Research Overview

My central research interests can be summarized in the following way:

1) Implicit Social Cognition
a) How to change implicit attitudes
b) Understanding/improving implicit measurement

2) Political Psychology
a) Using implicit measures to predict political behavior (e.g., voting)
b) Political orientation as a behavioral predictor

More Specifics

Implicit Social Cognition

A significant portion of my research focuses on how we can change people’s implicit attitudes. To date, I have found that implicit attitudes are more likely to be impacted when a persuasive message is delivered by a source high in credibility (SDN 2013), likeability, or attractiveness (SD 2014), or who is a member of one’s own political party (SRN 2012). In addition, messages that focus on affect are more persuasive than messages focused on cognition (SD 2015).

Hand-in-hand with this work is a strong interest in what we’re measuring when we say we’re measuring “implicit attitudes”. This interest has led to publications including a chapter detailing the variety of different implicit measures (SR 2015), a review of the efficacy of implicit measures in political behavior (FSKB 2016), a paper on an instruction change to an implicit measure (DS 2013), and several papers on whether implicit measures are more related to automatic vs.controlled processes (RSN 2008), affective vs. cognitive processes (SN 2011, SD 2015) or associative vs.propositional processes (ZDGS 2014, VDGS 2015, VDGSS 2016).

Political Psychology

One pillar of my work on “Political Psychology” looks at whether we can predict voting from evaluations of candidates and their parties (FSPBN 2012), the candidate’s race (GSSBN 2009, or the candidate’s gender (SRCR in prep).

The other part of my research in this area rests on the idea that political orientation operates something like a personality variable. This is the newest section of my research, and I am still working to flesh out what this means. For now, functionally, this means that I am looking at ways in which political orientation interacts with “situations” (broadly defined) to predict behavior. So far, I have made the most progress in investigating how political orientation predicts humor appreciation (SC under review) and impression formation (SRRG in prep), with another couple of investigations still too “in prep” to talk about publicly yet.

Guiding Statement about My Research

I am fully supportive of our field’s movement toward a more open science. In practice, that means that I do my best to learn about the evolving norms of our field and to live up to what I perceive to be the best version of science. As of now (10/3/16), that means that I will post (e.g., on the Open Science Framework) all published data and the specific study materials that were involved in collecting that data. In addition, every study I run has a defined stopping rule and, were I to decide to collect more data, I would include the motivation for that decision in manuscripts. I am currently working toward pre-registering all hypotheses and tests for those hypotheses, but I have not yet implemented that practice uniformly. In sum, I strive to work as though everyone is watching, with the hope that the more I do that the more likely it is to come true.