Department of Psychology
University of Virginia
I am a third year graduate student in Social Psychology at the University of Virginia. My research interests broadly include the experience of thinking and the impact that the brain's mental limits have on our day-to-day lives. My research tries to answer questions like, "Why do we need to watch television when we have an incredibly powerful creative brain in our heads?" or "Why are we so universally prone to putting things off and can procrastination be potentially positive?" With Dr. Tim Wilson, I am currently studying whether people enjoy thinking and why it is so hard for some people. We are trying to understand how and when people enjoy thinking, and how to make it easier and more enjoyable. In doing so, we are trying to understand people's innate preferences for external stimulation vs internal mental stimulation. In addition to my work on the challenges of thinking, I am also pursuing research on the beneficial impacts of productive procrastination with Dr. Kathy Oleson at Reed College and Stephanie Wormington at Michigan State University. With Dr. Shigehiro Oishi, I have recently begun work on subjective well-being and the downsides of desire.
I have also done work on implicit cognition, or the way that unconscious processes in the brain shape our lives, often without us realizing it. My early work in that area focused on automatic (unconscious) associations' role in substance & alcohol abuse. With Dr. Brian Nosek, I am currently studying change over time in implicit attitudes towards stigmatized groups, including lesbian women and gay men.