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Brent W. Roberts

Brent W. Roberts


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Brent W. Roberts is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US). He is leading the Identifying the 21st Century Pioneering Scientist project.

Born and raised in California, Roberts received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley (US) in personality psychology in 1994 and worked at the University of Tulsa until 1999 when he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois. Roberts has received multiple awards for his work including the J.S. Tanaka Award for best dissertation in personality psychology, the Carol and Ed Diener Mid-Career Award in Personality Psychology, the Theodore Millon Mid-Career Award in Personality Psychology, the Henry Murray Award, the Jack Block Award for Distinguished Research in Personality, and an Honorary doctorate in psychology from the University of Basel. From 2015 to 2022, he served as the chair of the Social and Behavioral Science Research Initiative and then the director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Science. Roberts has also served as associate editor for the Journal of Research in Personality and Psychological Science, and is the past president for the Association for Research in Personality.

Roberts is known for his research on the replicable patterns of continuity and change in personality traits across adulthood, the life experiences associated with changes in personality traits over time, and the significance of these changes for individual functioning.  He co-authored one of the only longitudinal prospective studies of creativity in women with Ravenna Helson. He is also known for his theoretical frameworks organizing the field of personality psychology, research on the long-term consequences of individual differences for outcomes such as creativity, occupational and relationship success, health and longevity, and whether and to what extent personality can be changed. Roberts also conducts research on how to better understand and measure the traits of conscientiousness and narcissism, and more recently, how to best assess socioemotional skills.

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