Seana Moran, Ed.D.

Research Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: 508.793.7272

Curriculum Vitae
Purpose Around the World Lab:

Dr. Moran received a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Southern California , an M.B.A. from the University of New Mexico, an M.Ed. in Mind, Brain and Behavior plus an Ed.D. in Human Development & Psychology from Harvard University, and postdoctoral training at Stanford University.

Current Grant

How service-learning influences youth purpose around the world. S. Moran (PI), J.M. Mariano (Co-PI). International partner PIs: P. Aramburuzabala, Spain; U. Araujo, Brazil; P. Folgueiras, Spain; F. Jiang, China; J. Shin, South Korea; K. Tirri, Finland.

Funded by The John Templeton Foundation. For more information, see: 

Current Research and Teaching

Dr. Moran’s research interests take a developmental perspective on how individuals make contributions to situations, institutions and communities and how they recognize themselves as contributors. Each of us is part of the “environment” for others’ development: psychology includes not just how environmental stimuli affect an individual’s psychology, but also how an individual’s psychology stimulates other individuals’—as well as more collective forms of institutions'—psychology. Our interactions—direct and interpersonal, or indirect through media and artifacts—jointly develop the community, society, culture, and future we share. In particular, Dr. Moran examines the developmental paths to exemplary forms of contribution, including creativity (which transforms the trajectory of culture), prosocial life purpose (which gives a positive, inclusive direction to a person’s life trajectory), wisdom (which is considered a deep, systemic knowledge of, and skill for affecting, how aspects of the world are interconnected).

Her current projects are: (1) the intersection of service-learning and life purpose: how do high-impact educational experiences of helping others or institutions influence a young person's vision and plans for the future? (2) the intersection of creativity and morality/ethics: how does an individual's and a culture's current notions of “good” affect whether and how creativity is manifested, and how do creative contributions, in turn, sometimes lead to moral turbulence?

At Clark, Dr. Moran teaches an ethics of collaborative creativity seminar, development of life purpose seminar, and a decision-making lab, as well as a research experience course related to purpose in youth. She also has taught adult development, adolescent development, professional ethics, leadership, youth entrepreneurship, advertising, and marketing at other universities as well as in professional trainer and coach roles.

Selected Publications


The Ethics of Creativity

Moran, S., Mariano, J. M., Aramburuzabala, P., Araujo, U., Folgueiras, P., Jiang, F., Shin, J.,  Tirri, K., et al. (2016, forthcoming). Youth purpose around the world. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Moran, S. (2016). Ethical ripples of creativity and innovation. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan

Moran, S., Kaufman, J. C., & Cropley, D. H. (Eds.). (2014). The ethics of creativity. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chen, J-Q., Moran, S., & Gardner, H. (Eds.). (2009). Multiple intelligences around the world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Sawyer, K., John-Steiner, V., Moran, S., Sternberg, R.J., Feldman, D.H., Nakamura, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003). Creativity and development. New York: Oxford University Press.

Other Selected Publications

For reprints, please contact

Life Purpose

Moran, S. (2016, forthcoming). What do teachers think about youth purpose? The Journal of Education for Teaching.

Moran, S. (2015). Adolescent aspirations for change: Creativity as a life purpose. Asia Pacific Education Review, 16(2), 167-175. doi: 10.1007/s12564-015-9363-z  

Moran, S. (2014). What “purpose“ means to youth: Are there distinct cultures of purpose? Applied Developmental Science, 18(3), 1-13.

Malin, H., Reilly, T.S., Quinn, B., & Moran, S. (2013). Adolescent purpose development: Exploring empathy, discovering roles, shifting priorities, and creating pathways. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(1), 186-199. DOI: 10.1111/jora.1205

Moran, S., Bundick, M., Malin, H., & Reilly, T.S. (2012). How supportive of their specific purposes do youth believe their family and friends are? Journal of Adolescent Research, 28(3), 348-377. DOI: 10.1177/0743558412457816

Moran, S. (2010). Changing the world: Tolerance and creativity aspirations among American youth. High Ability Studies, 21(2), 117-132.

Moran, S. (2009). Purpose: Giftedness in intrapersonal intelligence. High Ability Studies, 20(2), 143-159.


Moran, S. (2015). Creativity is a label for the aggregated, time-dependent, subjective judgments by creators and adopters. Creativity: Theories-Research-Applications, 2(1), 64-69. doi: 10.1515/ctra-2015-0009

Moran, S. (2010). The roles of creativity in society. In J.C. Kaufman & R.J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of creativity (pp. 74-90). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Moran, S. (2010). Creativity in school. In K.S. Littleton, C. Wood, & J.K. Staarman (Eds.), International handbook of psychology in education (pp. 319-360). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group.

Moran, S. (2009). What role does commitment play among writers with different levels of creativity? Creativity Research Journal, 21(2-3), 243-257.

Moran, S. (2009). Creativity: A systems perspective. In T. Richards, M. Runco, & S. Moger (Eds.), The Routledge companion to creativity (pp. 292-301). London: Routledge.

Moran, S., & Gardner, H. (2006). Extraordinary cognitive achievements: A developmental and systems analysis. In W. Damon (Series Ed.) & D. Kuhn & R.S. Siegler (Vol. Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 2 Cognition, perception, and language (6th ed.; pp. 905-949). New York: Wiley.

Moran, S., & John-Steiner, V. (2003). Creativity in the making: Vygotsky’s contribution to the dialectic of creativity and development. In K. Sawyer et al., Creativity and development (pp. 61-90). New York: Oxford University Press.