Meet the Faculty
PhD, Psychology, Boston College, 1996
BA, Psychology, Boston College, 1987
Coalition for Essential Schools, Oakland CA, Statistical Consultant, 2006–2009
University of Massachusetts, Boston, Adjunct Professor, 1996-1997. Summers, 1996-2001
Assistant to Director & Human Resources Manager at Children's Home Society. San Francisco, CA., 1990 – 1991.
Mental Health Worker, Cambridge Hospital. Cambridge, MA., September, 1989 - August, 1990.
School Counselor, Computer Learning Center. San Francisco, CA., September, 1987 – 1990.
Areas of Interest:
My area of specialization is social psychology. My main area of interest is how interpersonal and intergroup conflict affects the experience of the self.
Research Interests/Professional Service
Road rage has recently received a lot of attention in the media. Little systematic research, however, has addressed this social concern. My research explores social psychological and social-cognitive factors that may contribute to road rage. In a survey recently completed, I found the tendency to get angry while driving is more likely in younger drivers and those who drive more. More than one-quarter of those surveyed reported driving more aggressively when they get angry on the road, and 20 per cent reported that they fantasize about physically expressing their anger. Also, being in a rush, feeling morally superior to the other driver, and making personality attributions for the other driver's behavior were all associated with greater anger while driving.
The Self In Interpersonal Conflict
It is a well-documented phenomenon that interpersonal conflict has a negative effect on how individuals think and feel about the other person—or persons—in the conflict. However, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the effect of interpersonal conflict on one's self-concept—the perceptions and evaluations one has surrounding one's self. In my dissertation research, I attempted to understand these consequences. I proposed that since the self is defined and understood in the context of close interpersonal relationships—such as friends, family, and romantic partners—conflict in these close relationships will have negative consequences to one's self-concept. During or just after such conflicts, one is likely to feel more uncertain and more negative about one's self. In contrast, in more distant—stranger or acquaintance (and even intergroup)—relationships social comparative processes dominate. Thus, conflicts with more distant others may actually have positive consequences to one's self-concept, allowing one to feel more bounded, stable and superior in one's sense of self. These predictions were generally confirmed in an experimental test of conflict with friends or strangers.
Attributional Biases in Intergroup Conflict
In competitive situations, intergroup biases (e.g., favoring one's own group) are often expected. Yet, such biases are often the source of much distress and hostility, and people are often unaware of their own biases, the biases others attribute to them, and the role such attributions play in their own and the other's actions and reactions. My research (with colleagues) in this area examines such attributions and reactions to them. In a recent study, we compared respondents' reactions in two contexts: (1) they won a competition over an outgroup competitor and the judge of the competition shared group membership with them; and (2) the outgroup competitor won the competition but here the judge shared group membership with the competitor. As expected, people attributed their own success to their ability (and not bias), but the other's success to bias on the part of the judge. Also, their other reactions (e.g., anger) and response depended not only on their attributions, but their expectations of the competitor's attributions. They felt the other should agree with them when bias had occurred or not.
Selected Publications/Book Chapters/Exhibitions/Performances:
- "Group and person attributions in response to criticism of the ingroup." Written with N. Berkowitz & D. Alfeld-Johnson. British Journal of Social Psychology. 2002.
- "Cognitive biases and political party affiliation in protracted intergroup conflict." Written with N. Rouhana, N. & S. Morrison, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol. 27, p. 37-57. 1997.
- "The Burden of Combat: Cognitive Dissonance in Iraq War Veterans." Written with W. Klug, et al. In Treating Young Veterans: Promoting Resilience Through Practice and Advocacy (Editors: D. Kelly, S. Barksdale, & D. Gitelson). New York: Springer. 2011.
- "Patterns in Student Perceptions of Start-Up and Conversion Small High Schools." Written with Jay Feldman. Peabody Journal of Education, 85, 313-332. 2011.
- "Road rage: A social psychological analysis." Poster presented at the American Psychological Society Annual Meeting. Toronto, Canada. August, 2001.
- "When members of other groups compliment themselves." With N. Berkowitz. Poster presented at the American Psychological Society Annual Meeting. Toronto, Canada. August, 2001.
- Developmental Psychology
- Research Methods in the Social Sciences
- Conflict and Conflict Resolution
- Political Psychology
- Biological Debates: Social & Scientific Implications
- First Year Seminar I
- Vinyard, M. (BA Simon’s Rock 2011). Motivational Factors In Conservation: Analysis Of A Dormitory Electricity Competition. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. Fairfield University, CT. October 2011
- Heise, M.J. (AA Simons’ Rock 2011; BA, in progress, Univ of Michigan). Travel Anger: An Exploratory Study. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. Fairfield University, CT. October, 2011
- Morgan, J. (BA Simon’s Rock 2010; MA, in progress, Columbia Univ). Daydreaming and the Initial Stages of Entrepreneurship. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. St. Michael’s College, VT. October, 2010
- Hough, J. (BA Simon’s Rock 2010). Procrastination, Anxiety, and Maladaptive Thinking. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. St. Michael’s College, VT. October, 2010.
- Gupta, N. (BA Simon’s Rock 2010; MS in Biotechnology, in progress, Northwestern Univ). A Study on the Effect of Dissonance on Tension and Pleasure. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. St. Michael’s College, VT. October, 2010.
- Wilensky, S. (BA Simon’s Rock 2008; MSW Univ of Denver 2010). Cuddling the Creature: A Study in Animal Contact Therapy. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. Western New England College, MA. October, 2008
- Dillard, A. (BA Simon’s Rock 2008), O’Dwyer, A. & Bonvillain, N. Have you Heard? Rethinking Gender Differences in Propensity to Gossip. Poster to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association in Boston, MA. August, 2008.
- Lopes-Hurt, J. (AA Simon’s Rock 2007; BA Univ North Carolina 2009), Adams, M. (AA Simons’ Rock 2007; BA Univ of Texas, 2009), Conrad Cregor (BA Simon’s Rock 2007), & Gottlieb, M. (AA Simon’s Rock 2007; BA Univ of British Columbia). A Study on Ingroup Salience and Intergroup Sensitivity. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. Western New England College, MA. August 2008.
- Ben-Avie, J. & O’Dwyer, A. (BA Simon’s Rock 2010). Stress and Coping: Exploring a Predictive Model. Poster to be presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Psychological Science in Chicago, IL. May 2008.
- Maynard, A. (BA Simon’s Rock 2003; MA Organizational Psych, Univ of Michigan), O’Dwyer, A. & Brush, V. Narcissistic Trends in Personal Ads over a 30 Year Period. Differences in Preferences for Coaching Styles. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the American Psychological Society. San Francisco, CA. August 2007.
- Kent, E. (BA Simon’s Rock 2004; JD Boston College, MEd, Harvard University). Gender Differences in Preferences for Coaching Styles. Paper presented at the Drake Group’s Conference on Sport and the Academy: Getting Beyond the Problems and Finding Solution. St. Louis, MO. April, 2005.
- Rowlands, S. (BA Simon’s Rock 2004; JD Univ of Miami 2007), Zaiser, E, (BA Simon’s Rock 2004; PhD Univ of Kent 2012) & , Haftel, J. (AA Simon’s Rock 2003; BA Cen Conn State Univ 2005). The Influence of Pictures on Ratings of Personal Ads. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association. Salem, MA. November 2003. * won award for best student poster*
- Barbuto, A. (BA Simon’s Rock 2000; JD Oklahoma City Univ 2004). Friends Versus Strangers: Changes In Self-Perception and Self-Esteem. Poster presented at the Greater Boston Undergraduate Research Conference in Psychology. Newton, MA. May, 1998.
New England Psychological Association (regional affiliate of the American Psychological Association)