Current Projects

Understanding Person-Situation Transactions in Real Life

The notion that persons and situations both play an important role in behavior is fundamental to social/personality psychology. Although laboratory experiments have a history of demonstrating that situations can impact behavior, the impact of situations on real-world behavior has rarely been investigated. Further, while instruments for assessing persons have long been available to psychologists, only recently have instruments for measuring situations been developed (see the RSQ). This research takes advantage of recent advances in the measurement of situations and recent advances in technology for capturing daily life as it is lived.

Specifically, participants in this research wear Narrative life-logging cameras to photographically capture the situations they experience in their daily life. Later, the participants use these pictures as cues to recall the situations they experienced, how they were behaving and feeling in those situations, and any goals they were working on in those situations. Thus, the aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the ways in which persons and situations transact over time to influence real-world behavior and emotion.

This project is funded by an NSF Award (#1420105) to Ryne A. Sherman (PI).

Comprehensive Situation Item Pool

Because so few measures of situations exist, this project aims to compile the largest set of items that may be used to measure situation characteristics. In addition, this project gathers ratings on these items from all over the world using multiple data collection methods. Beyond building a compendium for situation characteristics, we also hope to identify a hierarchical structure of situations that can be used to further develop and refine measures of situations.

Situations from Social Media

Social media posts such as Tweets and Facebook status updates typically describe situaitons that people experience in their daily lives. As such, Twitter and Facebook can be considered massive databases of human experience. Capitalizing on this, Dave Serfass and I have developed algorithms for automatically scoring social media posts on the 8 broadest dimensions of situations. Our first application of this method was done on Twitter and published in PLOS One. We are currently applying this method to Facebook status updates and examining the associations between personality and situation experience.