THE TRANSFORMATIVE SELF LAB
Jack Bauer, Professor, University of Dayton
Life changes. Life is complex.
I'm fascinated by how we use our life stories
to make sense of life and to grow.
As our lives unfold,
each of us is continually
reconstructing and co-constructing
our narrative identities
as we go about our activities,
interacting with each other
within the affordances and restrictions
of our social ecologies.
Individuals' life stories may be unique, but they are not random.
Thus we can study life stories both scientifically and humanistically
to better understand and cultivate this long, strange trip of life.
My overarching hypothesis is that
how we interpret and plan our lives
predicts how our lives turn out
(although not necessarily intentionally).
My research team and I have developed several measures
to test how growth-oriented narratives and motives
predict qualities of a good life,
such as happiness, meaningfulness,
helping others, and wisdom.
I study these topics within a broader context
of exploring life's big questions (like "how shall we live?")
by integrating various subfields of psychology
(developmental, personality, social, cognitive, clinical)
as well as philosophy (Eastern and Western),
cultural studies, history, and literature.