John A. Johnson, Ph.D.

John A. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Pennsylvania State University, joined the faculty in 1981, immediately after earning his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. He spent the 1990-91 year as visiting professor and Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Research Fellow at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. He has published over three dozen journal articles and book chapters on the personality and evolutionary psychology of moral and educational development, career choice, and work performance. He is an associate or consulting editor for the journals Assessment, the European Journal of Personality, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal for Research in Personality. Dr. Johnson is a recognized expert on computerized psychological measurement. Over half a million persons have completed his on-line personality test, which was designated a Yahoo! Incredibly Useful Site of the Day. He recently co-edited with Sam Gosling a book published by the American Psychological Association, Advanced Methods for Conducting Online Behavioral Research.

At the DuBois Campus, Dr. Johnson has taught General Psychology, Introduction to Personality Psychology, Theory of Personality, Basic Research Methods in Psychology, Quantitative Methods for Humanists, Quantitative Methods in the Liberal Arts, Mental Health, Psychology of Adjustment, Introduction to Well-Being and Positive Psychology, Psychology of Gender, Abnormal Psychology, College Survival Skills for Academic and Career Planning, Introduction to Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies, Industrial Psychology, Human Relations in Organizations, and Technical Writing. He has also conducted several honors sections and seminars and supervised both independent study courses and internships in psychology. As a visiting instructor at the University Park Campus, Dr. Johnson has taught Industrial Psychology, Theory of Personality, Advanced Personality Research Methods, and a graduate seminar on Ideological Groups in Psychology. For Penn State's World Campus he has developed and taught online versions of Introduction to Personality Psychology and Introduction to Well-Being and Positive Psychology. He has served on master's and doctoral committees for both the Department of Psychology and Department of Counseling and Rehabilitative Education.

Dr. Johnson's energies since joining Penn State in 1981 have been directed primarily toward increasing the quality of undergraduate education. He has been especially interested in improving his students' critical thinking and in tailoring classroom experiences toward different learning styles. He has introduced a number of teaching innovations over the years, including student debates about controversial issues, journal-writing, musical performances in class, projects designed to appeal to students with different learning styles, and, most recently, student collaborative work on the Internet. Dr. Johnson was recognized by his students with the DuBois Campus Professor of the Year award in 1984. He received the Provost's Collaborative and Curricular Innovations Special Recognition Program Award in 1997, was awarded a first place STAR Project Award by the Jack P. Royer Center for Learning and Academic Technologies in 1998, and was designated a Penn State Teaching Fellow for Excellence in Teaching by the Penn State Alumni Society.

Dr. Johnson retired from the university on January 1, 2014 as Professor Emeritus of Psycology.

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Cui Bono

According to Dan Dennett (author of Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon), answering the question cui bono (who benefits?) helps us understand how certain behavior patterns evolved. I've been obsessed most of my life trying to understand behavior in exactly this fashion, by figuring out who benefits. I am particularly interested in who benefits when we engage in moral behavior. Hopefully my thoughts in this blog will contribute to our understanding of behavior in terms of who benefits, and that in the end readers will benefit from my blog posts.