Todd B. Kashdan

Todd B. Kashdan

Todd B. Kashdan


Meaning and purpose in life, psychological strengths, psychological flexibility, social relationships, stress management, and interventions to enhance well-being

Dr. Kashdan is Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. He was named Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year at George Mason University and received the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology.

A world recognized authority on well-being, strengths, social relationships, stress, and anxiety, Dr. Todd Kashdan has published over 225 research articles in peer-reviewed journals and is the author of several books including his best-seller The Upside of Your Dark Side (Penguin), and more recently, The Art of Insubordination: How to Dissent and Defy Effectively (Penguin). His books have been translated into over 15 languages. He is a scientific advisor of Time, Inc., National Geographic, and Merck. He gives keynotes to organizations as diverse as Microsoft, Mercedes Benz, the United States Department of Defense, the World Bank, Hormel, General Mills, Gensler, the Gap, and Standard Chartered Bank.

His work has been featured on CNN and NPR, as well the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Fast Company, and Scientific American, along with other media outlets.

He's a twin with twin 16-year old daughters (plus one more), with plans to rapidly populate the world with great conversationalists.

Access his scientific articles and freelance writing on his website:

Current Research

He leads The Well-Being Laboratory at George Mason University.

Exploring the nature, causes, and consequences of well-being, psychological flexibility, and personality strengths; stress tolerance and resilience in everyday life; clarifying and developing purpose in life as a naturalistic intervention; behavioral observation studies of strength use and emotion regulation in romantic couples; emotion agility and differentiation as resilience to substance abuse, aggression, and other maladaptive coping strategies. His most recent work focuses on how vitality, curiosity, resilience, and purpose operate in business organizations, and interventions to improve civil discourse in society. 


Selected Publications

Kashdan, T.B. (2022). The 7 rules for persuasive dissent. Harvard Business Review

Kashdan, T.B., Disabato, D.J., Goodman, F.R., Doorley, J.D., & McKnight, P.E. (2020). Understanding psychological flexibility: A multimethod exploration of pursuing valued goals despite the presence of distress. Psychological Assessment.

Kashdan, T.B., Disabato, D.J., Goodman, F.R., & McKnight, P.E. (2020). The Five-Dimensional Curiosity Scale Revised (5DCR): Briefer subscales while separating overt and covert social curiosity. Personality and Individual Differences

Kashdan, T.B., Disabato, D.J., Goodman, F.R., & Naughton, C. (2018). The five dimensions of curiosity. Harvard Business Review

Rottenberg, J., Devendorf, A.R., Kashdan, T.B., & Disabato, D. (2018). The curious neglect of high functioning after psychopathology: The case of depression. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13, 549-566.

Kashdan, T.B., Barrett, L.F., & McKnight, P.E. (2015). Unpacking emotion differentiation: Transforming unpleasant experience by perceiving distinctions in negativity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 10-16.

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.

Kashdan, T.B., & McKnight, P.E. (2013). Commitment to a purpose in life: An antidote to the suffering by individuals with social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 13, 1150-1159.

Kashdan, T.B., & Rottenberg, J. (2010). Psychological flexibility as a fundamental aspect of health. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 865-878.


Courses Taught

He taught one of the first college courses on well-being in the world, and has been teaching variants of this for the past 20 years. He also teaches abnormal, social, and personality psychology for undergraduates and psychopathology for psychology Ph.D. students.

Recent Presentations

Kashdan, T.B. (2019). Keynote on A New Framework for Understanding and Cultivating Curiosity. Virginia Association of Independent Schools Health & Wellness Summit, University of Richmond.

Kashdan, T.B. (2018). Keynote on A New Scientific Framework of Curiosity and Agility and Panel Member on Play and Creativity. Positive Schools Asia, New Territories, Hong Kong.

Kashdan, T.B. (2018). Keynote on A Social Perspective on Resilience. Learning and the Brain Annual Conference, New York, NY.

Kashdan, T.B. (2016). A business culture of curiosity. Merck headquarters, Darmsadt, Germany.

Kashdan, T.B. (2016). Keynote on Mastering resilience to unlock your organization’s true potential. Finance Human Resources Business Operations Conference, Washington, D.C.

Kashdan, T.B. (2016). Keynote on The power of negative emotions and creativity. Learning and the Brain Annual Conference, Orlando. FL.

Kashdan, T.B. (2015). Keynote on Unlocking the Power to Think Differently: Where Can Your Curiosity Take You? Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women, Boston, MA.

In the Media

His work has been featured on CNN and NPR, as well as in the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Fast Company, and Scientific American, along with other media outlets.

Hidden Brain podcast - "Happiness 2.0: The Only Way Out is Through"

Harvard Business Review Ideacast - "The Subtle Art of Disagreeing with Your Boss"

Insider Higher Ed "Ten principles for embracing productive conflict"

Harvard Business Review - "Companies value curiosity but stifle it anyway" (2015)

The New York Times- "The Benefits of Blowing Your Top" (2010)

The New York Times- "Maybe Bullies Just Want to Be Loved" (2010)

The Washington Post- cover story, "Journeys of Discovery: People driving fascinating research" (2009)

The New York Times- cover story, "Happiness 101" (2007)

Dissertations Supervised

Fallon R. Goodman, An Experience Sampling Approach to Emotion Dysregulation in Social Anxiety Disorder (2018)

Kevin C. Young, The Unique Impact of Personality Strengths on Romantic Relationships (2017)

Antonina Farmer, Daily Stress Reactivity in Social Anxiety Disorder: a Temporal Process Approach (2014)

Panagiota Ferssizidis, How Trait and State Social Anxiety Impact Perceptions of Support when Sharing Good News with Romantic Partners: Using the Actor-partner Interdependence Model to Explore Self-reports, Partner-reports, and Behavioral Observations (2013)

Alexander Afram, The Impact of Social Anxiety on Romantic Relationships: A Risk Regulation Model (2012)