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Tim Kasser is a professor of psychology


Tim Kasser

Emeritus Professor of Psychology


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A wooden model of a molecule sits on a shelf in Professor Diana Cermak's office.

Tim Kasser

At Knox Since: 1995

Professor of Psychology

Kasser’s research is focused on materialistic values -- being wealthy, having many possessions, being attractive, and being popular.

Tim Kasser is a professor of psychology

Why did you decide to become a professor?

I would say it boils down to the fact that I love to teach, to do research, and to be free. There are few jobs that provide so much opportunities for autonomy, for me to follow my interests where they might lead me, and for me to do my job in the way that seems best to me.

Do you have any advice for students who are considering studying at Knox?

In your first couple of years here, EXPLORE! There are so many interesting classes and fields and people, and there really is no hurry to get moving on your major right away. I never expected to be a psychologist when I was a first-year student in college -- I ended up where I am only because of such explorations.

What are your current scholarly interests?

Mostly I study the problems associated with materialistic values that favor money, image, and status: these problems include lower happiness, less civility, and more ecological degradation. Many of my studies have also investigated the factors that lead people to prioritize such values, including psychological insecurity and consumer society.

Why are you so passionate about activism?

I think it is crucial for scientists not to allow their work to sit in journals and textbooks. While knowledge for knowledge's sake is of course important, I've come to believe that the problems we collectively face are too large for scientists to sit by and just hope that their work makes a difference. Instead, I believe that we need to get out of our ivory towers and help those who are working "on the ground" understand the theories and research that can help them to be more effective.

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Printed on Tuesday, December 10, 2019