I study the fundamental mental processes underlying social attitudes, impressions, judgments, and decisions. The starting assumption of my research is that social behavior is based to a large degree on how we interpret or construe the people and situations we encounter in life. From this standpoint, it is important to understand how these construals are formed and how they influence the ongoing stream of behavior. I have a particular interest in stereotypes and prejudice and the ways they influence basic mental processes like attention, perception, memory, and judgment. Examples of questions in this domain that are investigated in my lab include: Under what conditions are stereotypes activated? How do we deal with the diverse stereotypes that could potentially be applied in any given case (e.g., sex, race, nationality, age)? To what extent do people have effective control over the mental processes involved in stereotyping and prejudice?
additional interests include...
The role of emotion and arousal in social judgment. Do the various distinct emotional states incite certain cognitive tendencies, such as being more thoughtful or more impulsive in our reactions? How do variations in arousal, such as changes in alertness across the circadian cycle, affect judgment and decision-making strategies?
The effects of social roles and social values on judgment and behavior. How are consumers' attitudes and choices influenced by momentarily salient aspects of their identities (such as gender or religion)? How do materialistic pursuits influence social investment and civic participation?
Mental illness stigma. When are people most likely to stigmatize individuals experiencing a psychological disorder? What role do beliefs about the biological or genetic basis of mental illness play in shaping mental illness stigma.