Welcome to the WELLab at Washington University!

The ultimate goal of the Wellbeing and Emotion across the Lifespan Lab (the “WELLab”) is to discover knowledge that will improve wellbeing and health across the lifespan. First, we investigate how wellbeing changes, both in the short-term from moment-to-moment and in the long-term as people age. Second, we apply findings from this research to examine links between wellbeing and important health outcomes, such as mental health, chronic illness, mortality, and dementia risk. We address these research questions using longitudinal, daily diary, and experience sampling methods, as well as experimental and intervention designs. The WELLab is committed to practices that promote transparent, robust, generalizable, and replicable science, and an inclusive scientific community. 

What’s New in the WELLab

  • Senior honors thesis student Annika Wei accepted a post-baccalaureate research position working with Dr. Louis Tay at Purdue University. Congratulations Annika!
  • Post-bacc researcher and incoming PhD student Payton Rule was awarded the NSF GRFP! This is a highly competitive program and a huge accomplishment – congratulations, Payton!
  • Dr. Willroth discussed the link between wellbeing and dementia on The Happiness Lab Podcast with Dr. Laurie Santos.
  • A recent Washington Post article featured WELLab research on the role of temporal distancing in managing stress.
  • The 2024 World Happiness Report was published on International Day of Happiness, featuring a chapter on the link between wellbeing and dementia co-authored by WELLab members Karysa Britton, Kyrsten Hill, and Emily Willroth. Read the full report here and watch a video about our chapter here.
  • Dr. Willroth discusses personality change across the first 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic on KMOX The Voice of St. Louis. Listen here!
  • Post-bacc researcher Payton Rule will be re-joining the WELLab in the Fall as a Clinical Science PhD student and Dean’s Distinguished Graduate Fellow. Congratulations, Payton!
  • Congratulations to WELLab Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Kyrsten Hill on accepting an Assistant Professor position in Clinical Geropsychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (starting August 2024)!
  • Congratulations to WELLab Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Gabrielle Pfund on accepting an Assistant Professor position in Human Development and Family Science at Auburn University (starting August 2024)!
  • Dr. Willroth discusses recent WELLab research on the good life in the latest episode of the Personality Psychology Podcast. Check it out here!
  • Congratulations to WELLab Postdoctoral Researcher Gabrielle Pfund for receiving the Emerging Scholar Award from the Association for Research in Personality!
  • The WELLab’s recent research on emotion judgments was featured in the New York Times!
  • WELLab manager Tori Trammell was accepted into Washington University’s Brown School Master of Social Work! Congrats, Tori!
  • The WELLab is growing! Welcome incoming Postdoctoral Researcher Kyrsten Hill and incoming PhD student Karysa Britton!
  • Congratulations to post-bacc researcher Payton Rule on her diversity supplement from the National Institute on Aging! This supplement will support an 18-month research and training position in the WELLab. With the support of this supplement, Payton will examine bidirectional associations between mobility disability and cognitive decline, and the moderating role of wellbeing.
  • The WELLab has a new lab manager, Tori Trammell. Welcome Tori!
  • In a new lab paper published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, the WELLab summarized the evidence for wellbeing as a protective factor against cognitive decline and dementia and outlined a research agenda to push the field closer to understanding whether and how to apply this knowledge to improve cognitive health in older adulthood.