Social, Personality and Abnormal
Area Description (St. George)
Researchers in the Social/Personality/Abnormal area share an interest in themes related to both self-regulation and self-identity.
Alison Chasteen's research examines stereotyping and prejudice with respect to age. In particular, she focuses on how people's self-concepts regarding their future aged selves influence age-based prejudice.
Wil Cunningham's research is focused on the processes with which people evaluate and make judgments about the world. In particular, research in his lab investigates how goals and motivations shape emotion. His work uses behavioural and neuroscience (EEG, fMRI) methods.
Dan Dolderman's work focuses on the intersection between environmental sustainability and human well-being. His current projects involve helping organizations plan more effective environmental behaviour change programs, and working in community settings to help others gain skills that promote greater happiness and well-being.
Penelope Lockwood is interested in the role of social comparisons in self-regulation. She examines the ways in which comparisons to role models influence achievement and health-related motivation, and the factors that influence affective and behavioural responses to comparisons between partners in romantic relationships.
Geoff MacDonald's research centers on perceptions of and responses to interpersonal rejection. Specific topics include feelings of social pain, perceptions of reward in social interaction, the role of self-esteem in romantic relationships across cultures, reactions to criticism from a romantic partner, fear responses to awareness of mortality, and conformity/nonconformity.
Molly Metz studies social support processes in close relationships, using a range of theoretical perspectives and methods to investigate psychological, physiological, and behavioral responses associated with how we take care of each other in times of need. She also conducts pedagogical research on the features of teachers, students, and learning environments that foster students' intrinsic motivation for learning.
Rebecca Neel studies how social goals (to protect ourselves, to be a part of groups, to find a romantic partner) shape how we perceive and interact with others. Her current work uses this approach to examine different forms of stigmatization - why do we feel prejudice toward some stigmatized groups, and indifference toward others?What does it mean to be socially "invisible"?
Elizabeth Page-Gould examines how social interactions with friends and strangers shape our perceptions of the social world, especially in diverse societies. To capture the rich nature of social interactions, Dr. Page-Gould takes a multi-method approach to her research, typically observing responses across self-report, behavioural, and physiological measures.
Jordan Peterson studies personality assessment, self-deception, cognitive function, theories of social conflict, motivation, drug and alcohol abuse, aggression and the psychology of religion.
Jason Plaks focuses on the interface between motivation and cognition. One emphasis is on how implicit theories (unstated, yet powerful assumptions about human nature) influence people's affective and motivational reactions to success and failure. A second emphasis is on how implicit theories influence basic person perception and stereotyping processes.
Nicholas Rule studies person perception, focusing particularly on the accuracy of judgments from minimal nonverbal and facial cues. His work generally falls into two streams: (1) predicting outcomes about people based on minimal cues, and (2) social categorization processes in perceptually ambiguous groups. He holds the distinction of Canada Research Chair in Social Perception and Cognition.
Romin Tafarodi 's research is concerned with the cultural character of self and identity. His most recent work examines acculturative identity change as it is reflected in narrative structure, especially with regard to the integration of challenging experiences into the life story.
Ashley Waggoner Denton studies impression formation processes, including the role of gossip in how people form impressions. She also conducts pedagogical research, examining issues such as the role that peers and instructors play in influencing students' online help-seeking behaviour.
Social Personality Research Group (SPRG): Visit the SPRG website for more information about this area of research, about the SPRG group's faculty and graduate students at all three U of T campuses, and about SPRG group activities.
Research at the University of Toronto Scarborough
Research at the University of Toronto Mississauga