Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Photo of Weststrate, Nic M.

Nic M. Weststrate, PhD

Assistant Professor

Educational Psychology

Member, Center for Research on Health & Aging

Pronouns: He/Him/His


Building & Room:

3521 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-9478


Dr. Nic Weststrate’s research program investigates optimal psychosocial development across the adult lifespan. His research examines human development at the intersection of personal, social, cultural, and historical forces. He is primarily interested in Eriksonian developmental constructs, including personal and collective identity, generativity, ego integrity, and, especially, the development, manifestation, and transmission of wisdom. In recent research, Nic has been exploring the influence of intergenerational storytelling on psychosocial development. He is currently examining this within the context of families and the LGBTQ+ community.

Nic's research orientation is informed by lifespan developmental, personality, narrative, and cultural psychology. He incorporates diverse quantitative and qualitative methodologies in his work, with an emphasis on narrative methods that capture the diversity, complexity, and cultural embeddedness of human development.


Courses Taught

EPSY 242 - Introduction to Sexuality Development Across the Lifespan

EPSY 257 - Adult Development & Aging in Contemporary Society

EPSY 340 - Self & Identity Development Across the Lifespan

Selected Grants

UIC Student Affairs Faculty Research Fellow Program, LGBTQ+ Campus Climate Study, Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

Grossmann, I., Weststrate, N. M., Ardelt, M., Brienza, J. P., Dong, M., Ferrari, M., Fournier, M. A., Hu, C. S., Nusbaum, H. C., & Vervaeke, J. (2020). The science of wisdom in a polarized world: Knowns and unknowns. Psychological Inquiry, 31, 103-133.

Weststrate, N. M. (in press). Using life story methods to capture cultural-historical dimensions of LGBTQ identity development across the generations. In K. C. McLean (Ed.), Cultural methodologies in psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Weststrate, N. M. (2019). “Violence begets violence; hate begets hate”: A wisdom-based analysis of contemporary social activism. In R. J. Sternberg, H. Nusbaum, & J. Glück (Eds.), Applying wisdom to contemporary world problems. Palgrave Macmillan.

Weststrate, N. M., Bluck, S., & Glück, J. (2019). Wisdom of the crowd: Exploring people’s conceptions of wisdom. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Glück (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of wisdom. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Weststrate, N. M., Ferrari, M., Fournier, M. A., & McLean, K. C. (2018). “It was the best worst day of my life”: Narrative content, structure, and process in wisdom-fostering life event memories. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 73, 1359-1373.

Weststrate, N. M., & Glück, J. (2017). Hard-earned wisdom: Exploratory processing of difficult life experience is positively associated with wisdom. Developmental Psychology, 53, 800-814.

Weststrate, N. M., Ferrari, M., & Ardelt, M. (2016). The many faces of wisdom: An investigation of cultural-historical wisdom exemplars reveals practical, philosophical, and benevolent prototypes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 662-676.

Ferrari, M., & Weststrate, N. M. (Eds.). (2013). The scientific study of personal wisdom: From contemplative traditions to neuroscience. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Weststrate, N. M., & McLean, K. C. (2010). The rise and fall of gay: A cultural-historical approach to gay identity development. Memory, 18, 225-240.


2017 - PhD, University of Toronto, Developmental Psychology and Education
2011 - MA, University of Toronto, Developmental Psychology and Education
2007 - HBSc, University of Toronto, Psychology and Philosophy

Professional Memberships

Association for Research in Personality

European Association of Personality Psychology

Gerontological Society of America

Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Society for Study of Emerging Adulthood