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Ryan T. Howell

Ryan T. Howell

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Dr. Ryan T. Howell is an Associate Professor of Psychology at San Francisco State University and the co-founder of beyondthepurchase.org an academic website which allows individuals all over the world to take free psychology quizzes to find out how their spending choices affect their happiness. He and his colleagues developed Beyond the Purchase to explore the well-being costs and benefits of different purchasing and money-management choices as well as the motivations behind these different consumer choices.

He is the director of The Personality and Well-Being Lab at San Francisco State University which focuses on identifying the factors that may best remedy human problems and cultivate thriving by understanding the barriers to functioning while simultaneously determining the conditions for meeting higher-order psychological needs. The primary aim of the Personality and Well-Being Lab is to communicate to scientists and society about how development, personality, motivation, values, beliefs, forecasts, and community interact with a person's economic conditions and financial decision-making to influence experienced quality of life—from suffering to flourishing.

Also, a primary question of the PWB lab is "Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases?" The lab's past work has shown that life experiences lead to longer-term satisfaction, most likely because purchased experiences provide memory capital. That is, we don't tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object. Yet, despite the need to understand how people can use their income to increase their well-being, surprisingly little is known about the processes by which one may resist urges to buy material items and invest in experiential consumption.

Primary Interests:

  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Personality, Individual Differences

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

Courses Taught:

  • Advanced Research Design and Analysis
  • Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design
  • Current Issues in Psychology
  • Introductory Psychological Statistics
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Psychological Test & Measurement
  • Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences
  • Seminar in Selected Problems
  • Statistical Analysis of Psychological Research
  • Statistical Procedure
  • The Science of Happiness
  • Understanding Psychological Research II

Ryan T. Howell
Department of Psychology
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, Building 301
San Francisco, California 94132
United States

  • Work: (415) 405-2140
  • Mobile: (909) 560-1691
  • Skype Name: ryan.howell34

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