Oklahoma State University

    313-314 Psychology Building

    Stillwater, OK


  • What We Do

    We're a SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY LAB. Research in our lab draws on theoretical perspectives---from evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and behavioral ecology---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.




    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 underlying women's social relationships with one another.

    • 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?
    • Compared to men, are women less likely to form same-sex friendships across status boundaries--and why?


    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.

    Stigma & Prejudice

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

    (Ir)Religion, Stereotyping, & Prejudice

    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?

    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?

    • Do social perceivers have accurate expectations about the behavior of people in different ecological circumstances (e.g.., desperate versus hopeful ecologies, population-dense environments)?
    • Our work suggests that different ecological factors shape different types of violence.
    • How does relational mobility affect women's and men's friendship processes?
    • Does an environment with greater information saturation lead us to prefer simpler information?

    Social cognition for communication?

    Our minds are sensitive to how other people see us, and this sensitivity can influence whom we condemn, how we navigate relationships, and whether and with whom we share information.

    • What rules govern the sharing of informational resources?
    • Why might we (paradoxically) trust those who betray others' secrets?
    • We might enjoy reputational boosts when we condemn other people--but how do people view us when we try to understand both sides of controversies?
    • How do deal with unchanging artifacts (i.e., art) after learning artists were accused of various transgressions?

    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. 
    • Is friend retention a fundamental social motive? 

    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