Social Influence and Resistance to Persuasion
My primary areas of social psychological research are social influence and resistance to persuasion. In one line of work, my colleagues and I developed a treatment to instill resistance to deceptive persuasive messages. The initial series of studies demonstrated that participants could learn to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate persuasive techniques, but that maximizing resistance required dispelling participants' illusions of invulnerability to such techniques (Sagarin, Cialdini, Rice, & Serna, 2002). Another line of work explored consumers' perceptions of their attentional resources, including a set of studies that examined the distraction and persuasion effects of visually peripheral advertisements (i.e., ads that appear in the attentional periphery such as Internet banner ads; Sagarin, Britt, Heider, Wood & Lynch, 2003). My current work is examining individual differences in compliance.
Deception, Jealousy, and Infidelity
I also have a strong interest in what might be termed the "darker side" of human relationships: deception, jealousy, and infidelity. My first study on this topic (Sagarin, Rhoads, & Cialdini, 1998) demonstrated that even undiscovered lies can negatively impact a relationship by causing the liar to perceive the target of the lie as less honest. My more recent work has employed the paradigm of evolutionary psychology to explore the patterns of jealousy that stem from infidelity in a romantic relationship (Becker, Sagarin, Guadagno, Millevoi, Nicastle, 2004; Edlund, Heider, Scherer, Farc, & Sagarin, 2006; Sagarin, 2005; Sagarin, Becker, Guadagno, Nicastle, & Millevoi, 2003; Sagarin & Guadagno, 2004). In the future, I hope to examine the ways in which relationships successfully cope with and transcend jealousy.
I have two lines of research that examine the physiological, psychological, and behavioral aspects of consensual sadomasochism (SM). In the first set of studies, my colleagues and I examined the hormonal changes (cortisol and testosterone) and couple bonding that occur during and after SM activity (Sagarin, Cutler, Cutler, Lawler-Sagarin, & Matuszewich, in press). In the second set of studies, we're seeking to document the many caring behaviors that occur before, during, and after SM scenes.
Quantitative and Methodological Research Interests
Finally, I am interested in statistics and methodology, including the statistical approaches for addressing non-compliance in randomized experiments (West & Sagarin, 2000) and the detection and prevention of crosstalk in undergraduate subject pools.