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Research Interests

Here are some topics I have an interest in.

Social Psychology: I am interested in researching the psychological processes involved in intergroup conflict. This interest will be focused on exploring the ways in which people view ingroups and outgroups, especially in terms of ethnicity, political orientation, and religion, and how these contribute to peace, violence, and conflict. I am interested in the psychology of legitimacy (e.g. the ways people legitimize unjust institutions), the psychological processes that people use to exclude others from their scope of justice, and the cognitive and affective responses people have to threats posed by people or situations.

Improving Psychological Science: Psychological science has endured a crisis of confidence in our published findings, largely as a product of questionable research practices, underreported null findings, and weak statistical power. I am interested in pursuing and promoting research that addresses these issues. Specifically, I am involved in large-scale crowdsourced research projects and in giving students an opportunity to participate in replications and extensions of prior findings.

Peace Psychology: Peace psychology has become a critical area of study because of radical changes in the nature of warfare from large-scale global conflicts to smaller-scale regional wars and ethnic conflicts. Ethnic conflicts and civil wars often traumatize people in all levels of society and at all ages. I am interested in the antecedents of violence or peaceful conflict resolution, and how social psychology can inform the discourse on peacemaking and peacebuilding. I have recently begun a new line of research on intergroup trust and its role in peacebuilding.

Transpersonal Psychology: I am interested in the ways profound, transformative religious experience and mystical states are manifested psychologically. The psychological effects of profound religious and transformative experiences, trance states, and meditation seem to help people to overcome the negative effects of trauma, and also may be related to reduced conflict and increased forgiveness in peacebuilding. I am interested in developing research on these phenomena from a scientifically sound methodology within the rubric of social psychology.

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