To view complete list of my research and psychological work, check out my research page here.
My love for psychology began in the sixth grade when my science fair project was banned from the middle school science fair. After collecting weeks of research on my neighbors—monitoring when they left and returned home, sneaking into their backyard to take notes on conversations and investigate their garbage—I had finally collected enough evidence to scientifically assert why they were so weird.
After presenting this data to my science teacher, though, he insisted I delete the research immediately. However, he did explain that my true interest was the study of psychology.
Since then, there wasn’t a Christmas list that didn’t request one psychology text or another, and when I settled on my undergraduate institution, the strength of its psychology program (and that beautiful California sun) determined my selection. Later, after graduating with the top grade in the psychology program, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the nation’s number one research institution for social psychology, The Ohio State University.
All along, my research interests have revolved around attitude change (i.e., the psychological factors that lead someone to change or adjust their opinions and/or behavior). Indeed, my adviser in graduate school, Dr. Richard Petty, is the most cited persuasion researcher of all time. When I got to graduate school, though, my specific interest in persuasion was a slight twist on how it had been typically studied. Most research until this point has looked at what makes a message most persuasive to its recipient. But I wanted to know, what leads a person to generate a persuasive message in the first place? In other words, when and why do people try to convince you of their beliefs? As I started to systematically research this, though, I very quickly realized that my work had an important application: marketing.
Okay, hold up, you’re thinking. Marketing? But that’s for slimy ad-men and women! All right, yes, that stereotype exists. But, what most people don’t realize is that marketing is much broader than simply the advertisements that get you to purchase a Furbie. In fact, I’m marketing myself to you right now on this website. You market yourself whenever you meet someone for the first time–heck, what do you think you’re doing on your Tinder profile? Most importantly, though, it is the marketing of beliefs and ideas that determines whether they succeed or fail. Every great movement in society–from civil rights, political rights, to animal rights–have only had the success they did through the marketing that accompanied them. Thus, at the end of my first year in graduate school, and on through the rest, I realized just how important marketing was, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Now, with a foot in both the social psychology and the marketing worlds, I’ve had these interests united by that singular research focus that I described earlier: what gets people talking? Specifically, I’m interested in understanding why some people advocate for certain social causes but not others. Why some commercials go viral while some flop. Why you try to persuade one friend to vote for your political candidate but not another; why you recommend a movie on social media but not in person. There are a lot of different ways to think about these questions, and fortunately, I’ve only just started.
Now, because just about anyone can write things on the internet, for proof that I actually do research at OSU, you can follow this link here; however, below you will find a list of my research interests as well as the social psychology and marketing faculty I have been fortunate enough to work with:
- Information Spreading
- Lay theories
- Decision frames
- Expectations and experiences
Dr. Richard Petty
Dr. Duane Wegener
Dr. Russ Fazio
Dr. Pablo Briñol
Dr. Andrew Luttrell
Dr. Daniel Rovenpor
Dr. Rao Unnava
Dr. Xiaoyan Deng
Dr. Rob Smith
Dr. Danny Zane
Dr. Anna Paley