Social Psychology

This group focuses on three interrelated research themes: Trust, emotion, and cooperation. Life is filled with social situations that pose challenges – dilemmas involving altruism, helping, or fairness, or those involving  heating, corruption, or compliance. For example, how can one promote and maintain trust in dyads and groups? What determines sacrifice and ambivalence in relationships, or donation to noble societal causes? What is it that undermines cooperation – within groups, between groups, and even between group leaders? Why do people develop theories that seem strongly conflicting with evidence – conspiracy theories, myths of self-interest, feelings of superiority? What emotions facilitate or undermine each of these phenomena, and what functions do these emotions serve?

Social psychology, along with closely related fields (e.g., evolutionary biology, experimental economics, social neuroscience) helps us understand those challenges and can answer fundamental questions about trust, emotions, and human cooperation. Our group draws from a broad range of research methods and approaches, including economic games, interaction analysis, experience-sampling, modeling, cross-national data, big data, meta-analysis, as well as cognitive and neuroscientific methods (e.g., fMRI, neuroendocrinology).