Interaction Processes in Group Task Performance
In this research program we address the following questions: What is the relationship between the group decision-making processes and the quality of their outcomes? How do group members influence each other in order for a group to converge on a single decision? How are decision-making processes affected by a group's task? How are group processes and outcomes affected by communication technologies?
Teamwork Skills Project
How do college students develop teamwork skills? How well do their college group experiences prepare them for the workplace? Using both longitudinal and cross-sectional designs we are studying the roles of team member efficacy, team and task experience, member personality and inter-member perceptions on task performance quality in class-related projects and summer internship experiences.
Teamwork in Immersive Virtual Environments
Our work in immersive virtual environments (IVEs) centers on two issues. One is the impact of IVEs on task-oriented teamwork. We are interested in the question of how the affordances of these technologies may be useful for teams engaging in different types of group tasks. The second issue we address in our research on IVEs is social identity and personality factors associated with the nature of users' involvement in these environments.
Motivation and Decision Procedures
We have several projects examining how use of decision procedures and member effort affects the quality of group interaction and task performance.
In this line of research we address the following questions: What are the psychological mechanisms that lead to bias between social groups? How is intergroup bias manifested in language usage? How are people affected by biased communication from outgroups?
Linguistic Bias in Public Controversies
Intergroup bias is often an element in public controversy, and signs of bias can be seen in media reports surrounding the controversy. One example is the debate over shale gas development in New York State. The Linguistic Category Model provides a blueprint for our examination of intergroup bias in the texts of media reports about this debate.
Mortality Salience and Linguistic Intergroup Bias
How does fear of mortality affect language usage in intergroup contexts? How are people affected by biased descriptions of their ingroup? We are doing a series of laboratory studies are examining these questions.
Group Identity, Communication and Sustainability
In this line of research we address the following questions: How can people's connections with particular groups and communities affect their willingness to adopt environmentally sustainable practices? How does social group identity affect the influence of message framing on decisions to adopt sustainable practices?
Identity-Based Social Influence on Sustainable Behaviors through Social Networks
What would convince a homeowner to replace a lawn with a no-mow wildflower meadow, eliminate chemical fertilizers, or take other steps to encourage birdlife? Through a series of controlled experiments funded by Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, this research project examines how social group influences and carefully framed environmental messages can support behavioral change. We use YardMap, an online social network hosted by Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology, to track how environmentally friendly behaviors spread among social groups and what kinds of messages persuade the most people to adopt practices mutually sustainable to humans and birds.
Message Framing and Message Threat
Previous research found that users of YardMap expressed more willingness to adopt sustainable practices when persuasive messages were framed in terms of harm to birds that harm to humans. We have embedded a 2x2 experiment into Cornell's 2014 National Social Survey in order to determine whether the previous finding will replicate in a representative sample, and to extend the findings to the effects of messages valence. Specifically, the experiment manipulates message salience (harm vs. benefit) and target (human vs. birds).