Social Sciences: Decision Making, Judgements, Motivation

Department: Psychology

Supervising Faculty Member: Ben Converse

Specialization: Decision-making, social judgments, motivation

Research Focus: I study the psychology of judgment and decision making. I investigate basic psychological processes – such as motivation, social judgment, and inferences about others’ mental states – that have critical implications for management, leadership, and policy.
Much of my work focuses on the question of how people achieve personal and group goals in a social world. With my lab group, the Social Behavior and Decisions Lab, I am investigating questions such as: How do the achievements of individuals’ groups affect their personal goal pursuit? How do people get beyond their own psychological perspectives to infer others’ thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the world?
We are particularly concerned with how individual thought processes lead to decisions and behaviors that promote or undermine stable social systems. Research areas: social judgment, motivation and self-regulation, social exchange, perspective taking, and decision making.

Position Description: The student will learn how psychology research is conducted by working in a lab environment to prepare and conduct experiments, streamline processes, code videos/text, enter data, and attend lab meetings.

Required skills: Good organizational skills, proactive interest in improving lab systems and processes, and familiarity with general computer programs (Google drive, Excel). Ability to work with a team is necessary.

Computer software: Previous experience analyzing data is helpful, but not necessary.

Training/certification: No formal training is required. Student will complete IRB certification training after being hired.

What you will learn: In general, this is a great opportunity to become familiar with the research process. As a research assistant of this lab, students will receive hands-on training in social psychology and experimental lab studies. By the end of the USOAR program, students will know how to interact with participants, run experiments, and maintain high quality data practices.

Web site link to research: https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/Benjamin_A_Converse/