B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of Michigan
office: 2204 AuSable Hall
phone: (616) 331-2419
Experimental and Perceptual Psychology
PSY 300 - Research Methods in Psychology
PSY 361 - Perception
PSY 362 - Environmental Psychology
PSY 400 - Advanced Research in Psychology
SS 300 - Research Methods in the Social Sciences
One of my two major lines of research deals with factors that affect environmental preferences. For example, natural settings that feature partial concealment by foliage or pathways that curve out of sight are highly preferred because they have a property called "mystery," that is, the promise that more could be seen if one penetrated further into the setting. I also research the flip side of this question, factors that render a setting aversive or that inspire fear. Ironically, our work now indicates that mystery can sometimes contribute to fear (for example, when it occurs in the context of an alley). I am also involved in a series of studies investigating factors that make an environment restorative, that is, setting factors that facilitate recovery from attentional fatigue.
My second line of research involves the psychology of humor. Here I have looked at factors in general that affect humor preferences, but my main concentration has been on so-called sick humor (that which makes fun of suffering of all sorts), how it differs from other types of humor, and particularly the role that perceived cruelty of jokes plays in humor preferences.
Page last modified November 20, 2012