Areas of Study: Social Psychology/Personality
The Social/Personality psychology program provides opportunities for graduate students to do research on many topics. Some graduate students work on research problems that are closely related to ongoing faculty research programs, while others develop their own research interests. Students draw on the expertise of the faculty in Developmental, Cognitive, and other areas of psychology within the department, and with faculty in other departments such as Sociology, in addition to the faculty whose primary identification is with Social/Personality Psychology.
R e s e a r c h P r o j e c t s
Dr. Banyard conducts research on the long-term consequences of trauma and interpersonal violence including factors related to resilience and recovery among survivors. Most recently, her main program of research examines broader community contexts of survivors including approaches to sexual and intimate partner violence prevention and response. For example, she has conducted several evaluations of the efficacy of a college relationship and sexual violence prevention program (Bringing in the Bystander ™) focused on empowering bystanders to intervene before, during, or after incidents of interpersonal violence. She is part of Prevention Innovations, a research unit at UNH, and the research team she is part of has garnered national recognition for this work. Dr. Banyard’s research also focuses on developing a number of new evaluation tools to be used in understanding the role of bystanders in violence prevention and on more basic research questions about variables that facilitate or act as barriers to active bystander intervention in situations where there is risk of physical or sexual violence. Dr. Banyard also examines how to build community safety nets for survivors including increasing skills of friends and other network members to provide supportive reactions to disclosure of abuse by survivors and studies of criminal justice system responses to sexual assault.
Banyard, V. L. & Moynihan, M. M. (2011). Variation in Bystander Behavior Related to Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Prevention: Correlates in a Sample of College Students. Psychology of Violence, 1, 287-301.
Banyard, V. L. (2011). Who Will Help Prevent Sexual Violence: Creating An Ecological Model of Bystander Intervention. Psychology of Violence: Special Issue on Theories of Violence, 1, 216-229.
Moynihan, M. M., Banyard, V. L., Arnold, J. S., Eckstein, R. P., & Stapleton, J. G. (2011). Sisterhood may be powerful in for reducing sexual and intimate partner violence: An evaluation of the Bringing in the Bystander in-person program with sorority members. Violence Against Women, 17, 703-719.
Banyard, V. L., Potter, S., & Turner, H. (2011). The impact of Interpersonal Violence in Adulthood on Women’s Job Satisfaction and Productivity: The Mediating Roles of Mental and Physical Health. Psychology of Violence, 1, 16-28.
Moynihan, M. M., Banyard, V. L., Arnold, J. S., Eckstein, R. P., & Stapleton, J. G. (2010). Engaging Intercollegiate Athletes in Preventing and Intervening in Sexual and Intimate Partner. Journal of American College Health, 59, 197- 204.
Murphy, S., Banyard, V. L., Maynard, S. & (2011). Crisis Center Advocates Speak Out: A Unique Crime Demands a Unique Response. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 20, 690-710.
Banyard, V.L., Moynihan, M. M., Walsh, W., Cohn, E. S., & Ward, S. K. (2011). Friends of survivors: The community impact of unwanted sexual experiences. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26, 242-256.
Banyard, V. L., Eckstein, R., & Moynihan, M. M. (2010). Sexual violence prevention: The role of stages of change. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 111-135.
Lonsway, K.A, Victoria L. Banyard, V.L., Berkowitz, A.D., Gidycz, C. A., Katz, J., Koss, M. P., Schewe, P. A., and Ullman, S. E. (Jan, 2009). Rape prevention and risk reduction: Review of the research literature for practitioners. VAWnet.
Banyard, V. L., Williams, L. M., Saunders, B. E., & Fitzgerald, M. E. (2008). The complexity of trauma in the lives of women in families referred for family violence: Multiple mediators of mental health. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78, 394-404.
Banyard, V. L., Moynihan, M. M., & Plante, E. G. (2007). Sexual violence prevention through bystander education: An experimental evaluation. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 463-481.
(*not currently accepting new students)
Judgment of Control
People continually are confronted with situations in which they make judgments about the relation between events-the correlation between values of two variables (e.g., amount of environmental conditions and school performance), the contingency between actions and outcomes (e.g., if I study a lot, I earn good grades; if I don't, I earn poor grades); the association between characteristics (e.g., does variation in bumps on one's head relate to one's personality?), and so on. Some of my work in this area has examined the overall accuracy of judgments of control in situations in which actual control may be quantified. For example, McGarva and Benassi (1997) showed that people were relatively successful in scaling both social and non-social contingencies. In other research-including integrative literature reviews using meta-analytic statistical techniques-we have established the relation between individual differences and control beliefs (e.g., Presson & Benassi, 1996; Presson, Clark, & Benassi, 1997). Current work in my lab focuses on the role of feedback in improving the accuracy of judgments of co-variation.
Presson, P. K., & Benassi, V. A. (2003). Are depressive symptoms positively or negatively associated with the illusion of control? Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 31, 483-0485.
McGarva, A., & Benassi, V. A. (1997). Judgment of social and nonsocial contingencies. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12, 433-451.
Presson, P., & Benassi, V. A. (1996). Locus of control orientation and depressive symptomatology: A meta-analysis. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 11, 201-212.
Newman, S.E., & Benassi, V.A. (1989). Putting judgments of control into context: Contrast effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 876-889. (Newman and Benassi).
Benassi, V.A., Sweeney, P.D., & Dufour, C. (1988). Is there a relationship between locus of control orientation and depression? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97, 357-367.
Benassi, V.A., & Mahler, H.I. (1985). Contingency judgments by depressed college students: Sadder but not always wiser. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1323-1329.
Judgmental Biases and Heuristics
As many studies have demonstrated over the last 40 plus years, human judgment may be influenced under a wide variety of circumstances by systematic biases and heuristics. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman's work in this area is perhaps best known. Much of my work in the area of judgment of control is situated in this literature. For example, we have explored the effects of context on judgments of control over environmental events. Clark and Benassi (1997) demonstrated so-called contrast effects. In addition, I have had an interest in the research methods that are used in certain studies of judgmental bias and error-work on the so-called conjunction bias. People, under a range of experimental conditions, will judge the statistical likelihood that A and B are true to be greater than the likelihood that either A or B are true. A former graduate student (Russell Knoth) and I have been interested in the dependent measures that have been primarily used in studies to document the conjunction bias in conjunction studies.
Knoth, R., Benassi, V.A., & Geher, G. (in press). Measurement of the conjunction error: Answer choice versus answer justification. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal.
Presson, R., Clark, S., & Benassi, V. A. (1997). The Levenson locus of control scales: Confirmatory factor analyses and evaluation. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 25, 93-104.
Clark, S., & Benassi, V. A. (1997). Judgment of contingency: Contrast and assimilation, displacement of judgments, and self-efficacy. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 25, 183-200.
Knoth, R., & Benassi, V.A. (1993). The intractable conjunction fallacy: Statistical sophistication, instructional set, and training. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 8, 83-96.
Social Psychology and Teaching
Professor Gary Goldstein (a faculty member in psychology at the Manchester campus of UNH) and I have been collaborating since the early 1990s on studies that deal with social psychological factors involved in the teaching/learning process. One line of work focused on the relation college teachers' self-disclosure and their students' classroom participation (Goldstein & Benassi, 1994). We found a positive statistical association. In other work, we have examined college students' and faculty members' beliefs about the qualities of excellent lecturers and discussion leaders (Goldstein & Benassi, 1996) Our most recent work has established that discrepancies between students' and teachers' beliefs about the qualities of an idealized lecturer predict those students' ratings of their own teacher's performance (Goldstein & Benassi, 2006).
Goldstein, G. S. & Benassi, V.A. (2006). Students’ and instructors’ beliefs about excellent lecturers and discussion leaders. Research in Higher Education, 47, 685-707.
Benassi, V. A., & Goldstein, G. S. (2006). Students' Beliefs about Paranormal Claims: Implications for Teaching Introductory Psychology. In D. S. Dunn and S. L. Chew (Eds.), Best practices for teaching introductory psychology, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Goldstein, G., & Benassi, V. A. (1997). Teacher self-disclosure and student classroom participation: Reply to Wambach and Brothen. Teaching of Psychology, 24, 263-265.
Goldstein, G., & Benassi, V.A. (1996). Students’ perceptions of excellent lecturers and discussion leaders. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 7, 81-97.
Goldstein, G., & Benassi, V. A. (1994). The relation between teacher self-disclosure and student classroom participation. Teaching of Psychology, 212-217.
College Teaching and Preparing Future Faculty
I have written a number of pieces related to college teaching and preparing future faculty. The pieces cited below cover a range of topics, including the UNH Department of Psychology's preparing future faculty program, teaching introductory psychology, uses of student evaluations of teaching, and faculty development and productivity.
Seidel, L.F., Benassi, V.A., Lewis, J. (2008). Teaching to Enhance Learning in Health Administration Education. Journal of Health Administration Education, 63-72.
Seidel, L.F., Benassi, V.A., Richards, H., Lee, M.J. (2006). College Teaching as a Professional Field of Study. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 17, 225-239.
Benassi, V.A., & Seidel, L.F. (2006) Using student evaluations to improve teaching. In W. Buskist and S. Davis (Eds.). The handbook of the teaching of psychology. Blackwell Publishing.
Seidel, L.F., & Benassi, V.A. (2005). Faculty productivity as an agenda for faculty development. In J.E. Groccia and J.E. Miller (Eds). On becoming a productive university: Strategies for reducing costs and increasing quality in higher education. Bolton, MA: Anker Publications.
Benassi, V. A., & Fuld, K. (2004). University of New Hampshire’s preparing future psychology faculty program. In W. Buskist and B. Beins (Eds.), Preparing the new psychology professoriate: helping graduate students become competent teachers. Society for the Teaching of Psychology.
Benassi, V. A., Jordan, E. A., & Harrison, L. (1994). Using teaching modules to train and supervise graduate TAs. In K. G. Lewis (Ed.), The TA experience: Preparing for multiple roles. 183-188. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
Benassi, V. A., & Fernald, P. S. (1993). Preparing tomorrow's psychologists for careers. Teaching of Psychology. 20, 149-155.
The focus of the research in our laboratory has been on explaining the factors that affect why people follow or break rules. Our work focuses on testing and expanding two legal socialization models. The traditional legal socialization model focuses on explaining how legal and moral reasoning is related to rule-violating behavior based on the work of Tapp (Levine, 1979; Tapp & Kohlberg, 1979; Tapp & Levine, 1979). The integrated model of legal socialization argues that legal attitudes mediate that relation. Legal attitudes include normative status or how much participants approve of rule-violating behaviors (Cohn & White, 1990), enforcement status or how much participants approve of punishing rule-violating behaviors (Cohn & White, 1990), and Attitudes toward the Criminal Legal System scale which measures how positive respondents are toward the actors in the legal system (Martin & Cohn, 2004; Cohn & Modecki, 2007). The alternative model of legal socialization focuses on situational factors and argues that legitimacy and legal cynicism mediate between procedural justice and rule-violating behavior.
Rebellon, C. J., Manasse, M. E., Van Gundy, K., & Cohn, E.S. (in press). Perceived injustice and delinquency: A test of general strain theory. Journal of Criminal Justice.
Trinkner, R., Cohn, E. S., Rebellon, C. J., & Van Gundy, K. (in press). Never trust anyone over 30: Parental legitimacy as a mediator between parental style and changes in rule-violating behavior over time. Journal of Adolescence.
VanGundy, K., Stracuzzi, N., Rebellon, C., Tucker, C., & Cohn, E. (2011). Perceived community cohesion and the stress process in youth. Rural Sociology, 76, 293-318.
Cohn, E.S., Bucolo, D., Rebellon, C.J., & Van Gundy, K. (2010). An integrated model of legal and moral reasoning and rule-violating behavior: The role of legal attitudes. Law and Human Behavior, 34, 295-309.
Cohn, E. S., & Modecki, K.L. (2008). Legal socialization. In B.L. Cutler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Law and Psychology Volume 2 (p. 450-453). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Cohn, E. S., & Modecki, K. L. (2007). Gender differences in predicting delinquent behavior: Do individual differences matter? 35(6), Social Behavior and Personality, 35, 359-374.
Martin, T. A., & Cohn, E. S. (2004). Attitudes toward the criminal legal system: Scale development and predictors. Psychology, Crime and Law, 10(4), 367-391.
Martin, T. A., & Cohn, E. S. (2004). The attitudes toward the criminal justice system scale. In L.S. Wrightsman, A.L. Batson, & V.A. Edkins (Eds.) (p. 13-18), Measures of Legal Attitudes. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Rape and Dating Violence
Rape and dating violence are often not reported by victims, because they feel that they will be derogated. Psychologists have been interested in understanding the antecedents and consequences of both date rape and dating violence. I have been conducting a collaborative panel study of the incidence and prevalence of unwanted sexual experiences including date rape, with data collected in 1988, 2000, and 2006. Our next data collection will be in 2012 and will be expanded to include stalking and interpersonal violence. I have also conducted a meta-analysis of the predictors of dating violence perpetration and victimization.
People often derogate victims of date rape, holding them responsible for their victimization. Psychologists have been interested in studying the factors that affect these negative attitudes toward victims. I have been investigating the effect of the victims' and perpetrators' reactions and reputation on attributions of responsibility for date rape with both implicit and explicit measures. In the most recent studies, we have been measuring the physical distance between the chairs of the participant and his/her partner.
Walsh, W. A., Banyard, V. L., Moynihan, M. M., Ward, S., & Cohn, E. S. (2010). Service use on a college campus after an unwanted sexual experience. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 11, 134-151.
Banyard, V., Moynihan, M. M., Walsh, W. A., Cohn, E. S., & Ward, S. (2010). Friends of survivors: The community impact of unwanted sexual experiences. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 242-256.
Cohn, E. S., Dupuis, E. C., & Brown, T. (2009). In the eye of the beholder: Sex, resistance, reputation and perpetrator differences in date rape. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39, 1513-1535.
Spinney, C. A., Goforth, E. C., & Cohn, E. S. (2007). Factors influencing the reporting of dating violence prevalence. In K.A. Kendall-Tackett and S. M. Giacomoni (Eds.) Intimate Partner Violence (pg. 1501-1521). Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute.
Banyard, V. L., Ward, Cohn, E.S., Plante, E. G., Moorhead, C., & Walsh, W. (2007). Unwanted sexual experiences on campus: A comparison of women’s and men’s experiences. Violence and Victims, 22, 57-70.
Banyard, V. L., Plante, E. G., Cohn, E. S., Ward, S., Moorhead, C., & Walsh, W. (2005). Revisiting unwanted sexual experiences on campus: A twelve-year follow-up.Violence against Women, 11, 426-446.
Race and Racism
Researchers find that racial biases exist among actors in the legal system including attorneys, judges, witnesses, victims, defendants, and jurors. In a series of studies, we have been focusing on racial biases in jurors. We have found that when race is not made salient in the case, jurors who have racial biases are more likely to convict a black defendant. When race is salient, the racial biases are less likely to play a role. We have also been investigating racial biases in both legal and non-legal contexts.
Cohn, E. S., Bucolo, D., & Sommers, S. R. (2011). Race and racism. In Conviction of the Innocent: Lessons from Psychological Research (B. Cutler, Editor). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Bucolo, D. O., & Cohn, E. S. (2010). Playing the race card: Making race salient in defense opening and closing statements. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 15, 293-303.
Cohn, E.S., Bucolo, D., Pride, M., & Sommers, S. R. (2009). Racial salience and racial bias in the courts: Do racial attitudes make a difference? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39, 1953-1973.
My program of research bridges social and clinical psychology and focuses on the causes, consequences, and prevention of intimate partner violence (IPV). Research documents that IPV is an endemic problem in our society, especially among adolescents and young adults. Because this age group is more likely than any other age group to experience IPV, and early intervention and prevention is critical, I have focused my research on adolescents’ and young adults’ experiences of IPV. Specific research foci include 1) the correlates and predictors of IPV victimization and perpetration, 2) leaving processes in relationships characterized by IPV, 3) disclosure of IPV experiences and social reactions to these disclosures, and 4) ethics of IPV research. The ultimate goal of my research is to utilize research data to implement effective IPV prevention and intervention efforts as well as advocate for legislative policy and social change.
Correlates and predictors of victimization and perpetration:
Edwards, K. M., Turchik, J. T., Dardis, T., Reynolds, N., & Gidycz, C. A. (in press). Rape myths: History, individual and institutional-level presence, and implications for change. Sex Roles.
Tansill, E. C., Edwards, K. M., Kearns, M. C., Gidycz, C. A., & Calhoun, K. S. (in press). Sexual victimization, trauma sympomatology, and physical health symptomatology. Journal of Traumatic Stress.
Edwards, K. E., Dardis, C., & Gidycz, C. A. (2011). The role of adolescent victimization in women’s aggression. In M. Paludi (Ed). The psychology of teen violence and victimization (pp. 71-85). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Edwards, K. M., Desai, A. D., Gidycz, C. A., & VanWynsberghe, A. (2009). College women’s aggression in relationships: The role of childhood and adolescent victimization. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 255-265.
Leaving processes in abusive relationships:
Edwards, K. M., Kearns, M. C., Gidycz, C. A., & Calhoun, K. S. (in press). Predictors of relationship stability following a sexual assault. Violence and Victims.
Edwards, K. M., Murphy, M. J., Tansill, E. C., Myrick, C. A., Probst, D. R., Corsa, R., & Gidycz, C. A. (in press). A qualitative analysis of college women’s leaving processes in abusive relationships. Journal of American College Health.
Edwards, K. M., Gidycz, C. A., & Murphy, M. (2011). College women’s stay/leave decisions in abusive relationships: A prospective analysis of an expanded investment model. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26, 1446-1462.
Disclosure and social reactions to disclosure:
Edwards, K. M., Dardis, C., & Gidycz, C. A. (in press). Women’s disclosure of dating violence: A mixed methodological study. Feminism and Psychology.
Kearns, M. E., Edwards, K. M., Calhoun, K. S., & Gidycz, C. A (2010). Disclosure of sexual victimization: The effects of Pennebaker's emotional disclosure paradigm on physical and psychological distress. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 11, 193-209.
Anderson, T., Guajardo, J. F., Luthra, R., & Edwards, K. M. (2010). Effects of clinician-assisted emotional disclosure for sexual assault survivors. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 1113-1131.
Orchowski, L. M., Uhlin, B., Probst, D., Edwards K. M., & Anderson, T. (2009). An assimilation analysis of clinician-assisted emotional disclosure therapy with survivors of intimate partner sexual assault. Psychotherapy Research, 19, 293-311.
Murphy, M. J., Edwards, K. M., Merrill, J. C., & Gidycz, C. A. (2011). Women’s reactions to body image and eating disorder research: Is it distressing? Accountability in Research, 18, 55-69.
Edwards, K. M., Kearns, M. C., Calhoun, K. S., & Gidycz, C. A. (2009). College women’s reactions to participating in sexual assault research: Is it distressing? Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 225-234.
Edwards, K. M., Merrill, J. C., Desai, A. D., & McNamara, J. R. (2008). Ethical dilemmas in the treatment of battered women in individual psychotherapy: Analysis of the beneficence versus autonomy polemic. Journal of Psychological Trauma, 7, 1-20.
Research in the Interpersonal Processes lab focuses on cognitive, motivational, behavioral, and emotional phenomena in the context of interpersonal relationships, especially close relationships such as romantic relationships and friendships. Research often utilizes a combination of experimental, survey, longitudinal, behavioral observation, and daily-diary methodologies. Some examples of the questions we ask and relevant publications are described below.
Perceptions of Trust: How do people know that their relationship partners care for them and are committed to the relationship? Are these perceptions accurate or are they biased? What factors predict a sense of trust in relationships?
Lemay, E.P., Jr., & Clark, M.S. (2008). How the head liberates the heart: Projection of communal responsiveness guides relationship promotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 647-671.
Lemay, E. P., Jr., & Clark, M. S. (2009). Self-esteem and communal responsiveness toward a flawed partner: The fair-weather care of low self-esteem individuals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 698-712.
Lemay, E.P., Jr., Clark, M.S., & Feeney, B.C. (2007). Projection of responsiveness to needs and the construction of satisfying communal relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 834-853.
Lemay, E. P., Jr., Clark, M. S., & Greenberg, A. (2010). What is beautiful is good because what is beautiful is desired: Physical attractiveness stereotyping as projection of interpersonal goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 339-353.
How Chronic Insecurity Affects Close Relationships: Some people tend to be chronically insecure about interpersonal acceptance. How do these personality variables affect the way people see their relationships? How do these dispositions affect their relationships partners' thoughts, feelings, and behavior?
Lemay, E.P., Jr., & Clark, M.S. (2008) "You're just saying that": Contingencies of self-worth, suspicion, and authenticity in the partner affirmation process. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1376-1382.
Lemay, E.P., Jr., & Clark, M.S. (2008). "Walking on eggshells": How expressing relationship insecurities perpetuates them. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 420-441.
Lemay, E. P., Jr., & Dudley, K. L. (2009). Implications of reflected appraisals of interpersonal insecurity for suspicion and power. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1672-1686.
Lemay, E. P. Jr., & Dudley, K. L. (2011). Caution: Fragile! Regulating the security of chronically insecure relationship partners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 681-702.
Lemay, E. P., Jr. & O’Leary, K. (2012). Alleviating interpersonal suspicions of low self-esteem individuals: Negativity as honesty credentials. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 31, 251-288.
Causes and Consequences of Caring for Others: Why do people care for others' welfare? What are the effects of this care for one's own and others' cognition, emotion, and behavior.
Clark, M. S., Greenberg, A., Hill, E., Lemay, E. P., Jr., Clark-Polner, E., & Roosth, D. (2011). Heightened interpersonal security diminishes the monetary value of possessions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 359-364.
Clark, M. S., & Lemay, E. P., Jr. (2010). Close relationships. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of Social Psychology (5 ed., Vol. 2, pp. 898-940). New York: Wiley.
Clark, M. S., Lemay, E. P., Jr., Graham, S. M., Pataki, S. P., & Finkel, E. J. (2010). Ways of giving benefits in marriage: Norm use and attachment-related variability. Psychological Science, 21, 944-951.
Yoo, S. H., Clark, M. S., Lemay, E. P., Jr., Salovey, P., & Monin, J. K. (2011). Responding to partners’ expression of anger: The role of communal motivation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 229-241.
Interpersonal Relationships and Psychological and Physical Functioning: How do relationships affect mental and physical health?
Cohen, S., & Lemay, E. (2007). Why would social networks be linked to affect and health practices? Health Psychology, 26, 410-417.
Lemay, E.P., Jr. & Ashmore, R.D. (2006). The relation of social approval contingency to trait self-esteem: Cause, consequence, or moderator? Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 121-139.
Lemay, E.P., Jr., Pruchno, R.A., & Feild, L. (2006). Accuracy and bias in perception of spouses' life-sustaining medical treatment preferences. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36, 2337-2361.
Monin, J. K., Schulz, R., Lemay, E. P., Jr., & Cook, T. B. (in press). Linguistic markers of emotion regulation and cardiovascular reactivity among older caregiving spouses. Psychology and Aging.
For laboratory activities and publications, please visit Dr. Mayer's UNH Personality Laboratory website.
Current research focuses on three topics in applied social psychology: Happiness and subjective well-being; assessment and prediction of quality of close personal relationships; and health psychology. I have also published papers on the development and use of new statistical methods in social psychology (round robin ANOVA, time series and spectral analysis), and several studies focused on micro-analysis of rhythm and coordination of behaviors and physiological responses during face to face social interaction.
Happiness and Subjective Well-being
Positive psychology examines factors that predict happiness; these include personality traits, relationship quality/ social support, everyday behaviors, and other variables. While personality seems to be the strongest predictor of happiness, there is growing evidence that behavior change can lead to lasting increases in subjective well-being. My new research in this area focuses on the following questions. First, How can we characterize the different types of everyday behaviors that may contribute to happiness? There is much overlap among concepts such as flow and savoring; prosocial behavior, kindness, and gratitude. Factor analyses are conducted to assess how many distinct dimensions are needed to describe types of behaviors that are related to happiness. Second, How is happiness related to the quality of close relationships? Most past research has only examined the correlation between happiness and global perceptions of social support. We are examining how the quality of specific relationships with parents, friends, and romantic partners may be related to happiness. Happiness may promote the formation and maintenance of good quality relationships; and relationship quality may influence happiness. We are also currently analyzing data on autobiographical memories of peak experiences.
Warner, R. M. & Vroman, K. G. (2011). Happiness inducing behaviors in everyday life: An empirical assessment of “The How of Happiness”. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 1-10.
Assessment of Relationship Quality and Predictors of Relationship Quality
Although the concept of “social relationship” is important in social psychology, Berscheid (1995) has pointed out that there is no overall theory to describe the characteristics of relationships. Past research on close relationships has examined many separate features of relationships (communication quality, intimacy, satisfaction, commitment, communal versus exchange orientation, perceived equity, and so forth. These concepts overlap. We want to clarify how many different dimensions are needed to describe differences among types of relationships as well as variations of quality within each type of relationship (such as friendship or dating). Our past research examined relationship satisfaction and communication. Future studies will re-examine the measurement problem: What information, beyond global measures of social support and relationship satisfaction, is needed to understand the nature of a person’s relationships?
Brackett, M. A., Bosco, J. and Warner, R. M (2005). Emotional intelligence and relationship quality among couples. Personal Relationships, 12, 197-212.
Brackett, M. A., Mayer, J. D., & Warner, R. M. (2004). Emotional intelligence and its relation to everyday behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 1387-1402.
Michaud, S. & Warner, R. (1997). Gender differences in self-reported response to troubles talk. Sex Roles, 37, 527-540.
Social psychological factors are related to physical health in several ways. First, happiness, social support and subjective well-being are predictive of physical health outcomes; second, the quality of communication in patient-practitioner interactions is predictive of patient adherence to medical recommendations, satisfaction with health care, response to placebo, and medical outcomes; and third, chronic health problems (such as back pain) have an impact on people’s plans, goals, behaviors, and emotional well-being. Qualitative methods such as analysis of personal projects (based on methods developed by Brian Little) provide a description of the way chronic illness impacts a person’s life. Recent studies have focused primarily on this last issue.
Vroman, K., Warner, R. M. & Chamberlin, K. (2009). Now let me tell you in my own words: Personal descriptions of acute and chronic lower back pain. Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation, 31, 976-987.
Vroman, K. & Warner, R. M. (2009). A personal projects analysis: Examination of adaptation to lower back pain. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 696-706.
Warner, R. M. (1982). The psychologist as social systems consultant. Ch. 13 in T. Millon, C. Green, & R. Meagher (Eds.), Handbook of clinical health psychology. NY: Plenum.
Warner, K., Warner, R. M., & Budak, D. Emotional intelligence, physician empathy, and ratings of interpersonal communication skills in first year medical students. Ms under revision.
Microanalysis of Social Interaction Data
Time series and spectral analysis can be used to evaluate rhythm and coordination of vocal activity, heart rate, and blood pressure during conversations. Participant and observer evaluations of the quality of social interaction are related to the degree of rhythm and coordination in behaviors; other researchers (Jaffe, Feldstein) have shown that infant attachment is related to the degree of behavioral coordination in early infant-caregiver interactions. The 1998 spectral analysis book provides an accessible introduction to these analytic methods.
McGarva, A. and Warner, R. M. (2003). Attraction and social coordination: Mutual entrainment of vocal activity rhythms. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 32, 335-354.
Warner, R. M. (2002). What microanalysis of behavior in social situations can tell us about relationships over the life span. In: A. L. Vangelisti, H. T. Reis, and M. A. Fitzpatrick (Eds.), Stability and change in relationships. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 207-227.
Warner, R. M. (1996). Coordinated cycles in behavior and physiology during face-to-face social interaction. In J. Watt and A. Van Lear (Eds.), Cycles and dynamic patterns in communication processes. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Warner, R. M. (1992a). Sequential analysis of social interaction: Assessing internal versus social determinants of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 51-60.
Warner, R. M. (1992b). Speaker, partner, and observer evaluations of affect during social interaction as a function of interaction tempo. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 11, 1-14.
Statistics in Social Psychology
Dr. Warner has published an applied statistics textbook for Sage; this book reviews basic concepts and provides coverage of advanced topics such as multiple regression, MANOVA, repeated measures, and binary logistic regression. In addition, early work on round robin Analysis of Variance was a first step toward the later development by David Kenny of the Social Relations Model.
Warner, R. M. (2007). Applied statistics: From bivariate through multivariate techniques. Sage Publications, Inc. (second edition is in preparation, with new chapters on mediation and moderation).
Warner, R. M. (1998). Spectral analysis of time-series data. New York: Guilford.
Warner, R. M., Kenny, D. A. & Stoto, M. (1979). A new round robin analysis of variance for social interaction data. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1742-175.