing emotions, negative thoughts, and unwanted physical sensations (that is, the unwillingness to tolerate anxiety appears to be more relevant to anxiety problems than the intensity of anxiety felt).[4] His work also challenged the stereotype that socially anxious individuals are inherently shy and inhibited, with evidence for an aggressive, impulsive, uninhibited subgroup of people with social anxiety difficulties.[5] His work on psychological strengths,[6] meaning and purpose in life,[7] and psychological flexibility [8] has shed light on neglected and underappreciated ingredients to becoming healthy, socially connected, successful, with an abundance of vitality.

To advance the public understanding of science, Kashdan has written a trade book titled Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life, given a TEDx talk (, writes regularly for Psychology Today ( and The Huffington Post (, and given workshops to organizations such as the Air Force, Hormel, General Mills, Gensler, and the Gap.

He has been an associate editor for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Journal of Positive Psychology.[1] He has given more than 300 national and international conference presentations and has published more than 125 peer-review journal articles.[1]

Kashdan received the American Psychological Association's 2013 Distinguished Scientific Early Career Award.[3]



Further reading[edit]