Erin O'Mara

Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Program in General Psychology

  • Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Erin O’Mara is an associate professor and the director of the Graduate Program in General Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2011. Dr. O’Mara’s program of research examines (a) how self-views impact individual and interpersonal functioning, (b) when self-processes traditionally defined in the literature as positive, such as overly positive self-evaluations (i.e., self-enhancement motivation), are indeed positive and when they are negative in regard to independent and interpersonal functioning, and (c) the human universality of self-processes, and their association with psychological well-being.

Research Interests

  • Self and identity
  • Self-enhancement
  • Self-Concept
  • Cross-cultural processes
  • Interpersonal relationships

Selected Publications

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.

Sedikides, C., Gaertner, L., & O'Mara, E. M. (2011). "Individual self, relational self, collective self: Hierarchical ordering of the tripartite self." Psychological Studies, 56, 98-107.

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.

Gaertner, L., Sedikides, C., & O’Mara, E. M. (2008). "On the motivational primacy of the individual self: 'I' is stronger than 'we'." Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 1913-1929.

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.