Misty Forest Reflection


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It is undeniable that social connections and interactions are key to the human experience. Perhaps for this reason, laypeople and scientists alike have assumed that being alone is aversive, a state inexorably tied to lonely emotions and sense of isolation. Yet solitude is experienced daily by nearly everyone, and though it can be negative it can also be a constructive and rewarding time. What makes some more psychologically resilient to solitude and why do some experience fewer of the negative and more of the positive emotions associated with this potentially challenging state? The SOAR project, funded by the European Research Council, will integrate fragmented literatures and model contributions of predictors at event, individual, and cultural levels.



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Netta Weinstein, Ph.D.

Netta Weinstein is a psychologist trained in both clinical work and research, and an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Reading (UK). She has written numerous articles on motivation, relationships, well-being, and knowing oneself. She is a graduate of the University of Rochester, and now teaches and conducts research at the University of Reading.



Thuy-vy Nguyen, Ph.D.

Thuy-vy Nguyen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Durham (UK). She is an expert in studying solitude in laboratory experiments, investigating various factors that lead to different concepts of solitude. She is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine and the University of Rochester.

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Investigator and Journalist

Heather Hansen

Heather Hansen is an award-winning journalist and author who was a reporter for a weekly newspaper and a city magazine before going freelance two decades ago. Her work has appeared in various media outlets worldwide. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the University of California at Berkeley. She also has collaborated with the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Utah.


Weinstein, N., Przybylski, A. K., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Can nature make us more caring? Effects of immersion in nature on intrinsic aspirations and generosity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(10), 1315-1329.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167209341649

Weinstein, N., Przybylski, A. K., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). The index of autonomous functioning: Development of a scale of human autonomy. Journal of Research in Personality, 46(4), 397-413.
​doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2012.03.007

Nguyen, T. V. T., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2018). Solitude as an approach to affective self-regulation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(1), 92-106.doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167217733073

Weinstein, N., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2011). Motivational determinants of integrating positive and negative past identities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(3), 527.
​doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022150

Weinstein, N., Khabbaz, F., & Legate, N. (2016). Enhancing need satisfaction to reduce psychological distress in Syrian refugees. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(7), 645.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000095

Nguyen, T. V. T., Werner, K. M., & Soenens, B. (2019). Embracing me-time: Motivation for solitude during transition to college. Motivation and Emotion, 43(4), 571-591.
​doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-019-09759-9