William "Billy" Davis, Ph.D. | Wittenberg University

William "Billy" Davis, Ph.D.

William DavisAssistant Professor
Personality Psychology, Psychological Testing
Blair Hall 111

Dr. Davis' research examines how people make sense of their place in the world and understand who they truly are. He is particularly interested in how feelings of authenticity can affect our well-being in both positive and negative ways. He also studies what factors predict feelings of meaning in life, and what motivates people to pursue their goals in different domains such as sports and academics.

Personal Website


  • Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology, Texas A&M University
  • B.S. in Philosophy/Humanities and Psychology, North Dakota State University

Courses Taught

  • HONR-300 Psychology of Happiness
  • PSYC-100 Understanding Psychology
  • PSYC-101 Intro to Psychological Science
  • PSYC-140 Differential Psychology Proseminar
  • PSYC-241 Psychology of Personality
  • PSYC-400 Research

Recent Publications (* indicates student co-authors):

  • Johnston, C.*, & Davis, W. E. (2019). Motivating exercise through social media: Is a picture always worth a thousand words? Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 41, 119-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.12.012

  • Kim, J., Chen, K., Davis, W. E., Hicks, J. A., & Schlegel, R. J. (2019). Approaching the true self: Promotion focus predicts the experience of authenticity. Journal of Research in Personality, 78, 165-176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2018.12.001

  • Davis, W. E., Giner-Sorolla, R., Lindsay, D. S., Loughheed, J. P., Makel, M. C., Meier, M. E., Sun, J., Vaughn, L. A., & Zelenski, J. M. (2018). Peer reviewing: concrete guidelines toward a valid, robust, and diverse psychological literature. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 1, 556-573. https://doi.org/10.1177/2515245918806489

  • Davis, W. E., Perekslis, S.*, Abney, S.*, Eshun, S.*, & Dunn, R.* (2018). Multidimensional perfectionism and perceptions of potential relationship partners. Personality and Individual Differences, 127, 31-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.01.039

  • Davis, W. E., & Hicks, J. A. (2016). Judgments of meaning in life, religious beliefs, and the experience of cognitive (dis)fluency. Journal of Personality, 84, 291-305. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12159

  • Davis, W. E., Kelley, N. J., Kim, J., Tang, D., & Hicks, J. A. (2016) Motivating the academic mind: High-level construal of academic goals enhances goal meaningfulness, motivation, and self-concordance. Motivation and Emotion, 40, 193-202. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-015-9522-x

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