Our research examines human social interaction. We are interested in understanding how people think, feel, and behave when they interact with others, as well as how people's experiences and behaviors are influenced by their interaction partners. Some of our current research questions are listed below.
We are interested in understanding how and when people experience similar physiological responses when they are interacting with each other, which we call "physiological linkage." What behaviors do people engage in that lead to physiological linkage? In what types of relationships do people experience the most physiological linkage? How does physiological linkage relate to important social processes, like group decision-making? What quantitative methods can we use to best capture the psychological processes underlying physiological linkage? We study these questions by examining people's autonomic nervous system responses continuously throughout dyadic and group interactions and by developing novel analytic techniques for examining these responses.
We are interested in how social roles and memberships in different social groups influence social interactions. For example, how do hierarchical differences between people influence how much they engage with each other? How does people's gender influence how they behave when working with other people in STEM learning environments? How does the knowledge that one's partner is from a different country shape what people say in conversation? We study these questions by examining social interactions in a variety of contexts and around the world in both lab and field settings.
A core theme of our research is the interactive nature of social and physiological processes. For example, how are people’s physiological and neuroendocrine responses shaped by their social interactions and perceptions of the social environment? How do neurobiological responses, like oxytocin, influence social behavior and experiences? How do threatening social experiences affect people's engagement with the health care system and their health behaviors? We study these questions using lab studies of acute experiences and field studies of longer-term, chronic experiences.