HOMETOWN: Gilroy, CA
PhD Social Psychology
BA in Psychology from UCLA in 2010 and my MS in Psychology in 2016 from Florida State University.
My research explores how we choose our social partners and compete to be chosen in return. Across human history and still today, social choice has been highly consequential.
When choosing social partners, we must assess others' underlying personalities. Who will stay loyal to us? My research has found that people use one another's grief response as a cue of their underlying trustworthiness, which then influences with whom they cooperate (Reynolds et al., 2015; Winegard, et al., 2014). When selecting which partners will be lower in self-control, people use tattoos as an indicator of impulsivity and lower trustworthiness (Maranges, Reynolds, & Baumeister, in prep). Attending to self-control is important, as it is related to people's moral decision-making, such as whether they value avoiding harm to others or maximizing others' well-being (Maranges, Reynolds, & Conway, in prep).
However, social choice is mutual and we must also compete to be chosen in return. One critical social relationship is one's long term romantic partner. My research has explored how the pressures to find a romantic partner harm women's body image and compel them to engage in unhealthy behaviors For example, when women perceive that there are more women than men in the local dating pool, they are more unhappy with their bodies and show more symptoms of disordered eating (Reynolds et al., in prep). These pressures to be thin do not end once women find a romantic partner. Along with my colleague, Dr. Andrea Meltzer, I found that wives married to attractive husbands more strongly desired to be thin and dieted more frequently (Reynolds & Meltzer, 2017).
Our level of concern about maintaining social and romantic relationships may shift based on physiological changes that we are not consciously aware of. For example, every menstrual cycle, women's progesterone hormone increases. This hormone is most known for its role in promoting the bodily changes associated with pregnancy. My colleagues and I found that this same hormone--progesterone--also underlies how insecure and anxious women feel about their romantic relationships (Reynolds et al., invited revision).
My interest in human social relationships extends into the classroom. I have taught Social Psychology, where I cover material about how we make social decisions, how we behave in groups, and how we choose romantic partners. Currently, I am teaching Personality Psychology, which is an absolute blast! I review research on how our personalities shape how we interact with the social world.
I graduated from UCLA Summa Cum Laude.
I was awarded the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship to investigate the relation between women's romantic relationships and hormone levels. This fellowship funded 3 years of my graduate degree.
Twice, I was nominated for FSU's Outstanding Teaching Award.
The research sharing luncheons offered such a unique and fun opportunity to learn about the research being conducted by my peers. In graduate school, it is easy to get lost in your own intellectual bubble. It was refreshing and stimulating to learn about the research questions and methods from other disciplines.
The President's Social was an incredible networking opportunity. Not only did I meet many curious and engaging students, it felt special to be welcomed into President Thrasher and his wife's home. It was inspirational to interact with such a successful and kind couple.