I am currently interested in five different research topics:
(1) Self-control, choice, decision making. We have investigated how people regulate their emotions, resist temptation, break bad habits, and perform up to their potential -- and why they often fail to do so.
Related work shows how stressful and draining it can be to make choices.
(2) The need to belong. We have worked on how people respond to being rejected or excluded from social groups, as well as romantic heartbreak. Also, many psychological processes are based on the
desire to connect with other people.
(3) A series of studies of human sexuality has addressed questions such as how nature and culture influence people's sex drive, rape and sexual coercion, the cultural suppression of female sexuality, and how couples negotiate their sexual patterns.
(4) Consciousness, volition, emotion, and "free will." We are beginning to do studies on the role of conscious processes in how people decide their actions. Does emotion cause behavior? Is the conscious experience of free choice an illusion?
(5) Irrationality and self-destructive behavior. An enduring theme of my work is why people do stupid things. Self-defeating behavior is the essence of irrationality and thus shows the limits of human rationality.