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Paula G. Williams, Ph.D.


Curriculum Vitae


Office: 1301a BEHS
Phone: 801-585-6271

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, my research focuses on individual differences in risk and resilience for adverse mental and physical health outcomes, and potential mechanisms underlying these associations. The individual differences of interest include personality, cognitive (especially executive) functioning, and psychophysiological factors (especially tonic respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]). My program of research focuses on the inter-relations among these individual differences in risk and resilience in the context of stress regulation (i.e., stress exposure, reactivity, recovery, and restoration). Current research is particularly focused on restoration and stress, including 1) phenotypic and endophenotypic characteristics of habitual short sleepers; and 2) individual differences in the experience of aesthetic stimuli (i.e., art, nature, and beauty).

Opportunities for Students

I will be reviewing graduate applications for 2022.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center (Clinical Psychology, 1994-1996)
Internship, Duke University Medical Center (Clinical Psychology, 1993-1994)
Ph.D., University of Utah (Clinical Psychology, 1995)
M.S., Illinois State University (Clinical Psychology, 1988)
B.S., University of Illinois (Psychology/Genetics and Development, 1986)

Selected Publications

Williams, P.G., Barger, S.D., & Curtis, B.J. (in press). Individual differences in habitual short sleep duration and dysfunction: Subjective health versus objective cardiovascular disease risk.  Health Psychology

Johnson, K.T., Williams, P.G., Smith, T.W., & Baucom, B.R.W. (in press). Individual differences in aesthetic engagement and proneness to aesthetic chill: Associations with stress-related growth orientation. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. 

Williams, P.G., Cribbet, M. R., Tinajero, R., Rau, H.K., Thayer, J.F., & Suchy, Y. (2019). The association between individual differences in executive functioning and resting high frequency heart rate variability. Biological Psychology.

Curtis, B.J., Williams, P.G., & Anderson, J.S. (2019). Neural reward processing in self-reported short sleepers: Examination of gambling task brain activation in the Human Connectome Project database. SLEEP. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz129

Williams, P.G., Curtis, B.J., & Anderson, J.S. (2019). Toward an individual differences approach to habitual short sleep duration: A reply to Massar and Chee. SLEEP [Letter to the Editor]. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz035

Williams, P.G., Johnson, K.T., Curtis, B.J., King, J.B., & Anderson, J.S. (2018). Individual differences in aesthetic engagement are reflected in resting-state fMRI connectivity: Implications for stress resilience. NeuroImage, 179, 156-165.

Curtis, B.J., Williams, P.G., & Anderson, J.S. (2018). Objective cognitive functioning in self-reported habitual short sleepers not reporting daytime dysfunction: Examination of impulsivity via delay discounting. SLEEP, 41. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy115

Tinajero, R., Williams, P.G., Cribbet, M.R., Rau, H.K, Bride, D.L., & Suchy, Y. (2018). Nonrestorative sleep in healthy adults without insomnia: Associations with executive functioning, fatigue, and pre-sleep arousalSleep Health, 4, 284-291.

Williams, P.G., Tinajero, R., & Suchy, Y. (2017). Executive functioning and health. Oxford Reviews Online. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935291.013.7

Williams, P.G., Rau, H.K., Suchy, Y., Thorgusen, S., & Smith, T.W. (2017). On the validity of self-report assessment of cognitive abilities: Attentional Control Scale associations with cognitive performance, emotional adjustment, and personality. Psychological Assessment, 29, 519-530.

Curtis, B.J., Williams, P.G., Jones, C.R., & Anderson, J.S. (2016). Sleep duration and resting fMRI functional connectivity:  Examination of short sleepers with and without perceived daytime dysfunction. Brain and Behavior, 0:1–13. e00576, doi: 10.1002/brb3.576

Williams, P.G., Cribbet, M.R., Rau, H.K, Gunn, H.E., & Czajkowski, L. (2013). The effects of poor sleep on cognitive, affective, and physiological responses to a laboratory stressor. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 46, 40-51.

Williams, P. G., Smith, T. W., Gunn, H. E., & Uchino, B. N. (2011). Personality and stress: Individual differences in exposure, reactivity, recovery, and restoration. In Contrada, R. & Baum, A. (Eds.), Handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 231-245). New York, NY: Springer.

Williams, P. G., Suchy, Y., & Kraybill, M. L. (2010). Five-Factor Model personality traits and executive functioning in older adults. Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 485-491.

Williams, P. G., Rau, H. K., Cribbet, M. R., & Gunn, H. E. (2009). Openness to Experience and stress regulation. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 777-784.

Williams, P. G., Suchy, Y., & Rau, H. K. (2009). Individual differences in executive functioning: Implications for stress regulation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 126-140.


Steven Carlson
Kimberley Johnson

Last Updated: 11/5/21