• SOCIAL & EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY LAB

     

     

     

     

     

    Oklahoma State University

    313-314 Psychology Building

    Stillwater, OK

     

  • What We Do

    We're a SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY LAB. Research in our lab draws on interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives---from behavioral ecology, cognitive and evolutionary anthropology, evolutionary biology---to investigate human social cognition and behavior. Most of our work asks: How do people's social minds help them meet their social goals?

     

    The social mind can guide people toward good friends, facilitate their effective competition against rivals, and cause them to make snap (and sometimes inaccurate) judgments about other people. Through these phenomena, we discern how people both create and strategically navigate their social worlds---in ways that maximize the benefits and minimize the costs associated with our uniquely human sociality.

     

    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 research projects that elucidate the fascinating ways that the social mind helps us actively create and strategically navigate our social worlds.

    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; one about how a female friend broke her heart. We explore the often-overlooked complexities underlying women's social relationships with one another.

    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.

    Stereotyping & prejudice

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

    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.., resource-scarce vs. resource-rich environments, environments with harsher vs. mild climates, environments characterized by high vs. low pathogens)?
    • Our work suggests that different ecological factors shape different types of violence.
    • How does relational mobility affect women's and men's friendship processes?
    • Our work on music suggests that greater information saturation in an environment can lead us to prefer simpler information.
    • Our goal of caring for kin is highly important to people across cultures--even as many researchers sometimes overlook this motivation. 

    (Ir)Religion, stereotyping & prejudice

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

    Reputation, information, and people: A social mind for navigating a social world

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

    • Shockingly, we don't yet know whether indirect aggression "works" the way it's theorized to. We assess the complicated possible costs to actors of indirect (versus direct) aggression. 
    • How does the mind deal with contradictory information about others? (E.g., When a friend tells us someone else's secret, that friend is breaking someone else's trust but favoring us.)
    • Does liking the same person always make us feel closer to one another? Can it backfire?
    • 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?
    • Artifacts (e.g., songs, films, paintings) are unchanging, but the reputations of the people that made them are not. How does the mind evaluate art made by transgressors?
    • How might we harm the reputations of others while avoiding revenge and retaliation for doing so?