Simon Boag

Associate Professor


Research activity 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 pathology, 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. My research is currently focussing upon a dynamic systems approach to understanding dissociative identity disorder, along with a critique of trait-dimensional approaches to understanding personality pathology.


  • 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, Deutsch lernen

Research interests

Personality pathology; Personality dynamics; Personality dissociation & dissociative identity disorder; 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
  • MEDI7001 Research Foundations: Ethics, Integrity & Practice

Research student supervision

I supervise across a range of research areas including:

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

Current research candidates (primary supervisor)

  • Bernard Brown (PhD): On the concept of drive.
  • Jessica Hughes (PhD): The basis of vulnerable narcissism.
  • Catie Lai (PhD): Exercise & psychological wellbeing.
  • Tony Mobbs (PhD): Personality atlas.
  • Myriam Pitre (PhD): Dynamic systems theory & personality.
  • Emma Richardson (PhD): Attachment theory & defenses.
  • Barbara Sorensen (PhD): Psychodynamics of psychosis.

HDR Completions (as 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.
  • Tony Mobbs (MRes): Personality atlas.
  • 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.
  • Aidan Runagall-McNaull (MRes): Individual differences in moral decision making.
  • Barbara Sorensen (MRes): ISTDP & psychosis.
  • Alistair Soutter (MRes): Personality & conservation psychology
  • Ben Stiel (DPsych): Wellbeing & evolutionary theory.
  • Anthony Winning (MRes): Psychoanalysis & religion.
  • Anthony Winning (PhD): The relation between psychology & 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, Apparent logical paradox & the Freudian concept of repression: Analysis, evaluation, & proposed solution, University of Sydney

Award Date: 4 Jun 2004


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