I am a Marketing PhD candidate at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Broadly, I study social comparison and social influence: that is, how the people around us influence how we see ourselves, how we see the world, and how we operate within it.
Right now, I’m fascinated by how the closeness of our relationships can fundamentally change how we think. For example, the way we think and act with our close family and best friends is often very different from how we are with acquaintances or distant colleagues. In my primary line of research, I explore how engaging with the people closest to us (versus more distant from us) can systematically change how we think about ourselves, how we judge their behavior, how we categorize objects, and how good we are at thinking innovatively. These differences have important implications for what we share, what we buy, and how we navigate our social networks.
I am also really curious about this belief people hold called “contagion.” Contagion, kind of like social influence, is the belief that when two things come into contact, they can transfer their important properties to each other. Sometimes this belief makes sense – like believing an uncovered sneeze is likely to pass on germs! But quite often this belief holds even when it doesn’t make sense – like believing that a t-shirt once worn by an attractive person is more attractive than the same t-shirt that hasn’t been worn (Argo, Dahl, & Morales, 2008). In my research, I explore how contagion can influence our emotions, how much we like certain products, and how authentic we think things are.
I believe the best answers to intriguing questions come from considering them from many different points of view. For this reason, my research is multi-method, integrating thoughtfully designed experiments with existing data in the real world. I also often use meta-analysis in my research, where I aggregate many smaller data sets in order to gain a broader understanding of the common findings within them. My research has appeared in leading marketing and psychology journals, such as the Journal of Consumer Psychology, and is currently under review at the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of Applied Psychology.
When I’m not in lab or writing, I am an avid powerlifter and triathlete, and love spending time painting and drawing. Fun fact: before I ultimately decided to pursue my bachelor of commerce degree, I had been applying to fine arts programs! Art keeps me balanced and creative, and parallels my outlook on good science. Like my approach to science, my art pushes me to examine things as they really are, not as they appear at first glance or as I’ve always thought they were. Art requires fine attention to detail without neglect for the big picture, and in art, as in life, everything can change depending on how you look at it!