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Basic Science Studies in Psychology

Overview: This page briefly mentions several (but not all) of the basic science studies I've participated in as a researcher over my early career.


A major theme throughout these studies is the power that social dynamics play in modifying how we think, feel, or even function on a physiological level.


Many of these studies have influenced my recent work related to the development of interventions to improve physical and mental health. 

Image by Jonas Caringal

Problem Discussion Between Friends

Best Friends

Discussion of life problems between close friends can be either helpful or harmful. We performed an experimental investigation to better understand this dynamic.

To learn more, check out our paper in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (2011) (PDF Link)

Public Speaking, Fear, & Stress Reactivity

Speaker in front of a Crowd

Fears related to public speaking are very common. In this study, we examine how peoples' intrinsic anxiety related to interacting/communicating with others is related to changes in their physiological stress response during a high-stakes public speaking event.

To learn more, check out our paper in Psychneuroendocrinology (2018) (Link)

Social Acceptance & Rejection

College Friends

As social beings, few things in life can feel as rewarding as being accepted by a group of peers or as painful as being rejected by them. My team has investigated how perceived rejection and acceptance experiences (a) influence emotions and physiology and (b) are influenced by individual differences (e.g., genetic, cognitive, personality).

To learn more, check out our paper in Hormones & Behavior (2015) (Link)

Social Affiliation Under Stress


Do people want to be together more or less when faced with stressful situations? My team recreates a classic experiment to find out. 


To learn more, check out our preprint manuscript

Stress Response During Cooperative & Competitive Video Game Play

Playing Video Games

In this study, we asked folks to come into the lab and play some good ol' fashioned video games (fun times). Participants were randomly assigned to cooperate with, or compete against, a teammate (research confederate) and their stress response (emotional/physiological) was assessed. 


Manuscript available soon!  

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