JACK BAUER | THE TRANSFORMATIVE SELF
How stories foster flourishing
Jack Bauer, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and past Raymond A. Roesch, S.M., Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences at the University of Dayton. His courses and research focus on the development of self-identity and personality, with an emphasis on life stories, meaning-making, growth motivation, and humane flourishing.
His recent book, The Transformative Self: Personal Growth, Narrative Identity, and the Good Life (2021, Oxford University Press), explains how personal and cultural stories cultivate as well as thwart human flourishing for the self and others. He is co-editor of the book Transcending Self-Interest: Psychological Explorations of the Quiet Ego (2008, American Psychological Association), which examines the problems of egotism and the ways and benefits of transcending it.
He has served as co-editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies, associate editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and co-editor of the special issue on "Storying the Good Life" at the Journal of Research in Personality. After college he was the editor of a newspaper in northern Michigan.
Sarah Mooney is a senior at the University of Dayton, majoring in psychology and minoring in social work, and the student manager of The Transformative Self Lab. She is currently the Psychology 101 Teaching Assistant. She is specifically interested in social work, counseling, personality, and social psychology.
In her words: "I plan to receive a master's degree in social work and to become a mental health counselor in the future, and I think that doing research in this lab is a great step on my journey to understanding others, their life stories, and how they choose to talk about defining moments in their lives. It is a fascinating and insightful task to code for themes of growth in these narratives and even take a step back to look for meaningful moments and relationships in my own personal narrative. I am excited to use this experience to help my clients recognize growth and meaning in the stories they tell me one day. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends, family, and cats. I also enjoy skiing and hiking."
Cintia Kirjak is a junior at the University of Dayton, majoring in psychology.
In her words: "I am interested in social psychology, personality psychology and behavioral psychology. I was drawn to this lab because I am interested in how people interpret growth and flourishing in life. I strive to help people mentally to interpret life in a meaningful and positive way to help facilitate growth and production in their lives. My goal is to go to graduate school, get my PhD, and become an industrial/organizational psychologist!"
Hannah Bean is a senior at the University of Dayton, majoring in psychology. She is interested in clinical psych, health psych, personality psych, criminal psych, and psychopathology.
In her words: "I was intrigued with reading and analyzing people's life stories back when I was a freshman. I feel as though, as a psychologist, the skill of being able to identify growth in people's narratives is one that can be helpful in the field of clinical psychology, especially in cognitive therapy and counseling, which I'm interested in pursuing. I've learned a lot myself within this lab about how change and major life decisions, even with a non-ideal outcome, can be very meaningful to one's life and human flourishment. I plan to get a master's degree post-grad, and hopefully one day pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. I'm excited to study abroad this summer with the psych program in Florence, Italy, and besides my love for traveling I also love listening to music, playing Club Soccer at UD, and spending time with my friends and family."
Kelly Mumbach is a senior at the University of Dayton, majoring in psychology.
In her words: "I am interested in child psychology, clinical psychology, and behavioral psychology. I plan to attend graduate school and earn my degree as a school psychologist. This lab has helped me to understand different perspectives people have and how they are linked to the choices they make in life. My favorite part of this lab is identifying the different themes of psychological growth from the stories we code. It has taught me how to help others find meaning, positivity, and fulfillment in their own stories in real life. I am lucky to be a part of this team and to use my experience from it to prepare me for my future career as a psychologist. Besides my love for psychology, I enjoy skiing, listening to music, and spending time with my friends and family."
Sophia Dixon is a sophomore at the University of Dayton, majoring in psychology.
In her words: "I am fascinated by human development and the effects of personal experience on personality. I was interested in this lab because it aligns with my research and professional aspirations. I enjoy coding narratives for personal growth and gaining insight into the defining moments in individuals' lives. I feel this experience is valuable in understanding the complex factors that make up personality and overall life trajectory. I appreciate the themes of flourishing, happiness, love, and growth within the lab and seek to apply these values to my own life. Looking forward, I plan to continue to participate in research and excel in my coursework. I want to receive my doctorate in clinical psychology after I graduate in hopes of making a difference in vulnerable populations. I am excited about my future in this lab and where it leads me."
Grace Fioriti is a senior at the University of Dayton. She is majoring in health science with minors in psychology, social work, and disability studies.
In her words: "I have been interested in social psychology for my entire life. Ever since I was a kid, I loved forming connections and getting to understand the people in my life. Understanding a person's quirks, goals, and motivation helps me appreciate them for the unique and special person they are. Getting to be a part of a team that expands on this knowledge and presents it in a way that anyone can use to improve their own relationships and add to a more holistic community has been such an enriching experience. After graduation, I will be going to graduate school for social work to ultimately be a mental health counselor to hopefully continue to help people improve their lives."