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Mike W

- Research Program Mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


social psychology, prosocial behavior, stress, health, well-being, organizational behavior, status, psychophysiology

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Are rules meant to be broken? The effects of rule-following and discretion on interpersonal trust

Who should you trust? In this project, we study trust in leaders (e.g., managers) who either punish transgressors according to prescribed rules (e.g., organizational policies) or who exercise discretion by occasionally deviating from rules. We explore whether people are more likely to trust leaders that intend to exercise discretion primarily because discretion signals benevolence and competence. This research has important theoretical implications for research on trust and organizational justice, and important practical implications for the design and enforcement of punishment.

Psychophysiology in managerial decision-making

Effective delegation is a critical leadership behavior. Since research has found that biology is associated with leadership behaviors, this project explores how people's hormonal profiles affect delegation behavior. We explore how profiles of testosterone and cortisol lead to differential delegation decisions at work.

Awe as a buffer to stress

The psychological experience of stress emerges when the demands of context outweigh one's resources to cope. While past work on stress has explored the ways in which stress is linked to maladaptive changes in the brain, far less research has focused on the strategic ways people can promote their propensity for resilience. This project implicates awe a self-transcendent positive emotion, as a psychological mechanism for increasing the propensity for resiliency.

Coding skills


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