Jonathon Brown

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Jonathon Brown, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
(206) 543-0679
Advising: Does not accept or train psychology graduate students.
Interests: Nature, Origins, & Consequences of Self-Esteem


My research is concerned with understanding the nature, origins, and consequences of self-esteem.

I believe that, across cultures, self-esteem develops at a very early, preverbal age in response to biological (temperamental) and interpersonal factors (e.g., introjected parental love and attachment). For most people, these feelings remain throughout life. I also believe that self-esteem matters most when people experience negative feedback (e.g., failure, criticism, rejection, ostracism). Although negative feedback leads low self-esteem people to feel humiliated and ashamed of themselves, it does not have this effect among high self-esteem people. This is the principal value of having high self-esteem: It allows you to fail without feeling bad about yourself.


University of California, Los Angeles (1986)

  • Brown, J. D., Cai, H., Oakes, M. A., & Deng, C. (2009). Cultural similarities in self-esteem functioning: East is East and West is West, but sometimes the twain do meet. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40, 140-157.
  • Brown, J. D., & Dutton, K. A. (1995). The thrill of victory, the complexity of defeat: Self-esteem and people_s emotional reactions to success and failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 712-722.