Simon Boag

Associate Professor

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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 and spirituality, as well as cross-cultural personality research.


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


  • BPhil/MRes Co-ordinator in Psychology.
  • PSY234 Personality
  • PSY336 Personality & its Disorders
  • PSY464/PSYC764 History & Theory in Psychology

For further information on these units see here.

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
  • 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.
  • 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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Simon Boag is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Personality Medicine & Life Sciences
Psychology Medicine & Life Sciences
personality Social Sciences
Neural Inhibition Medicine & Life Sciences
Cognition Medicine & Life Sciences
personality research Social Sciences
Freudian Theory Medicine & Life Sciences
Psychoanalytic Theory Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2018 2019

Research Outputs 2005 2020

Repression (Psychology)
Mental Processes
Cultural Diversity

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 journalArticleResearchpeer-review


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 journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Personality Assessment
Personality Tests

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 journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Five-factor Model

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 journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access