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Research Summaries


Abby Braden: My research focuses broadly on eating disorders and obesity. More specifically, my research agenda includes two main goals: 1) to improve the conceptualization and assessment of emotional eating behavior and 2) to develop novel behavioral interventions for overweight/obesity, with a focus on adults who engage in emotional eating. We recently completed a pilot study examining the feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of a novel intervention for adults with overweight/obesity. The treatment is a group-based program that combines emotion regulation skills from dialectical behavior therapy with standard behavioral weight loss techniques. Results were promising and suggest the need for a larger, randomized trial. We are also currently collecting data for a study that uses ecological momentary assessment and a laboratory paradigm to examine emotional eating behavior among adults with overweight or obesity. We are hopeful that this study will add to the body of literature on emotional eating theory and assessment.

Eric Dubow: My research interests include: the development of risk and protective factors in children's adjustment; the development and implementation of school-based intervention programs to enhance coping skills in handling stressful and traumatic events; the development of aggression over time and across generations; and the effects of exposure to ethnic-political violence and potential protective factors.

Annette Mahoney: I specialize in theory and empirical research on relational spirituality which refers to ways religious/spiritual cognitions and behaviors about close relationships can impact individual and relational health, for better and worse, across the lifespan. My research team aims to disentangle specific ways religiousness/spirituality can undermine or enhance the well-being of individuals as they strive to form and maintain healthy relationships and exit or reform dysfunctional relationships. This includes romantic unions and marriage, the transition to parenthood, parenting, couples' sexuality, romantic break-ups and divorce, sexual abuse, interpersonal violence, and friendships. Key constructs include sanctification, spiritual intimacy, desecration and sacred loss, religious/spiritual one-upmanship, positive religious/spiritual coping, and religious/spiritual struggles, See BGSU’s web site on the Psychology of Spirituality and Family Relationships for more information on scientific research on the helpful and harmful roles on relational spirituality across the lifespan.

William O’Brien: Research interests include behavioral medicine, clinical psychophysiology, behavioral assessment, and behavior therapy.

Catherine Stein: The development of community interventions for individuals with schizophrenia and their families; the influence of social networks and family relationships on psychological well-being in adulthood.

Carolyn Tompsett: Examining ecological models of juvenile delinquency and substance abuse among adolescents; intersection of neighborhoods and poverty, peer and family influences; integrating geographic and psychological data.


Yiwei Chen: I have three lines of research.  First, I study age-related differences in cognitive and socio-emotional processes and how these differences may impact adult decision making.  For example, my graduate student Jennifer Crawford examines how discrete emotions may influence monetary decisions of young and older adults.  My second line of research focuses on stress, coping, and psychological well-being of adults, especially minority adults.  I have published extensively on PWB of Chinese American elderly as well as international students.  Third, my colleagues and I currently work with Bowling Green K-12 school teachers to investigate educators’ emotional labor before and after the pandemic.

Meagan Docherty: My research examines the development of aggressive and delinquent attitudes and behavior from childhood through young adulthood. Specifically, my recent studies have distinguished predictors of gun carrying in adolescence and young adulthood at both the between-individual and within-individual levels using longitudinal data. Some of my other recent studies have examined the developmental trajectories of callousness in childhood and adolescence. This work has identified childhood predictors of an elevated callousness trajectory, including aspects of the caregiving environment, and outcomes of callousness trajectories in adolescence and young adulthood, including psychopathic features, offending, and aggression.

Dara Musher-Eizenman: My research focuses primarily on how children develop their attitudes and behaviors around food and body. My work explores how these constructs develop in contexts such as families, schools, and media exposure.


Clare Barratt: My current research focuses on understanding the social networks and relationships of individuals and organizations that influence, and are influenced by, employee attitudes, emotions, health, and behavior.  Specifically, I am examining how one's social network at work and home influences employees' perceptions of support and inclusion, and how those perceptions then influence their behavior (good and bad). This area of research evolved out of my broader interest in examining when and why employees engage in risk-taking and negative workplace behaviors (i.e., CWB/withdrawal).  In tandem, I also conduct research on high-risk occupations (e.g., nursing, law enforcement) examining how employees are impacted by the dangers and culture associated with their jobs, especially non-traditional employees within such occupations (e.g., sex, racial, and sexual orientation minorities).

Scott Highhouse: Scott is interested in judgment and decision making in the workplace. He has recently examined dispositional risk taking and its relation to deviant workplace behavior. He also examines employer resistance to decision aids in the hiring process.

Melissa Keith: My current research falls into two broad domains: research on creativity and the creative process and work in the gig economy. With respect to creativity I have a particular focus on how motivation theory and research can be leveraged to enhance engagement in the creative process and creative performance. I also am interested in a range of topics relating to personal and contextual predictors of creative performance, as well as, creativity measurement. My research on the gig economy began with a more narrow interest in Mechanical Turk workers and their experiences. This work has resulted in a broader interest in gig worker experiences, well-being, and human flourishing.

Sam McAbee: My research interests can be distilled into two general areas of pursuit: the study of individual differences in personality and cognitive ability, and the methods used to measure these psychological characteristics in applied contexts; and identifying the various psychological characteristics that contribute to our understanding of human performance (e.g., job performance, college student success). My first area of interest involves the development and evaluation of psychological measures for use in applied settings (e.g., workplace, education, military). My research in this area has examined issues related to the development and application of short alternatives to longer psychological measures across a number of substantive domains (e.g., personality traits, working memory capacity), and the application of bifactor models to personality measures. Other interests include the examination of measurement invariance/equivalence and subgroup bias in psychological measures, and the commensurability of alternative measures of personality for predicting academically and organizationally relevant performance outcomes. My second area of interest involves the study of personality in workplace and educational contexts. Issues include the use of broad versus narrow personality traits for prediction, the use of observer reports to inform selection and admissions decisions, and how distal personality factors influence student and employee outcomes.

Mike Zickar: Psychometric methods and psychometric scale development of organizationally-relevant constructs; item response theory; psychological stresses and challenges of public service; history of applied psychology

Neural and Cognitive Sciences

Rich Anderson: In my current research, participants play the roles of scientists collecting data in experiments. My general research question is: When and how do people decide to take action based on the data they’ve gathered, when such action forecloses the possibility acquiring new data?

Vern Bingman: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory with particular interests in animal navigation, spatial memory and age-related decline in cognitive function.

Howard Casey Cromwell: Our research in the Biology of Affect and Motivation laboratory is involved in studying the brain basis of reward processing.  Specifically current work is focused on reward relativity or the ability to update reward value as new outcomes are being experienced.  Our findings highlight the process involves basal ganglia circuits that can track these value shifts in a rapid manner and are sensitive to systematic changes in value along a well-controlled preference hierarchy.  These abilities could form the basis for choice and preference as rapid implicit reward updates continuously occurring in brain networks key to the reward process.  One latest study in the lab in this area revealed significant deficits in relative reward updating in an animal model of addiction.  A future goal is to examine these deficits in detail and possibly uncover a core impairment in reward processing involved in the transition to addiction, a deficit with a detectable neural basis that can be tracked and manipulated.  Implications are for novel biomarkers of addiction and new avenues in treatment development.

Anne Gordon: My graduate training in social psychology focused on the study of how otherwise good people come to do bad things. In this vein, I have studied aggression, social stigma, lying and deception, and infidelity. I continue to be interested in each of these topics. However, I now view all aspects of human behavior through the lens of evolutionary psychology. Current research topics of interest include: Satisfaction and Regret over First Sexual Intercourse Experiences, Perceptions of Female Sexual Arousal as depicted in Pornography, Schadenfreude in Same-and Opposite-Sex Friendships, Parental Favoritism of Children, Sibling Aggression, and Lying in Romantic Relationships

Jari Willing: I am currently involved in several lines of research in the field of developmental neuroendocrinology. In one project, we are examining the synergistic effects of maternal infection and common endocrine-disrupting toxicants on development of the prefrontal cortex and executive functions in perinatally exposed offspring. Additionally, we are conducting another series of experiments aimed at assessing the effects of various agricultural practices on neurodevelopment and cognitive maturation. Third, we are interested in the developmental ontogeny of dopaminergic cells of the midbrain during adolescence, with a particular focus on how pubertal hormones regulate dopamine cell number.


Sherona Garrett-Ruffin: My research interests include exploring the relationships between electroencephalogram (EEG) brainwave patterns and affect, specifically impulsivity and empathy.

Updated: 01/30/2024 10:25AM