Montana State University

Contact Information

Matthew Vess, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Montana State University
PO Box 173440
Bozeman, MT 59717-3440

Tel: 406-994-5218
Fax: 406-994-3804
Loc: 303 Traphagen Hall

E-mail Address:

Matthew Vess

Research Interests

  • Construction and Maintenance of Meaning in Life
  • Activation and Expression of True-Self Conceptions
  • Psychological Threat and Health-Relevant Decision Making
  • Cognitive Abstraction and the Stability of Self-Relevant Beliefs


  • Ph.D. (2010). University of Missouri
  • M.A. (2007). University of Missouri
  • B.A. (2004). Ohio University

Selected Recent Publications

Vess, M., Schlegel, R. J., Hicks, J. A., & Arndt, J. (in press). "True" self-conceptions influence affective responses to personal shortcomings. Journal of Personality.

Routledge, C., Juhl, J., Vess, M., Cathey, C., & Liao, J. (2013). Who uses groups to transcend the limits of the individual self? Exploring the effects of interdependent self-construal and mortality salience on investment in social groups. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 483-491.

Routledge, C., Juhl, J., & Vess, M. (2013). Mortality salience increases death-anxiety for individuals low in personal need for structure. Motivation and Emotion, 37, 303-307.

Vess, M. (2012). Warm thoughts: Attachment-anxiety and sensitivity to temperature cues. Psychological Science, 23, 472-474.

Vess, M., Arndt, J., & Cox, C. R. (2012). Faith and nature: The effect of death-relevant cognitions on the relationship between religious fundamentalism and connectedness to nature. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 333-340.

Vess, M., Arndt, J., Routledge, C., Sedikides, C., & Wildschut, T. (2012). Nostalgia as a resource for the self. Self & Identity, 11, 273-284.

Schlegel, R. J., Vess, M., & Arndt, J. (2012). To discover or to create: Metaphors and the true self. Journal of Personality, 80, 969-993.

Routledge, C., & Vess, M. (2012). More than meets the eye: There’s more to meaning maintenance than violated expectations. Psychological Inquiry, 23, 374-380.

Vail III, K. E., Juhl, J., Arndt, J., Vess, M., Routledge, C., & Rutjens, B. T. (2012). When death is good for life: Exploring the positive trajectories of terror management. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 16, 303-329.

Vess, M., Arndt, J., & Schlegel, R. J. (2011). Abstract construal levels attenuate the reactivity of state self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 861-864.

Landau, M. J., Vess, M., Arndt, J. Rothschild, Z. K., Sullivan, D., & Atchley, R. A. (2011). Embodiment and the intrinsic self: Priming entity expansion heightens expression of the intrinsic self-concept in self-perceptions and interpersonal behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 79-87.

Routledge, C., Juhl, J., & Vess, M. (2010). Divergent reactions to the terror of terrorism: Personal need for structure moderates the effects of terrorism salience on worldview-related attitudinal rigidity. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32, 243-249.

Vess, M., Routledge, C., Landau, M. J., & Arndt, J. (2009). The dynamics of death and meaning: The effects of death-relevant cognitions and personal need for structure on perceptions of meaning in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 728-744.

Vess, M., Arndt, J., Cox, C. R., Routledge, C., & Goldenberg, J. L. (2009). The terror management of medical decisions: The effect of mortality salience and religious fundamentalism on support for faith-based medical intervention. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 334-350.

Arndt, J., Vess, M., Cox, C. R., Goldenberg, J. L., & Lagle, S. (2009). The psychosocial effect of thoughts of personal mortality on cardiac risk assessment by medical students. Medical Decision Making, 29, 175-181.