I am a social scientist with primary expertise in social and personality psychology, quantitative methods, and data analysis. I leverage scientific theory and methods to answer questions in a variety of domains. My goal is to enable individuals, organizations, and policy-makers to build individual, community, and global well-being.

I have more than a decade of research experience, including designing 50+ studies, developing and validating psychological assessments, designing interventions, analyzing data, and presenting findings. I hold a Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of California Irvine. After my Ph.D., I was a postdoc in VIMlab at the University of Southern California, a professor at USC and Cal State Los Angeles, and a lead researcher at YourMorals and EthicalSystems, where I continue to collaborate with Jon Haidt, Peter Ditto, and Jesse Graham.

Creating YourMorals and teaching at Cal State L.A. opened my eyes to the power of psychological science, once freed from the walls of academia, to change people's lives and improve the way we do things. Which is why I recently left L.A. and moved to the Bay Area to co-found a startup. Our mission is to leverage state of the art personality science to improve talent acquisition and development, at scale.  Previously I worked as an industry research consultant for a broad range of projects, including:

  • with Pacific Gas & Electric and the SEE Change Institute, I worked on designing empirically-informed behavioral interventions to reduce household and commercial energy use
  • with TargetSmart, a political data company, I worked on adding psychological constructs to their next generation voter opinion models and database
  • with the Norman Lear Center, I worked on a program evaluation study of a public education non-profit org
  • with Conscious Partnership, I created a tool that helps couples assess and improve their relationship

In addition to research, consulting, and teaching, I write and give talks about psychological science for a general audience. I am passionate about science outreach and often donate my skills as a scientist and researcher to prosocial causes, e.g. volunteering to help at KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) and The Story of Stuff Project.

My specific areas of expertise and interest include:

  • morality, values and ethics (especially moral emotions, intuitions, judgment and decision-making, prosocial behavior, and moral conflict)
  • personality science for the workplace
  • political ideology and culture war attitudes
  • close relationships, relationship satisfaction, attraction, online dating
  • conservation, sustainability, and green psychology
  • gender, religious, and cultural differences
  • emotion and positive psychology
  • science education and outreach

Contact me at sena.koleva@gmail.com. Connect at www.linkedin.com/in/senakoleva/