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Erin O'Mara Kunz

Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Program in General Psychology

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Psychology


Email: Erin O'Mara Kunz
Phone: 937-229-2161
Website: Visit Site


Dr. Erin O’Mara Kunz is an associate professor and the director of the Graduate Program in General Psychology. Her program of research broadly focuses on self processes and social perception. She utilizes experimental and longitudinal designs to examine questions related to (a) the association between the motivation for a positive sense of self and individual/interpersonal functioning, and (b) how perceptions of the self and others vary as a function of hormonal changes associated with stress and fertility.

Courses Taught

  • PSY 341: Social Psychology
  • PSY 501: Experimental Design and Statistics I
  • PSY 502: Experimental Design and Statistics II


  • Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 2011
  • M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2005
  • B.A., Quinnipiac University, 2003

Research Interests

  • The Self
  • Social Perception
  • Interpersonal Relationships and Attraction
  • Evolutionary Psychology

Selected Publications

O’Mara, E. M., & Gaertner, L. (2017). Does self-enhancement facilitate task performance? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 442-455.

Lynch, B.P. & O’Mara, E. M. (2015). Do autonomous individuals strive for self-positivity? Examining the role of autonomy in the expression of self-enhancement, Self and Identity, 14, 403-419.

Sedikides, C., Gaertner, C., Luke, M. A., O’Mara, E. M., & Gebaur, J. (2013). A three tier hierarchy of motivational self-potency: Individual self, relational self, collective self. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology Volume 48, 235-295.

O’Mara, E. M., Gaertner, L., Sedikides, C., Hou, X., & Liu, Y. (2012). A longitudinal experimental test of the panculturality of self-enhancement: Self-enhancement promotes psychological well being both in the West and the East. Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 157-163.

Gaertner, L., Sedikides, C., Luke, M., O’Mara, E. M., Iuzzini, J., Eckstein Jackson, L., Cai, H., & Wu, Q. (2012). A motivational hierarchy within: Primacy of the individual self, relational self, or collective self? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 997-1013.

O’Mara, E. M., McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2011). Positively biased appraisals in Everyday life: When do they benefit mental health and when do they harm it? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 415-432.

O’Mara, E. M., Jackson, L. E., Batson, C. D., & Gaertner, L. (2011). Will moral outrage stand up? Distinguishing among emotional reactions to a moral violation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 173-179.

Cai, H., Sedikides, C., Gaertner, L., Wang, C., Carvallo, M., Xu, Y., O’Mara, E. M., & Jackson, L. E. (2011). Tactical self-enhancement in China: Is modesty at the service of self-enhancement in East-Asian culture? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 59-64.

Gaertner, L, Iuzzini, J., & O'Mara E. M. (2008). When rejection by one fosters aggression against many: Multiple-victim aggression as a consequence of social rejection and perceived groupness. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 958-970.

McNulty, J. K., O'Mara, E. M., & Karney, B. R. (2008). Evaluating Benevolent Cognitions as a Strategy of Relationship Maintenance: "Don't sweat the small stuff - but it's NOT all small stuff." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 631-646.