My research uses both behavioral and psychophysiological methods to investigate the roles of emotion and self-regulation in judgment and decision making. In particular, I focus on how inputs from the emotional system, including physiological changes and facial expressions, influence attitudes and behaviors during the pre-decision phase of choice behavior. While much research on decision making focuses on either the moment in which the choice is made or immediately after, I am particularly interested in the period before a choice commitment has been reached. Imagine anticipating that you need to make a choice in the future. Depending on what occurs in the moments before making that choice, including affective states and any tendency to regulate those states, the final choice can vary drastically. The anticipation of difficult and risky decisions is particularly likely to elicit affective reactions, such as a stress response, and these affective reactions may guide (i.e., be used as information) and fundamentally alter the decision making process. In addition, my research links two traditionally distinct literatures, emotion regulation and choice behavior, to explain how and why individuals change their evaluation of choice alternatives and their behaviors across situations.
I have three main lines of ongoing research:
(1) The cognitive and affective mechanisms that underlie social judgment, difficult decision making, and value construction.
(2) How emotional inputs and self-regulation influence judgment and decision making.
(3) How changes in affective processing and creativity across the adult lifespan influence judgment and choice.