Annika KarinenPhD student
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My PhD Project
My PhD research is supervised by Joshua Tybur and co-supervised by Reinout de Vries, and it is part of the ERC funded project “The Human Behavioral Immune System: Consequences for Health and Innovation”. My PhD project consists of several sub-projects related to pathogen, sexual, and moral disgust sensitivity.
- Personality perceptions. Employing methods from personality psychology, one of my projects examines self-other agreement in disgust sensitivity. We test whether people can accurately assess each other’s pathogen, sexual, and moral disgust sensitivity, and whether such judgments are independent of judgments of personality.
- Anti-immigrant sentiments. This project examines whether perceptions of foreign norm adherence or close contact with locals underlie the relation between pathogen disgust sensitivity and anti-immigrant sentiments. We experimentally manipulate an immigrant’s adherence to local norms and contact with local people, and test how these manipulations affect the relation between pathogen disgust sensitivity and anti-immigrant sentiments.
- Condemnation of recreational drugs. Using behavioral genetics, we assess the genetic and environmental factors that underlie the relation between reproductive strategies (i.e. sociosexuality and sexual disgust sensitivity) and condemnation of recreational drug use. In a large sample of Finnish monozygotic and dizygotic twins, we examine the extent to which the phenotypic covariance between these variables is explained by genetic or environmental factors, and the magnitude of overlap between the genetic and environmental factors that shape both reproductive strategy and condemnation of drug use.
- Acceptance of innovations. This project examines what makes people accept or reject modern innovations that are useful in combatting contemporary environmental challenges, such as climate change and overpopulation, and improve the lives and health of humans. More specifically, we look at how individual differences influence acceptance versus rejection of modern innovations. We further look at differences in attitudes toward innovations that either involve or do not involve disgust-inducing stimuli (e.g. incorporating insects into Western cuisine vs. self-driving cars).
- Emotions and aesthetic appreciation. In this project we look at how emotions influence the aesthetic appreciation of art and movies. More specifically, what makes people enjoy art that sparks negative emotions, such as fear, disgust, or sadness, and why (some) people take pleasure in horror and grotesque art.
I obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology (with minors in philosophy and sociology) from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, and a research master’s degree in social psychology (with minors in philosophy and clinical psychology) from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I did my master’s thesis at Brooklyn College in New York, supervised by Hanah Chapman, and stayed there for a year doing follow-up research as a visiting scholar. The topics I have studied during my bachelor’s and master’s include facial emotion processing (EEG), agency and investment in language learning, non-clinical depersonalization experiences, the effects of awe and wonder on body perception, and the influence of (pathogen) disgust sensitivity on moral judgment.