Psychology Publications: 2015

Faculty in the Department of Psychology shared thoughts about their recent work.

Emanuele Castano

Emanuele Castano, Professor of Psychology, recently published On Social Death: Ostracism and the Accessibility of Death Thoughts (Death Studies, 2015). From Castano, on the article:

“I have been exploring the role that social inclusion plays in quelling existential anxiety for many years (possible links to several articles and chapters). I typically show that when primed with death individuals identify more strongly with groups they belong to, such as American, or Psychologists. Research in psychology also shows that when people are excluded from social groups, namely ostracized, they tend to act aggressively. In this article I put the two lines of research together: I made people feel ostracized (yes, horrible!) and showed that this enhances the salience of death thoughts. In other words, the experience of being ostracized enhances existential anxiety, which in turn may be responsible for increased aggression.”

Castano was also recently invited to speak at Stanford University’s School of Medicine about his recently celebrated article, co-authored with David Kidd, 2014 Psychology alumnus and current postdoctoral fellow (“Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind,“ Science Magazine, 2013). Watch the lecture below.

Choose a publication below to learn more.

Bio | Castano received his PhD from the Université Catholique de Louvain. His work revolves around three main areas, Collective Identity, Intergroup Relations and Morality; Social Identity, Ideology, and the Human Condition; and Empathy and Theory of Mind. He has authored more than 50 publications, mostly scientific articles in highly regarded journals, and consulted with international organizations, governments and other institutions. His recent work on the effects of literary fiction on Theory of Mind was published in Science and received media coverage worldwide. Currently, Castano serves as co-chair of the Psychology department, representing the Cognitive, Social, and Developmental area.

Michael Schober

Michael Schober, Professor of Psychology, recently published Precision and Disclosure in Text and Voice Interviews on Smartphones (PLoS ONE, 2015). This is the first paper from a multi-year NSF grant with collaborators from University of Michigan and AT&T Research Labs, with multiple contributors from The New School (NSSR Psychology as well as Parsons Design & Technology). Schober also published “Comprehension and engagement in survey interviews with virtual agents” (Frontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science, 2015) Schober shared these thoughts about the article:

“This paper focuses on understanding more about a proposed technology for social measurement that is becoming increasingly plausible and cost-effective: virtual interviewers (embodied conversational agents with which survey respondents can interact freely). Although proponents and developers have made strong claims about their utility, far less is known about their benefits and drawbacks than is needed to make informed choices about their use in consequential survey. This study demonstrates that some of what we know from human interviews does indeed extend to virtual interviewers, but that their distinctive features can affect respondents in unexpected ways. For example, survey respondents in this study answered more accurately and rated the virtual interviewer as more personal when it could converse (provide clarification) more naturally, but independent of this they smiled and nodded more when the interviewer’s face had more movement.”

Other recent publications include “Reading a blog when empowered to comment: Posting, lurking, and non-interactive reading” (Discourse Processes, 2015), and Jazz improvisers’ shared understanding: A case study (Frontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science, 2014). Listen to a podcast interview with Schober, conducted by the University of Southampton’s National Centre for Research Methods, in which he discusses his research investigating the development of shared understanding between improvising musicians.

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Bio | Schober received his PhD from Stanford University. Schober studies how people coordinate their actions, the mental processes underlying that coordination, and how new technologies mediate coordination. His research deals with questions that cross the lines between psychology, linguistics, human-computer interaction, music, public opinion research, and design. Currently Schober serves as Associate Provost for Research for The New School.

Other publication updates from the department:

William Hirst

William Hirst, Malcolm B. Smith Professor of Psychology, recently published “A Ten-Year Follow-Up of a Study of Memory for the Attack of September 11, 2001: Flashbulb Memories and Memories for Flashbulb Events” (Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2015) and “Social Identity and Socially Shared Retrieval-Induced Forgetting: The Effects of Group Membership” (Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2015).

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Bio | Hirst received his PhD from Cornell University. Hirst has published over 140 scholarly articles and edited four books and four special journal issues. Between 2010 and 2014 alone, he was author or co-author on 46 articles; this included articles in Psychological Science, the most influential journal in psychology, The Journal of Trauma and Stress, Social Cognition, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Most recently, his work on memory of 9/11 was featured in Time Magazine.

Selections of NSSR publications from 2015:

Anthropology | Economics | Historical Studies | Liberal Studies | Philosophy | Politics | Psychology | Sociology