After graduating from Yonsei University in Korea, Suh obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois (Champaign), working with Dr. Ed Diener. He served as as a faculty member at the University of California at Irvine before returning to his alma mater in Seoul.
Subjective well-being ("happiness"), self, and culture are Suh's three major research topics. Cultures, by sampling different aspects of experience and by emphasizing different types of information, crucially influence how individuals construe themselves and others. The personal experience of happiness, various judgments one makes about the self and other people, and intriguing lay beliefs shared by cultural members are all profoundly shaped by this dynamic psycho-cultural process.