Associate ProfessorUniversity of California, Davis
Office: 102H Young Hall
How do we reach beyond our current experience? One of the most basic challenges that people face in everyday life is how to cross gaps—gaps that separate self from other, now from future, here from there, and us from them. Even the simplest activities, like having a conversation or planning what to do next week, would be impossible if it were not for the human capacity to get unstuck from current experience and relate to other people, future time points, and distant contexts. My research centers around the social psychological tools that humans have developed to help them reach across these distances.
For instance, in one line of work, I focus on social influence as one tool that people use to either immerse themselves in the current context or to transcend it. This research seeks to shed light on when and why people are more or less susceptible to different kinds of social influence. In a second line of work, I study group symbols as tools that people use to communicate group identity across time, space, and disparate individuals. This research examines when and why people value group identity symbols, such as group monuments and flags, as well as the role that such symbols can play in conflict escalation and resolution.
To learn more about some of the current projects going on in our lab, please visit our website at the link above.