Writer, Author, and Lecturer in Psychology (University of British Columbia) / Blogger @ The State of Us
Supporting academic and public discourse in the psychological and social sciences. Specializing in (1) educational development and leadership; (2) writing, editing, and content creation; and (3) business and community consulting.

Writer, Author, and Lecturer in Psychology (University of British Columbia)
Supporting academic and public discourse in the psychological and social sciences. Specializing in (1) educational development and leadership; (2) writing and editing; and (3) business and community consulting.

David King

Welcome! I’m a writer, author, and lecturer in psychology at the University of British Columbia. I received my PhD in Psychology in 2013 (UBC), with a specialization in health psychology. I currently lead undergraduate courses in personality, health psychology, the psychology of death and dying, and sex and gender. In addition to my teaching and research, much of my time is now dedicated to writing and authorship in the field. I am especially concerned with the current state of science literacy, and it is one of my goals to support and promote a stronger discourse between science and society (with a focus on the psychological and social sciences). Through a scientific lens, and in acknowledgement of the value of meaning and connection, I want to help us understand who we are, why we do the things we do, why we keep making the same mistakes, and how we can move forward together, successfully.

News and Updates

2023I recently took part in a Q & A with the Department of Psychology at UBC, to talk a little bit about my approach to teaching and what attracted me to the role. You can read the full Q & A here.

“What attracts me to teaching now is the opportunity for engagement. I love engaging with students, I love talking about science, and I’ve learned over the years that I also love moderating discussions. At the end of the day, if I can contribute in some small way to the evolution of human thought; if I can help people think about themselves or the world in a new way, I feel pretty satisfied.”

2023: The 3rd Canadian edition of our personality textbook, Personality Psychology: Domains of Knowledge about Human Nature (by Larsen, Buss, & King), has been released! This edition includes some important updates, including new research on COVID-19; a more in-depth exploration of the HEXACO model, the dark traits, and narcissism; expanded discussions of cross-cultural research; updated and expanded sections on topics of sex, gender, and gender identity; and much more!

For more information, visit the publisher’s website here

: Our study of the role of empathy in COVID-related behaviour has been published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Consistent with our previous research on disease threat, we found evidence of a critical role of empathy in motivating people to engage in recommended health precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including handwashing and vaccination. Interestingly, empathy seems to matter more when people perceive less threat to themselves. Read the full article here: Adherence to Recommended Preventive Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Empathy and Perceived Health Threat

2019: I’m excited to share that I was the recipient of the 2019 Knox Master Teaching Award for excellence in teaching! “Each year, the Department of Psychology recognizes the contributions to teaching and learning made by two outstanding individuals in the department through the Knox Teaching Award. This award celebrates psychology faculty and lecturers whose teaching practice is exceptional and inspires student learning.” 

Read more about it here on the Department’s website.

Seeking answers...

In order to maximize our time here as inidviduals and as a species, I believe it is necessary to seek answers to life’s greatest questions (even if the answers should forever elude us). These are just a few of the questions that I consider of paramount importance today…

  • What is the role of the individual in society and in the world at large? What is our relationship to the natural world? Will we (can we) ever live in harmony with nature and other species, and if so, what does that entail? 
  • To what extent are growth and development possible while attempting to maintain elements of the past? In other words, how do we move forward without leaving everything behind? Are tradition and progress ever compatible?
  • What is it going to take to make this work? Will we ever learn to cooperate in a way that contributes to global health and development?
  • Can we learn how to better ourselves in ways that also better others? Can we use our personal agency for purposes of collective well-being and communion rather than to gain further agency?
  • Where are we headed, and to what extent are we “in this together?” What does positive growth look like individually and collectively?

While I believe in the importance of self-reflection and inner discovery, I also believe strongly in the importance of social harmony and the maintenance of community and society at large. (Somewhere, I believe, there is a place where these two things meet.) I am somewhat critical of the self-help industry for placing too much emphasis on the self to the exclusion of others. In reality, we are all in this together. We need to do more to consider those around us, and to be more compassionate, empathetic, and charitable (if we want this to work). 

Consider this: Some suggest that in order to love others, you must first learn to love yourself. I challenge you to consider the possibility that by loving others, and by first practicing kindness and compassion in a social context, you may just learn how to love yourself.

For more information on my academic contributions and my teaching experience, my full curriculum vitae can be found here