My primary interests are in two general domains: self-regulation (e.g., motivation, goal pursuit, self-control) and interpersonal relationships (e.g., those between romantic partners, coworkers, family). Achieving personal goals and maintaining positive interpersonal relationships are important predictors of psychological well being, and are essential for individual health as well as organizational success. Historically, little empirical research has examined the interplay between goal pursuit and social relationships, despite the strong ties between the two in everyday life. By directly investigating these ties, my research aims to increase our understanding of both basic topics, as well as the broader contexts in which these topics are relevant, such as consumer and organizational settings.
In my first stream of research, I examine the interpersonal triggers and influences on goal pursuit. People spend much of their everyday lives immersed in interpersonal environments, whether at home with family or in the office with colleagues. My research examines how these social contexts affect people's goals and motivation. For example, some of my ongoing projects examine how people may pool or share self-regulatory resources, how errors in judging other's goal commitment can impair support, and how relationship power can undermine beneficial goal contagion effects in relationships.
In my second stream of research, I examine the interpersonal consequences of pursuing goals. Much of day-to-day behavior is shaped by motivation-e.g., to earn a promotion, to lose weight, or to save money. My research examines how these everyday goals shape how people think and feel about and act toward others. For example, some of my ongoing projects examine how these kinds of processes can impact the development and maintenance of social networks and how conflicting goals shape relationship outcomes.