Kenneth Vail

PhD Candidate; Instructor of Record (PSY2310)

304 Psychology Building
(909) 896-3681

Lab: Existential Motivation Lab

Research Interests

My research interests have focused on motivations for psychological growth and defense, goals and value strivings, and the motivational profile of freedom, and have touched on outcomes in political attitudes and opinions, religion, physical health, and psychological well-being.

My CV, reprints, dissertation chapters, or other documents/materials available upon request:

Biographical Sketch

I am currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia, receiving graduate training from Dr. Jamie Arndt. I received my B.A. in 2008 from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and expect to receive my PhD in the spring of 2014. As a recent NSF graduate research fellow, and current Raymond White Dissertation research fellow, I have received extensive research training both in the US and abroad; and through the University of Missouri’s Teaching of Psychology Practicum (ToPP) I have received formal training and experience as an instructor of record.

Selected Publications

Vail, K. E., Arndt, J., Motyl, M., & Pyszczynski, T. (2009). Compassionate values and presidential politics: Mortality salience, compassionate values, and support for Barack Obama and John McCain in the 2008 Presidential election. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy. 9, 255-268.

Vail, K. E., Motyl, M., Abdollahi, A. & Pyszczynski, T. (2009). Dying to Live: Terrorism, War, and Defending One's Way of Life. In D. Antonius, A. D. Brown, T. K. Walters, J. M. Ramirez, & S. J. Sinclair (Eds.), Interdisciplinary Analyses of Terrorism and Political Aggression. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Motyl, M. S., Vail, K. E., & Pyszczynski, T. (2009). Waging terror: Psychological motivation in cultural violence and peacemaking. In M. Morgan (Ed.), The Impact of 9/11 on Psychology and Education. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Vail, K. E., & Motyl, M. S. (2010). Support for Diplomacy: Peacemaking and militarism as a unidimensional correlate of social, environmental, and political attitudes. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 16, 29-57.

Vail, K. E., Rothschild, Z. K., Weise, D., Solomon, S., Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (2010). A terror management analysis of the psychological functions of religion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14, 84-94.

Pyszczynski, T., Vail, K. E., & Motyl, M. S. (2010). The cycle of righteous killing: Psychological forces in the prevention and promotion of peace. In T. Pick, A. Speckhard, & B. Jacuch (Eds.), Homegrown Terrorism: NATO Science for Peace and Security Series – E: Human and Societal Dynamics. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Vail, K. E., Arndt, J., Motyl, M. S., & Pyszczynski, T. (2012). The aftermath of destruction: Images of destroyed buildings increase support for war, dogmatism, and death thought accessibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1069-1081.

Vail, K. E., Juhl, J., Arndt, J., Vess, M. K., Routledge, C., & Rutjens, B. T. (2012). When death is good for life: Considering the positive trajectories of terror management. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 16, 303-329.

Pyszczynski, T., Motyl, M., Vail, K. E., Hirschberger, G., Arndt, J., & Kesebir, P. (2012). Drawing attention to global climate change decreases support for war. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 18, 354-368.

Vail, K. E., Arndt., J., & Abdollahi, A. (2012). Exploring the existential function of religion and supernatural agent beliefs among Christians, Muslims, Atheists and Agnostics. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1288-1300.

Vail, K. E., Kosloff, S., Vess, M. K., & Ashish, D. (2012). Faith and finitude: Exhuming the death-denying function of religious belief. In P. McNamara & W. J. Wildman (Eds.), Science and the World’s Religions. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Press.

Arndt, J., Landau, M. J., Vail, K. E., & Vess, M. (2013). An edifice for enduring personal value: A terror management perspective on the human quest for multi-level meaning (pp.49-70). In K. Markman, T. Proulx & M. Lindberg (Eds.), The Psychology of Meaning. Washington, DC: APA.

Arndt, J., Vail, K. E., Cox, C. R., Goldenberg, J. L., Piasecki, T. M., & Gibbons, F. X. (2013). The interactive effect of mortality reminders and tobacco craving on smoking topography. Health Psychology, 32, 525-532.

McCabe, S., Vail, K. E., Arndt, J., & Goldenberg, J. L. (2013). Multi-layered meanings in health decision making: A terror management health model analysis. In J. Hicks & C. Routledge (Eds.), The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies. New York: Springer Press.

McCabe, S., Vail, K. E., Arndt, J., & Goldenberg, J. L. (in press). Hails from the crypt: A terror management health model investigation of the effectiveness of health-oriented vs. celebrity-oriented endorsements. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.