The Emotion & Self Lab descended on Charlotte, NC, US of A, last weekend for the 3rd Biannual Meeting of the Association for Research in Personality. Our contingent included Jess, Joey, Aaron, and former lab member (and newly minted Assistant Professor at UC Riverside) Will Dunlop. Although we are fairly certain (p < .05) that none of us fully indulged in the authentic local cuisine of oversized pulled pork sandwiches, fried green tomatoes, or biscuits n’ gravy, each lab member contributed to the vibrant intellectual atmosphere of the conference, albeit in quite distinct domains.
Jess, along with Oz Ayduk of UC Berkeley, served as co-chair of the conference organizing committee. She delivered the conference’s opening address, and spoke such memorable words to warrant a direct quote during Laura King’s invited talk. In case you weren’t there for Jess’ remarks, we’ll summarize by noting that the present time represents a critical juncture for personality psychology.
Joey and Will also gave talks at the conference, presenting their latest research. Joey’s talk, entitled Listen, Follow Me, detailed a hot new study examining the relation between vocal pitch and the attainment of social status in small groups. Her talk came as part of a symposium, which she and Jess co-chaired, concerning non-verbal, neuroendocrine, health, and self-regulatory processed associated with social status. The symposium brought together researchers from multiple disciplines, including Pranj Mehta from the University of Oregon, Gary Sherman from Harvard, and honorary Emotion Lab member Kristin Laurin from the Stanford Business School. The audience seemed quite attentive, perking up noticeably when Joey’s voice cracked and dropped just minutes into her talk.
Will’s talk, entitled The Personality Profile of Heroes, detailed his recent work examining the distinct constellations of personality traits that characterize individuals who have received a national award for risking their lives to save others, compared to a group of normal individuals. His talk came as part of a symposium concerning the role of personality in moral behavior. Not surprisingly, Will dazzled the audience with his wit and eloquence, often eliciting chuckles and smiles even from those seated in the back row, and drawing a lengthy post-talk question from none other than ARP president Will Fleeson. One might conclude that Will is emerging as one of the new stars of personality psychology.
Finally, Aaron presented a poster entitled Culture-Specific Personality, in which he detailed a recent pair of studies providing preliminary evidence that the relation between personality traits and behavior may be less strong among East Asians than among Caucasians. Thankfully, he managed to avoid the anonymity that frequently characterizes poster sessions, drawing a modestly sized crowd of visitors with helpful suggestions, including his academic Grandpa (and Jess’ former graduate adviser) Rick Robins. The poster session culminated in a photo shoot, in which the Emotion Lab crew posed for the cameras to commemorate a successful weekend. We are grateful to Robin Edelstein for taking the photos, while patiently waiting for us to make sure our hair looked just right.