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Andrew J. McKenna Family Professor of Psychology, University of Notre Dame

David Watson is a personality psychologist with specific expertise in personality and clinical assessment.  His work investigates the structure and measurement of personality, emotion and psychopathology, as well as examining how personality traits relate to clinical disorders. He works in a variety of substantive areas within psychopathology, including the emotional disorders (which include the depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder), the personality disorders, schizotypy, and dissociation. The long-term goal of this work is to develop comprehensive taxonomic models that integrate normal-range and pathological processes into a single overarching scheme. Other areas of personality research examine temporal stability versus change across the life span; mate preferences and interpersonal attraction; and accuracy versus bias in person perception. 

He has published more than 190 peer-reviewed articles in the top journals in personality, assessment, and clinical psychology. From 2006-2011, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. He is the author (with Michael W. O’Hara) of the 2017 book, Understanding the emotional disorders: A symptom-level approach based on the IDAS-II, which is published by Oxford University Press.


  • 2010–2017
    Andrew J. McKenna Family Professor of Psychology, University of Notre Dame


Diener Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Contribution to Personality; Jack Block Award for Distinguished Research in Personality