Personality and social psychology are both concerned with the study of individual and social behavior, although each approaches this domain from a different perspective. Personality psychology emphasizes the role of intrapersonal factors (within the person), whereas social psychology emphasizes interpersonal ones (between people). Of course, there is a dynamic interrelation between these perspectives, since people with different personalities may behave differently when subjected to social or group forces.


A wide range of facilities is available for conducting research in personality and social psychology, including facilities for the study of group as well as individual behavior.


Lisa Feldman Barrett
Specialization: Affective Science
Laboratory: Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory

Dr. Barrett’s research focuses on the nature of emotion from the perspectives of both psychology and neuroscience, and takes inspiration from anthropology, philosophy, and linguistics.

C. Randall Colvin
Specialization: Social Perception and Personality
Laboratory: Personality

Dr. Colvin’s research interests focus on several related topics. One area of research pertains to the factors that influence the accuracy of personality judgments of both self and others. Research in the second area focuses on the personality processes and characteristics associated with positive psychological functioning. The third area of research integrates the first two, investigating how individual differences in social perception influence psychological adaptation across social settings.

David DeSteno
Specialization: Emotion and Social Cognition
Laboratory: ESC Lab

Dr. DeSteno’s research focuses on the role of emotion in social cognition and behavior. His lab takes a multilevel and multiprocess approach to examining the psychological functions, phenomenologies, and sequelae that are associated with discrete emotional states. Current projects focus on the effects of emotions on several types of social judgment (e.g., moral decision making, risk assessment, prejudice) as well as on behaviors fundamental to social living (e.g., trust and cooperation, prosocial action, organizational behavior, altruism, aggression).

Judith A. Hall
Specialization: Interpersonal Processes
Laboratory: Social Interaction Lab

Dr. Hall’s laboratory studies verbal and nonverbal communication, and accuracy of interpersonal perception, in relation to many themes. These include connections between emotion perception and personality perception, the relative impact of knowledge versus motivation in interpersonal accuracy, how physicians communicate with patients, how social attitudes such as sexism are communicated and perceived, and how people behave in conflict. Dr. Hall also develops new tests for measuring accuracy of interpersonal perception.


Derek M. Isaacowitz
Specialization: Lifespan Developmental Psychology
Laboratory: Lifespan Emotional Development Laboratory

Dr. Isaacowitz investigates the links between attention and emotion throughout the adult lifespan. He is interested in how individuals of different ages, from the teens to the 90s, manage their own emotions and perceive emotions in others, and he tries to understand the role of visual attention in producing age differences both in the regulation and perception of emotions.

Stacy Marsella
Specialization: Human Behavior Modeling
Laboratory: CESAR Lab

Professor Marsella’s multidisciplinary research is grounded in the computational modeling of human cognition, emotion and social behavior as well as the evaluation of those models. Beyond its relevance to understanding human behavior, the work has seen numerous applications, including health interventions, social skills training and planning operations. His more applied work includes frameworks for large-scale social simulations of towns and a range of techniques and tools for creating virtual humans, facsimiles of people that can engage people in face-to-face interactions.