Research Interests

The Importance of Individual Differences

Despite strong adaptive pressures for humans to share many characteristics (i.e. the human genetic code calls for two arms, two eyes, etc.), humans are remarkably psychologically different from each other. Further, individual differences in psychological makeup are relatedly to a vast number of important life outcomes (e.g. marital status, work performance, longevity, etc.). The goals of research on this topic are broadly 1) To understand why humans are so psychologically diverse and where these differences come from, 2) To understand why and how such individual differences both persist and change over time, and 3) To understand how and why these individual differences are related to important life outcomes.

The Psychological Properties of Situations

What are the psychological characteristics of situations that are important for behavior, thought, and emotion? While decades of research have demonstrated that situations are importantly and causally related to behavior, few systematic and well-developed measures of the psychologically important characteristics of situations exist (but see the RSQ and the DIAMONDS). The goals of this research are 1) To develop theoretically and empirically based measures of the important psychological characteristics of situations (e.g., S8* and S8-I), 2) To understand how people experience situations in their daily lives (e.g., Twitter), 3) To understand how personality and situational characteristics interact to produce behavior (e.g., Independent Effects), and 4) To understand how personality relates to the selection, evocation, manipulation, and perception of situations.

Developing Tools for Data Analysis

"To unlock the analysis of a body of data, to find the good way or ways to approach it, may require a key whose finding is a creative act." - John Tukey (1977, p. viii)

Many tools have been developed for analyzing data that meet particular research designs or assumptions. However, each research question (psychological or otherwise) is unique and discovering the answer to each research question may require one to use research designs that are non-standard or to gather data that do not meet a particular set of assumptions. To this end I have worked to develop software (in the form of R functions) aimed at answering particular research questions. This draws somewhat from the literatures of robust statistics and resampling methods.

In additon, I have worked particularly hard on developing R functions for analyzing "Multivariate Constructs" (e.g., Personality, Behavior). This includes functions for within-S correlation/regression, Q-correlations, and template matching amongst many others. The functions themselves are not new statistics, non-standard (i.e., not in your typical graduate stats book) applications of simple statistics like correlation and regression. These functions are freely available via the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) as the 'multicon' package (see also my R Functions link on the left).