We study the psychological mechanisms underlying all things related to trust, cooperation and moral judgment, with a particular interest in how emotions influence behaviors and decisions in these domains. We use methodology from social and cognitive psychology to ask all kinds of fun questions, like: what makes people act hypocritically? Why and when do we feel compassion for those in need? How do individuals and institutions regain trust after moral failings?
If you are interested in these topics, check out the Research page for a list of past and current projects. If you are an undergraduate at the Claremont Colleges and want to learn more about the lab or join up, you can fill out this form and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out our Facebook page to keep up on lab news and events.
Many of our projects study the influence of discrete emotional states such as compassion, awe, and gratitude in social life. By eliciting emotions in real time in our experiments, we test their influence on cognition and behavior and try to (in, hopefully, not too speculative a way) argue for their evolutionary function.
Valdesolo, P. & Graham, J. (in prep) Awe, ambiguity and agency detection.
Valdesolo & Bartlett (in prep) Beating them down with kindness: Gift-giving shapes interpersonal power.
How do people make moral judgments? Why are we such hypocrites? How do people and organizations build and lose trust? These are tough questions that require tough scientists to address them. Here are some examples of how we’ve flexed on them in the past:
Valdesolo, Chen, & Jones (in prep) Returning to grace: Perceived entitativity moderates the efficacy of responses to corruption.
Valdesolo, Lehr, Lessig & Banaji (under review) Contagious inferences in institutional trust: The costs of transparency
Valdesolo & DeSteno (2008) The Duality of Virtue: Deconstructing the Moral Hypocrite. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(5), 1334-1338 *Featured in Editor’s Choice, Science. May 9 2008.
How does coordination among bodies impact coordination among minds? In these projects we look at how moving in time with others (behavioral synchrony) influences interpersonal and intergroup judgments, such as feelings of agency, self-awareness, decisions to help, and information processing style.
Valdesolo & Foda (in prep) Moving the masses. Synchrony, cognitive style and persuasion.
Wiltermuth, Valdesolo & Harmon (under review) Synchrony and loss of Self.
Valdesolo & Winter (under revision) Dancing with the Devil: Synchrony and the communication and contamination of character.
Here’s where you can find us: