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.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Todd B. Kashdan was born in Mineola, New York. His interest in research was sparked by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (1975) book, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play. After graduating college, 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 graduate training at the University at Buffalo in 1998 – coinciding with Martin Seligman's introduction of positive psychology at his American Psychological Association presidential address. The timing was ideal. 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).[5] 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.[6] His work on psychological strengths,[7] meaning and purpose in life,[8] and psychological flexibility [9] 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 two trade books titled "The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why being your whole self - not just your “good” self - drives success and fulfillment" [10] and "Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life", given a TEDx talk,[11] writes regularly for Psychology Today [12] and The Huffington Post,[13] and has given workshops to organizations such as the Marines, Customs and Border Protection, 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 talks and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles.[1]

Kashdan received the American Psychological Association's 2013 Distinguished Scientific Early Career Award.[4]



  1. ^ a b c d "Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D.". Psychology Today. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Laboratory for the Study of Social Anxiety, Character Strengths, and Related Phenomena". Psych Faculty - George Mason University. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b "Todd B. Kashdan". Social Psychology Network. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ Kashdan, T.B., Farmer, A., Adams, L., Ferssizidis, P., McKnight, P.E., & Nezlek, J.B. (2013). Distinguishing healthy adults from people with social anxiety disorder: Evidence for the value of experiential avoidance and positive emotions in everyday social interactions. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122, 645-655.
  6. ^ Kashdan, T.B., & McKnight, P.E. (2010). The darker side of social anxiety: When aggressive impulsivity prevails over shy inhibition. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 47-50.
  7. ^ Biswas-Diener, R., Kashdan, T.B., & Minhas, G. (2011). A dynamic approach to psychological strength development and intervention. Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 106-118.
  8. ^ McKnight, P.E., & Kashdan, T.B. (2009). Purpose in life as a system that creates and sustains health and well-being: An integrative, testable theory. Review of General Psychology, 13, 242-251.
  9. ^ Kashdan, T.B., & Rottenberg, J. (2010). Psychological flexibility as a fundamental aspect of health. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 865-878.
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