Photo of Kira McCabe

Kira McCabe

Assistant Professor

Degrees:Ph.D. (University of Groningen)
Office:A527 LA

Dr. McCabe will be joining the Department on August 1, 2021.

Research Interests

My primary research area explores how personality and motivation are integrated concepts. In particular, I am interested in how people pursue goals in their daily lives and how people use their personality traits (expressed in momentary personality states) to achieve their goals. For example, when a person is pursuing the goal of “trying to have fun,” he or she becomes more extraverted to achieve this goal. People use personality states as a means, or tools, that help them achieve their goals. From this, I am exploring how these goals and personality states relate to specific life outcomes, including happiness and well-being. Iā€™m also interested in exploring broader connections between personality traits and other existing goal constructs, including achievement goals.

My second research area explores how individual differences (such as personality, cognitive abilities, and educational-vocational interests) predict career success, health, and psychological well-being. These projects have been diverse, but have explored topics that include the following: a) whether individual differences in graduate school predict STEM leadership 25 years later, b) whether career success among intellectually precocious samples is related to physical and psychological distress, and c) whether intellectually precocious samples are physically and psychologically healthier compared to an age-matched representative sample (National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 or NLSY79).

Selected Publications

McCabe, K. O., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. P. (2020). Who shines most among the brightest?: A 25-year longitudinal study of elite STEM graduate students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(2), 390ā€“416.

McCabe, K. O., & Fleeson, W. (2016). Are traits useful? Explaining trait manifestations as tools in the pursuit of goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110(2), 287-301.

McCabe, K. O., Van Yperen, N. W., Elliot, A. J., & Verbraak, M. (2013). Big Five personality profiles of context-specific achievement goals. Journal of Research in Personality, 47(6), 698ā€“707.

McCabe, K. O., & Fleeson W. (2012). What is extraversion for? Integrating trait and motivational perspectives and identifying the purpose of extraversion. Psychological Science, 23(12), 1498-1505.