Our research lies at the intersection of social psychology, political psychology, environmental psychology, and judgment and decision making. Our lab uses laboratory experiments, large-scale surveys, and field studies to examine the cognitive, emotional, and social processes that shape people’s responses to contemporary issues like climate change and political polarization. We collaborate across disciplines, from business to economics to political science. We have been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation.

Current Projects

Naturalness in Decision-making for Alternative Proteins. How does perceived naturalness shape willingness to endorse sustainable protein products? This study examines decision-making mechanisms underlying public evaluations and support of traditional burgers (i.e., grain-fed) vs. new burgers (i.e., cultured meat) in response to growing demands for more sustainable protein sources amidst the climate crisis.

Naturalness Shapes Support of Technology to Mitigate Climate Change. What decision-making elements are important to consider for public acceptance and endorsement of carbon dioxide removal technology? This study examines the role of perceived naturalness (or how “nature-like” an object is perceived to be) on public support of 6 carbon dioxide removal and 4 low carbon energy technologies in the United States. Implications from this work may be employed by policy-makers, stakeholders, and decision-makers in efforts to develop and deploy technology to address the climate crisis. 

Fluency of Processing Alters Perceived Naturalness of Technology. Do technologies that are easier to process and understand seem more natural, or are technologies that are more natural simply easier for us to process and understand? This study empirically evaluates the impact of fluency of information processing on perceptions of climate change mitigation technologies in the United States. Building upon previous work on risk perceptions and cost-benefit tradeoffs, this work identifies underlying concepts for perceived naturalness across technology contexts. 

Gratitude's Influence on Perceptions of the Expressor. Expressing Gratitude has been shown to increase favorable perceptions of and affiliative intentions toward the expressor. However, does a returned benefit outweigh the benefits of simply expressing gratitude? This study will answer just that question.

Partisan Prosociality

Partisan Belief Bias

Climate Support in the Center-Right

Anti-political Extremism in the Western Slope