Spassena (Sena) Koleva


2016 – current   Research Director, See Change Institute

2015 – 2016       Co-Founder andChief Scientific Officer,

2014 – 2015        Lecturer, California State University Los Angeles)

2014 – 2015        Associate Research Scientist and Director  New York University) 

2013 – 2013        Lecturer (University of Southern California)

2011 – 2013         Postdoctoral Research Fellow (University of Southern California)


2011     Ph.D. Social & Personality Psychology (minor: Quantitative Methods), UC Irvine
2010    M.A. Social Ecology, UC Irvine
2005 B.A. Psychology, California State University, San Marcos; Summa cum laude


Sloan Foundation Precourt Energy Efficiency Center Fellow, 2014
USC Postdoctoral Association Travel Award ($1000), 2013
Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Fellowship Finalist, 2013
Summer Institute, Big Questions in Free Will, Florida State University, 2012
Most Promising Future Faculty Member award, UC Irvine ($8222), 2010
– Given yearly to two UC Irvine graduate students across all fields. 
Social Ecology Alumni Award, UC Irvine ($900), 2010
1st place in a National Scientific Writing Contest ($1000), 2010
– competition for best scientific blog written for a general audience
Advanced Training Institute, American Psychological Association, 2009
Summer Institute, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 2007
Summa Cum Laude, California State University, San Marcos, 2005
Psi Chi National Honors Society in Psychology, 2004 – 2005


Research Grant (w/ Drs. J. Graham, J. Haidt, R. Iyer, & P. Ditto), Templeton Foundation, $400,000
Dissertation Writing Fellowship, School of Social Ecology, UC Irvine, $10,000
Research Grant, School of Social Ecology, UC Irvine, $3,000
Various Research Grants, Psychology and Social Behavior, UC Irvine, $3,400


Selterman, D. & Koleva, S. (in press). Moral Judgment of Close Relationship Behaviors. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Graham, J., Meindl, P., Koleva, S., Iyer, R., & Johnson, K. M. (in press). When values and behavior conflict: Moral pluralism and intrapersonal moral hypocrisy. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.

Koleva, S., Beall, E, & Graham, J. (in press) Moral Foundations Theory: Building Value Through Moral Pluralism. To appear in the Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management (edited by Alejo José G. Sison). Springer, New York. 

Smith, I., Aquino, R., Koleva, S., & Graham, J. (in press). The Moral Ties that Bind…Even to Outgroups: The Interactive Effect of Moral Identity and the Binding Moral Foundations. Psychological Science.

Lai, C. K., Marini, M., Lehr, S. A., Cerruti, C., Shin, J. L., Joy-Gaba, J. A., Ho, A. K., Teachman, B. A., Wojcik, S. P., Koleva, S. P., Frazier, R. S., Heiphetz, L., Chen, E., Turner, R. N., Haidt, J., Kesebir, S., Hawkins, C. B., Schaefer, H. S., Rubichi, S., Sartori, G., Dial, C. M., Sriram, N., Banaji, M. R., & Nosek, B. A. (in press). Reducing implicit racial preferences: I. A comparative investigation of 17 interventions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Zhang, J. W., Piff, K., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., & Keltner, D. (in press). An occasion for unselfing: Beautiful nature leads to prosociality. Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Koleva, S., Selterman, D., Iyer, R., Ditto, P., & Graham, J. (2013). The moral compass of insecurity: anxious and avoidant attachment predict moral judgment. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S., & Ditto, P. H. (in press). Moral Foundations Theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology.

Koleva, S. P., Graham, J., Ditto, P., Iyer, R., & Haidt, J. (2012). Tracing the threads: how five moral concerns (especially Purity) help explain culture war attitudes. Journal of Research in Personality, 46(2), 184-194.

Koleva, S. P. & Haidt, J. (2012). Let’s use Einstein’s safety razor, not Occam’s Swiss army knife or Occam’s chainsaw, Psychological Inquiry, 23, 175-178.

Iyer, R., Koleva, S., Graham, J, Ditto, P., & Haidt, J. (2012). Understanding libertarian morality: the psychological dispositions of self-identified Libertarians, PLoS ONE 7(8): e42366. 

Ditto, P. & Koleva, S. P. (2011). Moral empathy gaps and the American culture war. Emotion Review (special issue on “Morality and Emotion,” ed. Joshua Greene), 3(3), 331-332.

Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., & Ditto, P. H. (2011). Mapping the moral domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 366-385.

Glenn A. L., Koleva, S., Iyer, R., Graham, J., Haidt, J. (2010). Moral identity in psychopathy. Judgment and Decision Making, 5(7), 497-505.

Iyer, R., Graham, J, Koleva, S., Ditto, P., & Haidt, J. (2010). Beyond identity politics: Moral psychology and the 2008 Democratic primary. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy, 10(1), 2093-306.

Koleva, S. P., & Rip, B. (2009). Attachment and political ideology: An integrative framework. Social Justice Research, 22, 241–258.

Glenn, A. L., Iyer, R., Graham, J., Koleva, S., Haidt, J. (2009). Are all types of morality compromised in psychopathy? Journal of Personality Disorders, 23(4), 384–398.

Critcher, C. R., Huber, M., Ho, A. K., & Koleva, S. P. (2009). Political orientation and ideological inconsistencies: (Dis)comfort with value tradeoffs. Social Justice Research, 22,181–205.

Ditto, P. H. & Koleva, S. P. (2009). Advanced directives and end-of-life medical decision making. Encyclopedia of Medical Decision Making. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 


Koleva, S. P. (April 7, 2014). The Moral Compass of Insecure Attachment. Society for Personality and Social Psychology: Character and Context. Retrieved from

Koleva, S. P. (2012). Future of a generation, Science, 335 (6064), Retrieved from Supplemental Material at

Koleva, S. (2012). Recent developments in ideology research. Observer, 25(8). October, 2012.

Koleva, S. (2010). The new science of love and attraction. Grand prize winner of scientific blogging contest. Retrieved from

Koleva, S. P. (2008). Working Harder Than We Play, Playing Harder Than We Work. Dialogue, 23(1),18.


Selterman, D. & Koleva, S. (under review). Moral Judgment of Close Relationship Behaviors. Submitted to Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Koleva, S.P., Selterman, D., & Graham, J. (in revision). Beyond care and justice: The moral signatures of women and men.

Koleva, S.P., Moskowitz, J., Li, Z., & Graham, J. (in preparation). The varities of non-religious experience: distinct psychological profiles of atheists, agnostics, and the "spiritual but not religious".


2014 – 2015      Lecturer, CSU Los Angeles

2013 – 2013       Lecturer, University of Southern California

2005 – 2013    Guest Lectures at UC Irvine, University of Southern California

2009 – 2010      Graduate Writing Consultant, Graduate Resource Center, UC Irvine

2005 – 2009     Graduate Teaching Assistant, UC Irvine (a non-exclusive list of courses)


Grant reviewer:  National Science Foundation

Ad hoc reviewer: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Personality, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Emotion Review, Political Psychology, PLoS One, Journal of Politics, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Medical Decision Making

Member of Council on Educational Policy, Academic Senate, UC Irvine

Member of Faculty Search Committee, Psychology and Social Behavior, UC Irvine


Peter H. Ditto, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology and Social Behavior, UC Irvine,                          

Jesse Graham, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology, University of Southern California,

Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology, New York University,

Belinda Campos, Ph.D, Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies, UC Irvine,

Eric D. Knowles, Ph.D., Professor, New York University,