Department of Psychological Science
Health Psychology Ph.D. Program
Organizational Science Ph.D. Program
- B.S.: North Dakota State University
- M.A.: University of Houston
- Ph.D.: University of Houston
Feeling at the mercy of a given situation or of other people can often leave people feeling powerless to making changes that can improve the quality of their lives. A simple but powerful assumption provides the foundation for my research: people create what they experience through the goals and beliefs that drive their behavior. As a social psychologist, I draw from the close relationships literature and use a combination of methodological approaches to explain the very basic, but often overlooked issue of how people’s intentions toward others affect their relationships and the consequences of these processes for the self and others. I examine these processes across various types of relationships, including in roommates, friends, coworkers, married and dating couples, and in interactions between strangers and acquaintances.
My program of work shows that people’s goals or intentions toward others have powerful consequences for close relationships and personal well-being. When people have compassionate goals to support others, they and their relationships flourish: they give to others and others reciprocate, leading to better relationships and enhanced personal well-being for both people. People with self-image goals to manipulate others’ views of the self focus on meeting their own needs and view others as a means to get what they want or need. As a result, they and their relationships function poorly: they give less and others reciprocate, leading to poor relationship functioning and diminished personal well-being for both people (Canevello & Crocker, 2010; 2011; Crocker & Canevello, 2008; Crocker, Canevello, Breines, & Flynn, 2010; Mischkowski, Crocker, Niiya, Canevello, & Moeller, under review). More recently, I have begun to examine the ways in which interpersonal goals shape responses to adversity, including approaches interpersonal problems, forgiveness following relationship transgressions, and personal growth following traumatic events.
Broadly, my research attempts to answer big questions, such as:
- When and how do we create upward and downward spirals in our relationships with others?
- How do we contribute to what others experience?
- What does it mean to have good relationships and how can we create them?
- What are the benefits of giving vs. receiving?
If you are interested becoming a research assistant in Dr. Canevello’s lab: You should submit application materials the semester before you would like to join the lab. Applications for the Fall semester are accepted the previous spring; applications for the Spring semester are accepted the previous fall.
Minimum requirements for these positions include: at least sophomore standing, a minimum 3.2 GPA (3.5 or higher is strongly preferred), previous research experience is a plus, and I rarely take people who have not completed the first research methods course (however, applications for outstanding students who do not meet one of these requirements may be considered).
RAs work for research credit. I prefer that they take 3 hours, which translates to 12 hours per week in the lab, but I sometimes consider taking students for 2 credits (i.e., 9 hours per week). Generally, my team works between 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday (we sometimes extend those hours a bit). We don’t typically work evenings or weekends, though again, we sometimes have to make exceptions. Specific schedules will depend on the kinds of data that we collect – if we’re doing something with couples in the lab, it takes 2 RAs; running more simple procedures will only take one RA. But once we set a schedule, that will be the schedule. You would work the same hours every week and our weekly lab meeting would always be at the same time.
Please email Dr. Canevello (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kirby Magid (email@example.com) for an application.