2016 - William Brady, New York University
Moral Contagion: How Emotion Shapes Diffusion of Moral Ideas in Social Networks
My dissertation explores what factors makes moral and political ideas most likely to spread to others. Specifically, I use a combination of behavioral, psychophysiological and social media methods to investigate 'moral contagion', or the process by which morally-framed emotion expression leads to greater diffusion of ideas in social networks. In the dissertation I also study the psychological processes that underlie moral contagion and its boundary conditions.
2016 - Kassandra Cortes, University of Waterloo
Perceiving Relationship Success through a Motivational Lens: A Regulatory Focus Perspective
In my dissertation research, I am examining how the qualities that contribute to relationship success depend on the motivational (regulatory focus) orientation of the individual. In initial studies I found that promotion-focused people value growth-related qualities in their relationships, while prevention-focused people prioritize security-related qualities. I am now examining how the same relationship-enhancing intervention can be framed in different ways to serve both growth and security needs. The goal of this research is to better understand what makes relationships work (and work better).
2016 - Brittany Jakubiak, Carnegie Mellon University
Hand-in-hand combat: An experimental test of affectionate touch to promote relational well-being and buffer stress during couple conflict
Romantic couples benefit from having constructive rather than destructive conflicts, but there have been limited attempts to influence conflict behaviors and to reduce the stress of relational conflicts using non-intensive interventions. My dissertation research will test experimentally whether engaging in affectionate touch (i.e., holding hands) before and during a conflict promotes positive relational behaviors and perceptions and buffers the stress of the conflict.
2016 - Jinhyung Kim, Texas A&M University
In Pursuit of Existential Meaning: Motivation to Search for Meaning Facilitates Experiential Purchases Over Material Purchases
People are fundamentally motivated to search for meaning, but what do people actually do when they want to find meaning in their lives? My dissertation aims to illuminate types of daily activities people engage in as they are motivated to search for meaning. Specifically, my dissertation research examines whether the motivation to search for meaning fosters the preference for experiential purchases (e.g., going to European vacation) over material purchases (e.g., buying jewelry). The potential increase in meaning in life via experiential purchases may be driven by multiple underlying mechanisms such as social relatedness, competence, intrinsic motivation, true self-knowledge, and positive affect.
2016 - Yeonjeong Kim, Carnegie Mellon University
Detecting the Moral Character of Strangers: The Hidden Information Distribution and Evaluation (HIDE) Model
The ability to correctly judge other people’s moral character—their disposition to think, feel, and behave ethically—allows us to predict and possibly prevent unethical behaviors that harm individuals and society. My dissertation proposes a new theoretical framework of person perception—the HIDE mode—, and uses this framework to develop a battery of interview questions designed to covertly reveal strangers’ moral character through their spontaneous written responses. I examine the validity of these interview-based moral character judgments by testing how well they predict unethical behaviors.
2016 - Erin Westgate, University of Virginia
Why Boredom is Interesting
What is boredom, why do we experience it, and what happens when we do? According to the Motivational and Attentional Components (MAC) model, we feel bored when we can't successfully engage our attention in meaningful activities. We may not enjoy it, but boredom gives us important feedback about our lives; it tells us whether we want to and are able to do something. My dissertation proposes and tests this new model of state boredom.
2016 - Ashley Whillans, The University of British Columbia
Exchanging cents for seconds: The happiness benefits of choosing time over money
In a typical day and across a lifetime, people face trade-offs related to time and money. These trade-offs play a role in major decisions such as whether to choose a higher paying career that demands longer hours (vs. making less money and having more free time) and in mundane decisions, such as whether to spend a Saturday afternoon cleaning gutters (or paying someone else to do it). My dissertation examines the (1) happiness benefits of choosing time over money and explores (2) how to help people use their money to buy themselves more and better time.
2015 - Jeffrey Bowen, University of California, Santa Barbara
2015 - David Chester, University of Kentucky
2015 - Allison Farrell, University of Minnesota
2015 - Nicole Lawless DesJardins, University of Oregon
2015- Chadly Stern, New York University
2015 - Konstantin Tskhay, University of Toronto
- Alyssa Croft, University of British Columbia
- Patrick Forscher, University of Wisconsin
- Nathan Hudson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign