Dr. David Chester

Assistant Professor
Social Psychology
808 W Franklin, rm 302
(804) 828-7624

Assistant Professor (tenure-track)
Social Psychology
PhD (2016), University of Kentucky

Web site: David S. Chester

Research Interests

Human aggression is a costly and complex phenomenon. My research seeks to understand the psychological and biological processes that motivate and constrain aggressive behavior. For example, I am interested in how the brain’s reward circuitry promotes and reinforces aggressive responses to threat, provocation, and rejection.

Selected Publications

Chester, D. S., DeWall, C. N., Derefinko, K. J., Estus, S., Lynam, D. R., Peters, J. R., & Jiang, Y. (in press). Looking for reward in all the wrong places: Dopamine receptor polymorphisms correlate with aggression through increased sensation-seeking. Social Neuroscience.
Chester, D. S., & DeWall, C. N. (2016). The pleasure of revenge: Retaliatory aggression arises from a neural imbalance toward reward. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11, 1173-1182.
Chester, D. S., Lynam, D. R., Powell, D. K., & DeWall, C. N. (2016). Narcissism is associated with weakened frontostriatal connectivity: A DTI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11, 1036-1040.
Chester, D. S., Lynam, D. R., Milich, R., Powell, D. K., Andersen, A. H., & DeWall, C. N. (2016). How do negative emotions impair self-control? A neural model of negative urgency. NeuroImage, 132, 43-50.
Chester, D. S., Eisenberger, N. I., Pond, R. S., Richman, S. B., Bushman, B. J., & DeWall, C. N. (2014). The interactive effect of social pain and executive functioning on aggression: An fMRI experiment. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 699-704.

Recent Courses

  • Personality Psychology, undergraduate level

Recent Grants

Testing a Cyclical Model of Aggression and Alcohol Abuse: An fMRI Study. Principal Investigator. 2014-2016. R.S. Lipman Research Fund for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, $3,100.
The Rewarding Nature of Angry Rumination in Borderline Personality Disorder: An fMRI Investigation. Co-Investigator. 2013-2014. University of Kentucky’s Office of the Vice President for Research, $7,575.


  • Young Investigator Program Award, International Society for Research on Aggression, 2016
  • Dissertation Research Award, Heritage Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology, 2015
  • Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of Kentucky, 2015
  • Outstanding Research Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 2012