We study how people select, change, interpret, and adapt to their social environments, in both the short and long term. This includes research questions like:
- How are personal attributes (like traits, emotions, roles, and goals) expressed in a range of contexts, including dyads, small groups, day-to-day life, and online social networks?
- How do people draw inferences, both accurate and inaccurate, about themselves and other people in different contexts?
- How does personality develop across the lifespan?
We use a variety of research methods to answer these questions, including laboratory experiments and observations, ecological assessments, longitudinal studies, surveys, and both "human-in-the-loop" and automated analyses of digital data.
Recent and current topics include:
Interpersonal perception in different relational contexts. What impressions people form of one another, how much people agree or disagree, and how accurate people are or aren't are all a function of the social context in which people interact. We are studying how a variety of relational and contextual variables affect interpersonal perception, including status hierarchies, interpersonal closeness and distance, and group goals and tasks.
Emotion processes and interpersonal perception. Previous work has documented that how people regulate their emotions has important consequences for social functioning (e.g., Srivastava et al., 2009). We are bringing this work into the lab to more study how a target's emotion regulation affects the impression formation processes.
Lifespan personality development. Personality tends to become somewhat stable in adulthood, but it can change at any point in the lifespan. We are currently running an NSF-funded longitudinal study, in collaboration with Gerard Saucier's lab, to look at how changes in personality traits interact with changes in social roles and values over time in adulthood. We are also collaborating with Jennifer Pfeifer's lab to study the development of traits like conscientiousness and empathy in adolescence.
Expression and judgment of self and personality online. How do people form impressions of one another online? What information do people use? When are people accurate and when are they wrong? We have recently begun a collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists and social and behavioral scientists to study interpersonal perception and social behavior online, including looking at how people form impressions of one another and generate reputations.