Social self; intimacy seeking and social comparison; need to belong
Buffalo NY, 14260-4110
Phone: (716) 645-0227
My primary area of interest is the social nature of the self. Within that broad area, my students and I have examined Social Surrogacy – the tendency for humans to form psychological relationships with non-human (on non-physically available) entities, the social functions of the self, the need to belong, and how our relationships shape our feelings about ourselves (and vice versa). We also study the psychological importance of spending time in large, anonymous crowds such as at concerts, sporting events, rallies, and religious gatherings. Much of our research is guided by the proposition that humans are a fundamentally social species and thus a great deal of human behavior can be best understood as being in service of connecting to others. Even when we think we are not being social (i.e. when we watch TV or surf the web) social motivations are behind our actions.