Social Psychology

Photograph of Rhonda Swickert, Ph.D.

Dr. Chelsea Reid

I am a social psychologist who studies close relationships and the self. My research interests are underlain by the notion that people strive to form and maintain relationships, and it’s important to understand what individuals can do to help create relationships and keep them intact. My primary focus has been the role of attitude alignment (shifting your attitudes to more closely match the attitudes of a partner) in relationship formation and maintenance, but I also conduct research in the areas of relationship transgressions and forgiveness as well as nostalgia.

Students who work with me can expect to gain first-hand experience in designing studies, leading participants through experimental sessions, coding and entering participant data, analyzing and interpreting participant data, conducting literature reviews, and presenting research at the local, regional, or national level.

Photograph of Lisa Ross, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Thomson Ross

My primary research interest revolves around the sources, correlates and consequences of unpredictability (e.g., family chaos, environmental instability, unpredictability beliefs). My secondary research area concerns common mental health struggles (e.g., anxiety, depression) and how they relate to other constructs including humility, hassles, alcohol misuse, and self-compassion. Typically, students working with me gain experience with investigating and summarizing existing literature, survey administration, data management and analysis, and writing up empirical findings.

Photograph of Stephen Short, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Short

Broadly speaking, my two areas of research include attitudes toward science and psychological statistics. I have examined individuals’ attitudes toward and knowledge of the theory of evolution by surveying both college students and the general public. Currently, I'm interested in examining acceptance and attitudes toward climate change. One goal of this research is to help find improvements for education that can increase acceptance of science. In my statistics research, I use computer simulations to develop and evaluate quantitative methods used in psychological scale development and model testing. Students working in my lab can gain personal experience conducting literature reviews, designing new studies, running experiments, collecting data, analyzing data, and presenting results at conferences.

For more information, check out my website:

Photograph of Vincent Spicer, PhD

Dr. C. Vincent Spicer

My primary research interest falls within the broad area of stereotyping and prejudice. I am particularly interested in examining the effects of stereotyping and prejudice on members of stigmatized groups. More precisely, this interest focuses on investigating the extent to which stereotyping and prejudice significantly influence the social identity and self-efficacy of members of culturally stigmatized groups, particularly in situations where a negative cultural stereotype about the group is relevant.

Photograph of Rhonda Swickert, Ph.D.

Dr. Rhonda Swickert

My research interests are focused on factors that promote well-being. My most recent work has examined how the process of mindful awareness could enhance our ability to be more empathic, grateful, and forgiving, which are all factors that are very important in promoting happiness. I am also interested in how people learn and grow from weathering aversive events.

The protocol that I use to study mindfulness involves invoking a state of mindfulness in a laboratory environment and measuring its influence on processes such as forgiveness. This research is important because it serves to highlight factors within ourselves that we can cultivate to improve our own happiness and well-being. Students that work with me will have the opportunity to design experiments, collect data, analyze data and learn how to effectively communicate empirical findings.