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Social & Personality Psychology

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. The complementary area of personality psychology examines individual differences in people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Together, personality and social psychology examine how social contexts and individual differences shape human thoughts and behavior

Social and Personality Psychology research in the Department of Psychology provides an opportunity to train scientists to understand the twin forces of the environment and individual in shaping thoughts, feelings and behaviors. UGA's department has significant strength in the study of the self, narcissism, decision-making, culture, relationships, emotion, intergroup attitudes and biases, and personality processes. Researchers in this area use a variety of methods including experiments, longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys, neuroscience, and big data approaches to understand their questions of interest.


Drew Abney

  • Drew Abney focuses on how behaviors and social interactions early in development impact developmental trajectories throughout infancy and into toddlerhood. Studies conducted in the lab use various techniques: from conducting controlled laboratory experiments to free-flowing toy play sessions to collecting daylong multimodal (e.g., vocalizations, body movements, etc.) behavioral data. In the lab, we are motivated to apply existing techniques from applied computational social science and dynamical systems theory and also develop new computational and analytic methods to understand the dynamics of development during infancy and early childhood.    

W. Keith Campbell

  • W. Keith Campbell studies personality (especially narcissism), culture, social media, and the self. 
    • Program affiliation: Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Adam Goodie

  • Adam Goodie focuses on higher-order psychological processes of judgment and decision making, within three main domains. One focuses on the impact on decision making when individuals make risky choices based on their own abilities. A second line focuses on decision making, cognitive and personality contributors to disordered financial risk taking in the diagnostic category of gambling disorder. The third line focuses on the Bayesian integration of information under direct experience, including investigation of base-rate neglect. This program of research has been externally funded by several agencies.

Brian Haas

  • Brian Haas is focused on understanding individual differences in social and affective functioning in humans by using a multi-modal approach. He is interested in understanding the pathways in the brain, social behavior and culture. In his laboratory, a multi-modal approach is used that includes genetics, brain-imaging, personality assessment, social-behavioral experiments and cultural assessments. The primary objective of this research is to better understand the factors contributing to, and associated with, individual differences in the way people think and process their social world.

Josh Miller

  • Josh Miller studies the interplay between personality and psychopathology with a focus on personality disorders such as psychopathy and narcissism. 

Neal Outland

  • Neal Outland answers questions concerning the necessary qualities of individual team members and the optimal patterns of interaction for teams to follow for superior performance. He has two main research streams: one in which he explores how teams dynamically interact and perform in complex and dynamic environments such as sports; and another where he uses computer simulated teams as analogies to real human teams in a variety of contexts.
    • Program affiliation: Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Allison Skinner-Dorkenoo

  • Allison Skinner-Dorkenoo studies how stereotypes, attitudes, biases, and prejudices are established, maintained, and facilitated through subtle nonverbal signals and contextual cues present in everyday life—and how these factors contribute to and reinforce systemic inequalities. To better understand these issues, the GABBA Lab examines these issues across the lifespan, among both children and adults.
    • Program affiliation: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
    • GABBA Lab

Richard Slatcher

  • Richard Slatcher focuses on understanding the effects of peoples' close relationships on their health and well-being from a social psychological perspective.

Michelle vanDellen

  • Michelle vanDellen studies self-regulation, the processes by which people choose, pursue, and disengage from goals. Her work is driven by two core assumptions: 1) goal pursuits are inherently interpersonal and 2) cognition and motivation interact to drive self-regulatory processes. She applies her work to a broad range of domains, including health behaviors of smoking (with a particular emphasis on dual-smoker couples), eating, and physical fitness.
    • Program affiliation: Behavioral and Brain Sciences

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