My research program is dedicated to providing a better understanding of personality development and relationship development.  

Personality Development

To gain better insights into personality development, my coauthors and I have studied personality development in general and specifically in the context of romantic relationships.

To study personality development in general, we used McAdams’s integrative framework for studying people to investigate how personality manifests and develops along the actor, agent, and author (Bühler, Weidmann, & Grob, 2020). The key contribution of this article is that the findings support the idea that people’s personality traits, life goals, and narrative themes are meaningfully related over time. In another study, we specifically focused on the self as agent and took a closer look at the content, processes, and outcomes of people’s life goals across the life span (Bühler, Weidmann, Nikitin, & Grob, 2019).

To investigate personality development in romantic relationships, we studied, for instance, the Michelangelo phenomenon from a life-span perspective (Bühler, Weidmann, Kumashiro, & Grob, 2019) and a dyadic perspective (Bühler, Finkenauer, & Grob, 2020). This line of research has been shared through various national and international outreach activities, such as podcasts, newspaper articles, and interviews (see Media). Furthermore, we assessed personality development inside and outside of romantic relationships (Bühler, Wrzus, Weidmann, Wünsche, Burriss, & Grob, 2021) and studied the relationship processes that underlie personality development in romantic relationships (Bühler, Weidmann, Wünsche, Burris, & Grob, 2020).

Relationship Development 

To gain a thorough knowledge of relationship development, my coauthors and I have applied both a macro perspective and a micro perspective on social development.

In a theoretical article, Jana Nikitin and I I took a macro perspective on social development, that is, on how people approach, organize, and maintain their social relationships. Specifically, we provided detailed theoretical and methodological recommendations for studying adult social development and illustrating these recommendations with specific research examples (Bühler & Nikitin, 2020).

In theoretical and empirical articles, my coauthors argue that narrative processing is a common way by which individuals make sense of their experiences. Specifically, we discuss the benefits of applying narrative methodologies to the study of romantic relationship and provide theoretical and methodological recommendations (Bühler & Dunlop, 2019). Moreover, we implemented these recommendations in that we developed a manual for conducting narrative interviews with romantic partners (Bühler, Maghsoodi, & McAdams, 2017). The manual is available in English, German, and Farsi, and has been used in research (Dunlop, Bühler, Maghsoodi, Harake, Wilkinson, & McAdams, 2020).