There’s an old saying, “Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” The logic of this advice draws on a fundamental truth of human psychology: an individual’s perceptions of the world, and thus their reactions to it, are influenced by their subjective perspective. This truth helps explain why different people can react differently to the same situation, and also why the same person can react differently at different points in time. If you’ve ever looked back on a past relationship, business decision, or even fashion choice and wondered, “What was I thinking?!”, you can appreciate the power of perspective.
Research in our lab at Ohio State University investigates the mental processes underlying people’s subjective perceptions of the world and of themselves. We seek to understand how these processes relate to cognition, emotion, and behavior; and to identify how subjective perceptions might be manipulated in ways that help people achieve goals, maintain emotional well-being, improve decision-making, and foster interpersonal and intergroup harmony.