Ryan Lundell-Creagh

Ryan Lundell-Creagh

The mystery of personality

Photo credit: Krystel V. Morin
Photo credit: Krystel V. Morin

Psychology student Ryan Lundell-Creagh works to become a personality researcher

For centuries, personalities have long fascinated psychologists. Today, research continues to be published on what makes each human being different other than biology. Ryan Lundell-Creagh, a 22-year-old Applied Psychology Honours student, belongs to the future generation of psychology researchers who have been bitten by the personality bug.

“I’ve been fascinated with psychology since I was 14,” confesses the Montreal native. “In high school, the course selection is limited and you’re forced to take so much. Part of what I love about being at Bishop’s is the variety that it offers you. The freedom to choose what you want to learn and how you want to learn it makes this kind of environment so appealing. I think this is why so many students succeed here. The more courses I take at Bishop’s, the more interested I become in psychology.”

Indeed, Ryan has been working closely with his professors since his freshman year, one of whom suggested that he apply to the B.E.S.T. Projects Fund. It paid off: he will attend a conference hosted by the Association in Research and Personality in St. Louis, Missouri, where he will present his honours thesis.

“My research interests in personality are specifically related to the tension and ongoing debate between trait and state theory,” he explains. “I believe that our personalities are ever changing, in fact much more than we would like them to in most cases. The Ryan that appears in an academic setting may be quite different from the Ryan that my friends or even my family know, and a large part of this is due to the different interactions that I have with different environments. I’m interested in exactly which environments make these changes, and what kind of changes these environments will make.”

Ryan is hoping to disprove the theory that says that our personalities are made up of constructs that are stable over time, and so should not change regardless of the environment. His research goal is to find the line at which point this theory will no longer hold valid, and at which people change their personalities, whether consciously or unconsciously. His thesis focuses specifically on emotions, and investigates which emotions cause people to change their personalities.

For Ryan, this opportunity comes at a very good time, as he plans his next step as a potential researcher. “I’m looking forward to meeting fellow researchers and academics. I want to figure out how exactly these people integrate their passion for personality research into their jobs. I want to dedicate my life to understanding who people really are, because I find the topic absolutely fascinating,” he says.

Ryan is also hoping to establish networks at the conference. “I want to go to graduate school but I don’t know where yet. Hopefully I will find someone I can do interesting research with for my PhD.”

“This opportunity validates the hard work that I’ve put into school. I care about my studies and I care about what I’m doing. I like what I’m doing. It makes me feel like I’m on the right path,” he adds.

What is B.E.S.T. ?

This story focuses on a recipient of the B.E.S.T. Projects Fund. B.E.S.T. is the premiere experiential learning opportunity at Bishop’s University. In 2010, an anonymous Bishop’s graduate made a gift commitment to establish this opportunity fund at the university. This unique possibility is meant to assist students, determine their career paths and realize their ambitions. It also gives the student the chance to learn outside of the classroom.

The funds are awarded to students whom the Selection Committee believes have the potential for significant achievement and impact once they graduate from Bishop’s. Find out more information about B.E.S.T.