Health and Social Psychology
PSY 101 - Introductory Psychology
PSY 367 - Health Psychology
PSY 368 - Psychology of Physical Disabilities
Current Research Interests
I am interested in what motivates health behavior change, and I take two approaches in studying this topic. First, I am interested in how perceptions of personal risk influence responses to a health communication. For example, how does a woman’s perceived susceptibility to breast cancer influence her information processing, decision-making, and behavior in response to a message about breast cancer? Also, what types of risk perception (e.g., numerical vs. comparative, deliberative vs. intuitive) are most likely to be associated with these outcomes? Second, I am interested in developing health messages that discourage defensive processing of information. For example, will increasing positive emotion in smokers prior to giving them threatening feedback increase their openness to the information? Recently, I have become interested in how to reduce defensiveness to health messages via narratives from similar others. Narratives may engage people in a health message, leading to more careful information processing and greater motivation to perform the recommended health behavior.