Brief Biography and Research Focus

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences (Social Psychology) at Purdue University. After spending 20 years in corporate management, I returned to graduate school in 2000, and received my Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2006.

From the broadest perspective, my research interests lie in social psychology, centering on the interpersonal aspects of the self as embedded in social relationships. Specifically, how do the behavioral, motivational, and emotional components of the self influence interpersonal functioning? To this end, I have conducted over 40 research studies widely examining the psychological processes involved in the self-regulation and self-presentation of people’s interpersonal behavior. Underscoring all is the central tenet that people’s behaviors and emotions are influenced by their concerns about others’ impression and social acceptance of them.

Although my research can be broadly described as relating to the self and interpersonal behavior, the areas I have specifically focused on can be incorporated under three generalized categories. The first category concerns the processes (automatic and controlled), motivations, and strategies involved in people’s self-presentation efforts. The second category involves self-regulation, sectioned into (a) conserving and replenishing self-regulation resources, and (b) interpersonal functioning and availability of the self’s regulatory resources. The last category focuses on developing relational dependency models to analyze relational information/processes (i.e., peer effects) in social systems to improve our understanding of how individual and peer characteristics interact (i.e., complex interdependencies) to influence subsequent behavior.