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As an experimental social psychologist, my research involves experimental social cognition and judgment and decision making.  My specific research interests include bullshitting behavior, bullshit detection and disposal, attitude strength and persuasion, counterfactual thinking and metacognition.

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Bullshitting Behavior and Bullshit Detection/Disposal.  Bullshitting is a pervasive social behavior involving intentionally or unintentionally communicating with little to no regard or concern for truth, genuine evidence, and/or established semantic, logical, systemic, or empirical knowledge. Bullshitting is often characterized by, but not limited to, using rhetorical strategies designed to disregard truth, evidence and/or established knowledge, such as exaggerating or embellishing one’s knowledge, competence, or skills in a particular area or talking about things of which one knows nothing about in order to impress, fit in with, influence, or persuade others.  Bullshitting is different from lying in that the liar is actually concerned with the truth – the liar tries to divert us from the truth.  The bullshitter doesn’t really care what the truth is, he/she isn’t even trying – the bullshitter may be correct in his/her claim but wouldn’t know it. What are the antecedents, consequences, and utilities of this seemingly pervasive and inevitable behavior?  Under what social conditions and/or mental states is bullshitting attenuated or augmented?  Under what conditions are people receptive and/or sensitive to bullshit?  How can people better detect and dispose of bullshit?

Attitude Strength and Persuasion.  How do various components of attitude strength (e.g., attitude certainty, attitudinal ambivalence, and attitude accessibility) affect attitude change and resistance to persuasive attempts?  How do sub-components of such attitude attributes influence the attitude-behavior link, attitude stability, persistence, and resistance to persuasive attempts?

Counterfactual Thinking.  Counterfactual thinking involves mentally simulating alternatives to reality and playing out the consequences of those alternatives (i.e., “could have,” “would have,” “should have,” or “if only” thinking).  What role does counterfactual thinking play in reactions to general and specific cases?  How does it affect memory for previous events?  What role does it play in learning and performance on tasks?  How does counterfactual thinking affect a physician’s diagnostic and treatment selection decisions?

Metacognition.  Metacognition involves thinking about one’s thoughts and thought processes.  How do metacognitive components of attitude strength affect attitude change?  How does a metacognitive aspect of counterfactual thinking (i.e., counterfactual potency) influence affect, judgments of social targets, and decisions?

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