Associate Professor
Wake Forest University
RESEARCH I am a social psychologist and my research involves experimental social cognition and judgment and decision making. My specific research interests include attitude strength and persuasion, bullshitting, counterfactual thinking and metacognition. Attitude Strength and Persuasion. How do various components of attitude strength (e.g., attitude certainty, attitudinal ambivalence, and attitude accessibility) affect attitude change and resistance to persuasive attempts? How do sub-components of such attitude attributes influence the attitude-behavior link, attitude stability, persistence, and resistance to persuasive attempts? Bullshitting. Bullshitting is a pervasive social behavior involving communication with little to no concern for evidence and/or established semantic, logical, systemic, or empirical knowledge. Bullshitting is different from lying in that the liar is actually concerned with the truth – the liar tries to divert us from the truth. The bullshitter doesn’t really care what the truth is, he/she isn't even trying - the bullshitter may be correct in his/her claim but wouldn't know it. What are the antecedents, consequences, and utilities of this seemingly pervasive and inevitable behavior? Under what social conditions and/or mental states is bullshitting attenuated or augmented? Counterfactual Thinking. Counterfactual thinking involves mentally simulating alternatives to reality and playing out the consequences of those alternatives (i.e., “could have,” “would have,” “should have,” or “if only” thinking). What role does counterfactual thinking play in reactions to general and specific cases? How does it affect memory for previous events? What role does it play in learning and performance on tasks? How does counterfactual thinking affect a physician’s diagnostic and treatment selection decisions? Metacognition. Metacognition involves thinking about one's thoughts and thought processes. How do metacognitive components of attitude strength affect attitude change? How does a metacognitive aspect of counterfactual thinking (i.e., counterfactual potency) influence affect, judgments of social targets, and decisions?