Interpersonal Sensitivity and Companion Animals

Do people have animals as companions because they don’t understand people?

Or do people enjoy their relationships with dogs and cats because they are so perceptive that they can relate to them in human like ways? This project examines the theoretical and empirical relationship between interpersonal sensitivity (e.g., emotional intelligence) and one’s experience with companion animals.

Conversations Incorporating Augmentative Alternative Communication Systems

Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) systems are used by millions of people who cannot vocally communicate. Whereas the benefits of these systems are obvious in that they greatly increase the communication capacity of the user, they can sometimes present obstacles to the development and maintenance of rapport because of the longer times required to produce the message. Despite their widespread usage, very little is known about the impact they have on the nonverbal behavior of the conversational partners. A goal of this research program is to discover ways in which these systems can be engineered to have a more positive impact on the interactions that rely on them (Gevarter et al., 2013).

Attitudes towards Relationships and Physical Activity

We are developing a theory that links adult attachment style in romantic relationships (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991) with attitudes towards physical activity and exertion. Our current task is the development of an instrument that validly assesses a person’s experiences while engaged in various physical activities.

The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on the Assessment of Academic Abilities

This research program is assessing the relationship between emotional intelligence and verbal ability as measured by standardized tests such as the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. Previous research has found relationships between the two (Izard et al., 2001). We are planning a long term multi-study research program to assess how far this relationship extends.