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Research Areas

Impression Management

Social Self-Awareness


In my main line of research, I study how we evaluate others based on how socially self-aware they seem (i.e., whether they seem to know what others think of them or not). I find that social self-awareness is perceived as a desirable quality in others in many cases, but I also uncover cases in which we trust others less when they appear to be more socially self-aware. In a related stream of research, I examine when and why people evaluate others' social self-awareness in the first place. 

Other Areas of Impression Management

In addition to the above, I examine other facets of impression management more broadly. For instance, I have studied how we perceive others' failures, how we evaluate others based on how variable their behavior is, how much we trust others based on their emotional expressions, and how gendered beliefs affect professional decisions.


Relevant papers:


Wald, K. A., & O'Brien, E. (2022). Repeated exposure to success harshens reactions to failure. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 103, 1-18. Link here


Levine, E. E., & Wald, K. A. (2020). Fibbing about your feelings: How feigning happiness in the face of personal hardship affects trust. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 156, 135-154. Link here

Conversational Dynamics


I also study other types of interpersonal dynamics, such as communication and conversations. For instance, I have studied how people discuss disagreement, and have found that 1) people anticipate that discussing political disagreement will be worse than it actually is, and 2) the goal with which one approaches a disagreement can affect the outcomes of the discussion. I also have research related to learning in conversations and costly signaling in communication.

Relevant papers:


Atir, S., Wald, K. A., & Epley, N. (2022). Talking with strangers is surprisingly informative. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(34), 1-8. Link here

Chaudhry, S. J., & Wald, K. A. (2022). Overcoming listener skepticism: Costly signaling in communication increases perceived honesty. Current Opinion in Psychology, 101442. Link here

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