Personality, Individual Differences and Behavior Genetics (PIB)

PIB Faculty 2016

PIB Faculty 2016
PIB Faculty from L to R: Matt McGue, Colin DeYoung, James Lee

Left to Right: Matthew McGue, Colin DeYoung, and James Lee

The Personality, Individual Differences, and Behavior Genetics (PIB) graduate program aims to train behavioral scientists interested in understanding the nature, origins, and consequences of individual differences in behavior. Graduates of the program typically take positions in academia or at applied research institutes. The PIB program reflects the long tradition of personality, individual differences, and behavioral genetic research at Minnesota.

A wide range of individual differences constructs is considered within the program including cognitive abilities, temperament, motives, character, expressive and social behavior, psychological interests, social attitudes, academic achievement, and mental disorders. The individual differences component of the program emphasizes broad training in the methods and findings of individual differences psychology.

The personality component of the program emphasizes methods of personality measurement and assessment, the nature and origins of individual differences in personality, and the impact of personality on a broad array of important real-life outcomes including social functioning, work performance, and psychological illness. The behavioral genetic component of the program emphasizes the use of behavioral genetic methodology to characterize the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the development of individual differences.

Throughout, the importance of individual differences in both applied and basic research settings is stressed. Thus conceived, individual difference methodology and findings have broad implications for cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, gerontologists, clinical psychologists, evolutionary psychologists, counseling psychologists, social psychologists, educational psychologists, industrial/organizational psychologists, public policy, forensics, and animal researchers.


As a PIB student, you will complete a core set of courses and seminars that reflect the shared content and methodology of the field including courses in quantitative methods, research methodology, and psychological assessment that provide the foundation you will need to undertake psychological research. In addition, you will pick one of three academic tracks and design an individualized course of instruction in consultation with your advisor. Students selecting the personality track receive training in the assessment, nature and real-world consequences of individual differences in personality. Students selecting the individual differences track receive broad training in the major domains of individual differences psychology including cognitive ability and personality. And, students selecting the behavioral genetics track receive training in molecular and quantitative genetics in addition to their training in psychology.

You will be required to actively engage in research throughout your graduate careers. Student research is undertaken in collaboration with the graduate advisor and should increasingly reflect your interests and long-term career goals as you progress through the program. In your first year, you must complete a research project that typically results in a presentation at a professional conference and a submission of a manuscript for publication. In your second year, you will undertake a second research project that typically serves as a masters' thesis. By your third year, you will begin to develop a program of research that will serve as the basis for your doctoral dissertation. Throughout their time in the program, students are encouraged to collaborate with students and faculty in related areas including Clinical, Social, Industrial/Organizational, Counseling, and Quantitative Psychology.

Core Faculty

Thomas Brothen, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Colin DeYoung, Area Director and Associate Professor
James Lee, Assistant Professor
Matthew McGue, Regents Professor
Moin Syed, Associate Professor

Affiliated Advising Faculty

Christopher Federico, Professor of Psychology and Political Science
William G. Iacono, Regents Professor and Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Bob Krueger, Hathaway Distinguished Professor and Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Nathan Kuncel, Professor
Richard M. Lee, Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Angus MacDonald, Professor
Deniz Ones, Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Paul Sackett, professor
Jeffry A. Simpson, professor
Mark Snyder, McKnight Presidential Chair in Psychology
Scott Vrieze, Assistant Professor and McKnight Land-Grant Professor
Niels Waller, Professor

Emeritus Professors

Thomas J. Bouchard
James Butcher
Jo-Ida Hansen
Gloria Leon
Auke Tellegen