Thomas Curran

Our dangerous obsession with perfectionism is getting worse

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About Thomas Curran

Social and personality psychologist Thomas Curran studies the personality characteristic of perfectionism, how it develops, and it’s impact on mental health. He is a member of the Centre for Motivation and Health Behavior Change in Bath, UK, the Motivation, Personality, and Well-being research group in York, UK, and is currently an assistant professor in the Department for Health at the University of Bath. His research rose to prominence following a 2017 publication of the first systems-level cohort study to show that perfectionism is on the rise in American, Canadian, and British college students. Since then, he has written and spoken extensively on how we have created societies perfectly calibrated to promote perfectionism, which is contributing to almost epidemic levels of serious mental illness among young people. Thomas is the author of over 30 published papers and has received numerous awards for his scholarship and research.

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About This Talk

“I’m a perfectionist” is a personality flaw that most people are happy to self-identify with. And for good reason—being a perfectionist implies working hard and never settling, qualities that are celebrated in our achievement and success-oriented society. While a person’s quest for perfection is usually made in the well-intentioned pursuit of improvement and advancement, perfectionism is often a never-ending summit, a cycle of self defeat in the face of impossible standards.

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