Simon Boag

Associate Professor


Research output per year

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Personal profile


My key areas of expertise are personality theory and assessment, theoretical psychology, and research methods. I am particularly interested in personality dynamics and the possibility of personality change. I have written extensively on psychodynamic theory, dreams, defence mechanisms, as well as editing two volumes on psychoanalysis and philosophy of mind. I have also written on the history of personality psychology in Australia and have edited two books presenting collections of Australian personality research. I am also currently interested in the relationship between personality, health psychology, and responses to COVID-19.


  • Associate Dean’s Research Award for Contribution to the Research Environment (Faculty of Human Science, Macquarie University, 2013).
  • Award for Excellence in Research (Macquarie University, 2007).
  • H. Tasman Lovell Memorial Medallion (University of Sydney, 2005).

Current Research Projects

  • Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers (2018-2019). Project title: The trauma of not-knowing: Making sense of personality dissociation after experiencing trauma. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship. Germany.

Research Lab

Personality Dynamics Research Group (Macquarie University).

Personal interests: organic & native gardening, running, bushwalking, native bees & native bee keeping, learning German

Research interests

Personality theory; Personality dynamics; Personality & health psychology; Personality change; Personality assessment; Defence mechanisms; Attachment theory; Theoretical & Philosophical psychology; Personality & mindfulness; Personality & spirituality; Psychology of religion


  • BPhil/MRes Co-ordinator in Psychology.
  • PSYU2234 Theories of Personality
  • PSYU3336 Personality & its Disorders
  • PSYH4464/PSYM7764 Psychology in Context

Research student supervision

I supervise across a range of research areas including:

  • Personality dynamics and personality change
  • Cross-cultural research examining personality and the self
  • Personality & responses to health threats
  • Evolutionary psychology and personality
  • Psychodynamic research
  • Theoretical & philosophical psychology
  • Qualitative & quantitative research
  • Psychology of science
  • Psychology of religion

Current research candidates

  • Bernard Brown (PhD): On the concept of drive.
  • Jessica Hughes (PhD): The basis of vulnerable narcissism.
  • Catie Lai (PhD): Exercise and psychological wellbeing.
  • Tony Mobbs (MRes): Personality atlas.
  • Myriam Pitre (PhD): Dynamic systems theory & personality.
  • Emma Richardson (PhD): Attachment theory & defenses.
  • Barbara Sorensen (PhD): ISTDP, conflict, & attachment.
  • Anthony Winning (PhD): The relation between psychology & religion.

HDR Completions (Primary supervisor)

  • Beatrice Alba (PhD): Status consciousness.
  • John Butters (MRes): Attachment theory, mentalisation, & psychotherapy.
  • Li Chew (PhD): Direct realist theory & memorial errors.
  • Robina Day (MRes): Music, emotions, & personality.
  • Catie Lai (MRes): Interpersonal theory of suicide.
  • Kathleen Mairet (PhD/Clinical): Schema theory & social anxiety.
  • Tim Marsh (PhD): Evolutionary psychology & morality.
  • Trish Nowland (MRes): Latent variable theory & realism.
  • Trish Nowland (PhD): Latent variables, models, & theory.
  • Myriam Pitre (MRes): Dynamic systems theory & well-being.
  • Natalie Roberts (MRes): Personality & assessing ASMR.
  • Natalie Roberts (PhD): ASMR & assessing altered states of consciousness.
  • Barbara Sorensen (MRes): ISTDP & psychosis.
  • Alistair Soutter (MRes): Personality & conservation psychology
  • Ben Stiel (DPsych): Wellbeing & evolutionary theory.
  • Anthony Winning (MRes): Psychoanalysis & religion.
  • Siham Yahya (PhD): Interfaith & cross-cultural relationships.

Community engagement

In 2013 I was invited to join the Editorial Board for the journal Review of General Psychology. In 2015 I became an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Psychology (Psychoanalysis and Neuropsychoanalysis). I also served as a Section Editor for Springer's The Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences (edited by Virgil Zeigler-Hill and Todd Shackelford). 


International Neuropsychoanalysis Society.

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, PhD, University of Sydney

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Research Outputs

  • Personality dynamics, motivation, and the logic of explanation

    Boag, S., Dec 2018, In : Review of General Psychology. 22, 4, p. 427-436 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Personality assessment, 'construct validity', and the significance of theory

    Boag, S., 1 Oct 2015, In : Personality and Individual Differences. 84, p. 36-44 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 11 Citations (Scopus)

    Explanation in personality psychology: "Verbal magic" and the five-factor model

    Boag, S., Apr 2011, In : Philosophical Psychology. 24, 2, p. 223-243 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 30 Citations (Scopus)

    On dreams and motivation: comparison of Freud's and Hobson's views

    Boag, S., 6 Jan 2017, In : Frontiers in Psychology. 7, JAN, p. 1-13 13 p., 2001.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)
    45 Downloads (Pure)