David Chester, Ph.D.

Chester, David

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

Assistant Professor (tenure-track)
Director, Social Psychology
Ph.D. (2016), University of Kentucky

Doctoral Program Affiliation

Social Psychology


Social Psychology and Neuroscience Lab

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.

Select Publications

Chester, D. S., Lynam, D. R., Milich, R., & DeWall, C. N. (in press). Physical aggressiveness and gray matter deficits in ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Cortex.
Chester, D. S. (2017). The role of positive affect in aggression. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 366-370.
Chester, D. S., & DeWall, C. N. (2017). Combating the sting of rejection with the pleasure of revenge: A new look at how emotion shapes aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, 413-430.
Chester, D. S., Whitt, Z. T., Davis, T. S., & DeWall, C. N. (2017). The Voodoo Doll Self-Injury Task: A new measure of sub-clinical self-harm tendencies. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 36, 554-578.
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.

Recent Courses

  • Personality Psychology, undergraduate level
  • Social Psychology, undergraduate level
  • Advanced Social Psychology, graduate level

Recent Grants

Testing a Cyclical Model of Aggression and Alcohol Abuse: An fMRI Study

Amount: $3,100
Role: Principal Investigator
Source: R.S. Lipman Research Fund for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Period: 2014-2016

The Rewarding Nature of Angry Rumination in Borderline Personality Disorder: An fMRI Investigation

Amount: $7,575
Role: Co-Investigator
Source: University of Kentucky’s Office of the Vice President for Research
Period: 2013-2014

Recent Awards

  • 2017, Rising Star, Association for Psychological Science
  • 2016, Young Investigator Program Award, International Society for Research on Aggression
  • 2015, Dissertation Research Award, Heritage Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology
  • 2015, Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of Kentucky
  • 2012, Outstanding Research Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology

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