Hello! I’m Dr. Ted Schwaba

headshotI’m a postdoctoral researcher at UT Austin working with Elliot Tucker-Drob.

In my research, I ask an eternal, essential human question: What shapes our personalities? By applying modern statistical tools to big datasets, I study how life events, genetic differences, and daily experiences make us into who we are.

I also like baseball, crosswords, skateboarding (retired), hip-hop history, and hot sauce.

Here’s my CV      Follow me on Twitter       My email is tedschwaba@gmail(dot)com

Here’s a Shiny app I made called the Facet Atlas that visualizes how 268 different facet scales relate to one another

Here are some examples of the research questions I’ve asked, along with figures that show results of the research. Click the links to read the papers!

When people mature in one personality trait, do they mature in others as well? Do close others perceive similar maturation?


Did the US Clean Air Act, which reduced lead emissions, improve personality? How did average levels of personality traits in a county change after atmospheric lead began to be phased out? Did similar changes occur in Europe?

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How do the many scales that measure personality traits associate with one another, and how can visualizing these correlation networks give us insight into the structure of personality?


Do people change in optimism across adulthood, and are changes linked to the positive or negative life events they experience?


How does personality change as people approach, experience, and adapt to retirement (blue)? Do people who are similar to retirees but keep working (gold) change in similar ways?


How do people change in openness to experience in the 24 years after they begin college? Do the lower-level traits that comprise openness change in similar ways? How do these traits predict love and work outcomes?


Across the lifespan, how much do people vary from one another in personality development? Is development especially variable earlier in the lifespan?


How do individual people change in openness to experience as they navigate their lives? Do people who go to museums, concerts, and movies become especially open to new experiences?


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