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My work focuses on the role that adaptive psychological mechanisms play in consumption and decision-making environments. Many of these influences on thoughts and decisions act outside of conscious awareness. That is, much of what we think about (or don't think about), the decisions we make (or not), and the (dis)satisfaction we have with those decisions is not a matter of rational deliberation. Instead, a fundamental set of evolved predispositions interacts with subtle features of our environments to shape our actions. Our mental and social lives as people and consumers are influenced by these forces in many ways we have yet to uncover. In approaching behavior from this perspective, my research has concentrated on interpersonal cognition -- how and why people coordinate their thoughts, feelings, decisions and behaviors with or because of each other.

Key Research Interests:

Evolutionary processes

Embodied cognition

Sensory marketing

Self-control

Contagion

Life history


Some of my current projects include:

  • Research on how contagious disease cues influence self-perceptions and perceptions of others, with consequences for consumer behaviors. For instance, contagion concerns can alter preferences for new and used products, food choices and self-improvement products.
  • Research on how incidental sensory experiences (especially relating to touch) influences impression formation, decision making and social perception.
  • Research on how vicarious processing (through mental simulation and perspective-taking) can improve or impair self-regulatory effort.
  • Research on goal priming - activating goals through incidental means in an attempt to understand their subtle action perception and behavior. For instance, one project investigates the role of environmental sex ratios, and how being surrounded by more men or more women affects short-term and long-term thinking.