• SOCIAL & EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY LAB

     

     

     

     

     

    Oklahoma State University

    313-314 North Murray Hall

    Stillwater, OK

     

  • What We Do

    We're a SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY LAB. Research in our lab draws on theoretical perspectives---from social psychology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and animal behavior---to explore human social cognition, emotions, and behavior. Most of our work investigates how people use cues to strategically navigate their social worlds and meet their social goals.

     

    DR. KREMS PLANS TO ACCEPT GRADUATE STUDENTS TO BEGIN FALL 2021.

     

    The Krems Lab supports the research of graduate and undergraduate students associated with The Oklahoma Center for Evolutionary Analysis (OCEAN).

  • Current Projects

    Many of our projects take place at the intersection of overlapping researching interests--most often exploring female sociality, friendship, stereotyping and prejudice.

    Female cooperation & competition

    Every woman has at least two stories: One about how she could not have survived without the support of a female friend, and one about how a female friend broke her heart. We investigate the often-overlooked complexities of female sociality.

    • Like men, women actively compete. We explore ways that women might avoid the often high costs of other women's aggression (e.g., via perceptual biases, strategic behavior)--and the impact this might have on women's psychology and physiology.
    • How do women meet the challenge of discerning whether women are likely friends or foes?
    • What forms does women's status competition take, and is it effective?
    • Might current conceptualizations of power and status assume male-biased defaults, thereby leading us to overlook sources power and status typically held by women?

    Friendship

    Our friends make us happy, keep us healthy, and can even promote our reproductive fitness. But friendships remain understudied in social psychology. We explore these important bonds.

    • Does "friendship jealousy" protect our friendships, and motivate us to guard our friends?
    • Who engages in "friend guarding", and what drives it?
    • How many friends do women and men have? 
    • How does the mind integrate our myriad friend preferences to actually make friend choices?
    • We've all shared secrets or gossip with friends--including with friends who betray others' trust in sharing secrets and gossip with us. Why do we trust these betrayers, and what does this tell us about friendship psychology?

    Stigma & Prejudice

    We use a functional approach to stigma to revolutionize our understanding of classic research in social psychology.

    • (Why) Do people stereotype women who have casual sex (but not men) as having low self-worth?
    • How does the "OKness" of prejudice affect our social relationships?
    • Do specific threats transfer in stigma-by-association?
    • Beyond BMI, fat stigma results from a complex perceptual calculus that involves different fats (often stored in different places on the body). How do people's body shapes affect stigma directed toward them, and what affordances do different bodily shape cue?

    How do ecological variables shape everyday life?

    Income inequality is a strong predictor of violence. Does increasing income inequality also change the ways that women compete? How does pathogen prevalence affect the job market?

    • Our work suggests that different ecological factors shape different types of violence.
    • How does relational mobility affect friendship processes?
    • Does an environment with greater information saturation lead us to prefer simpler information?

    Social cognition for reputation

    Our minds are sensitive to how other people see us, and this sensitivity can influence whom we condemn, how much we want to punish others, and how we navigate relationships.

    • We might enjoy reputational boosts when we condemn other people--but how do people view us when we try to understand both sides of politicized controversies?
    • Why do people seem to dislike people who agree with points made by those on two opposing sides of a politicized controversy--is it because those people make the group seem less cohesive and imposing?
    • How do we feel about unchanging artifacts (i.e., art) after learning artists were accused of various transgressions?

    Life history strategy and (ir)religion

    Religious people are highly trusted--and even other atheists often dislike atheists. Some religious people are also likely to hold negative perceptions of gays, women's reproductive rights, recreational drugs. Why?

    • Our work suggests that atheists are distrusted because they are seen as sexually uncommitted, building a body of work suggesting that sexual strategies lead us to religions (and not vice versa).
    • Do people ever possess positive stereotypes about atheists?
    • Can displaying cues of religiosity mitigate (some) stigmatization?

    Functional Motivations

    The sorts of activities that make us happy and fulfilled change as a function of our age, gender, and relationship status. We explore what makes us happy--and whether we can accurately predict what makes other people satisfied (or frustrated).

    • Our work suggests that striving for status and finding friends can make us feel self-actualized.
    • We also discuss how our goal of caring for kin is highly important to people across cultures--even as many researchers sometimes overlook this motivation. 

    The social functions of disgust

    A "disgust" sound is a most recognizable emotional vocalization. What would you do If someone made that sound at you, or looked at you with disgust? What if a friend looked at you with disgust--and did so just after someone you both found annoying entered the room? We're exploring disgust expressions and their often-triadic social functions