Representation and Learning of Social Identities

customer-relationshipWith iterative interactions, we build mental models of others based on (ir)regularities in others’ behavior and prior knowledge. I am interested in the dynamics of reputation formation using insights from computational methods and memory processes (integration, competition, separation) to illuminate more about social interactions and learning. I focus on the cognitive organization of identities and how they flexibly shift with time, context, group membership, social affiliations and how they may inform social problems (e.g., anti-immigrant discourse, racism, prejudice, stereotyping).

Knowledge of Social Affiliations Biases Economic Decisions
Provides evidence that the reputation of an individual can transfer to associated friends and affect cooperation with them. Moreover, the transfer only occurs when the relationship is socially significant, rather than simply a reinforced association.

Intersubjectivity in Evaluationsconsensus.jpg

When I evaluate a stimulus (e.g., on beauty), agreement in judgment can occur within myself as I rate many stimuli (unique taste) or with other people rating the same stimulus (shared taste). I am working on statistical measurement methods to quantify the subjectivity or consensus of evaluations across rater demographics (group memberships), stimuli (faces, novel objects, racist situations), and their interaction.

Quantifying subjectivity in stimulus evaluations
Compares different analysis methods for estimating how much of our evaluations are shared/idiosyncratic.

Social Judgments of Sexual and Health Behavior in MSM Populations

Current work with Dr. Kai Jonas examines the TruvadaTruvada Whore” phenomenon that appeared after Truvada (a daily pre-exposure prophylaxis pill for HIV prevention) was approved for high risk populations. We examine the moral and social perceptual judgments of those who take the pill in conjunction different styles of sexual behavior, in addition to how these judgments affect others in a contagion-like manner.

Transference in judgments of sexual behavior and use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis
Provides evidence that responsibility/trustworthiness underlie judgments of PrEP use/promiscuity and that the judgments mostly target the PrEP user/sexual actor rather than transfer to associated friends.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis sorting as a mating strategy among men who have sex with men
Provides evidence that MSM sort their potential sex partners, but not potential friends or dates, by their PrEP use. This risk-reduction strategy was mostly shown by men high at risk, HIV negative individuals.

Other Work

Cognitive Development

This research explored the development of flexible cognition and it’s relationship to selective attention and task control strategy using computational modeling.

Developmental differences in decision strategies influence perceptual biases
Shows that age differences in preparatory processing (as revealed by drift diffusion modeling) can impact selective attention during a cued task-switching game, suggesting that worse child performance in some cognitive control tasks may be due to suboptimal task strategy.

Consistent performance differences despite manipulation of cue switching variables in children and adults
Shows that it is difficult to equalize performance between children and adults in a task-switching game. However, more difficult task structure provides a possible avenue as it leads to greater performance gains.