My research interests focus on (1) the self and (2) close relationships and intergroup relations. My approach to studying these areas is influenced by social-cognitive theory and methods, such as work on knowledge accessibility and dual-process models. In my view, merging social cognition with the self, close relationships, and intergroup relations is useful because it highlights the fundamentally social nature of perceiving, interpreting, judging, and behaving.
I am especially interested in studying how one’s relationships with significant others and one’s group memberships influence self-definition, self-evaluation, and self-regulation. For example, a colleague and I have recently proposed a framework to study the relational self, or the self in relation to significant others. We argue that the phenomenon of transference plays a major role in shaping the nature of the self in the course of everyday life. Our theory accounts for both stability and malleability in the relational self, and leaves room for social bases of the self beyond significant others, such as the social groups to which one belongs.