Current Projects

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Mixed Affective States and the Fundamental Challenge of Persuasion

In this project, we highlight affect’s key role in motivation and develop a new theory of mixed affective states. We show its importance in understanding political outcomes…

Religion, Nationality, and Empathetic Responses to Refugees

Is empathetic media effective in shifting readers’ attitudes toward refugee policies? Do emotional responses differ between individuals who are exposed to accounts of refugees with different religions and national origins? To shed light on these questions, we present the results of two recent survey experiments conducted in the United Kingdom to explore these questions…

Changing Hearts and Minds? Why media messages designed to foster empathy often fail

Politicians and social activists frequently employ media designed to ``change hearts and minds” by humanizing outgroups. These messages, it is assumed, lead to empathy, which motivates individuals to reconsider punitive policy attitudes…

Harnessing Accurate Bias in Large-Scale Language Models to Study Human Psychology

This recently NSF-funded project explores the use of artificial intelligence, in particular large-scale language models like GPT-3, to study human psychology. The first paper in this project…

Self-Image Maintenance Motivation (SIMM) and outgroup prejudice

This paper introduces a measure created in social psychology for other purposes that we suggest measures one of the key processes motivating outgroup discrimination, and as such should explain variation in individuals’ standing tendencies to oppose outgroups. The measure we propose is a measure of an individual’s Self-Image Maintenance Motivation (SIMM)….


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