My research focuses on
to social comparisons, comparisons to better-off and worse-off others.
In particular, I have focused on the ways in which people can be
motivated by positive role models, individuals who have achieved
stellar success, and negative role models, individuals who have
experienced failure in some domain. For example, one might be motivated
to exercise more in order to become like a healthy, fit individual, or
to avoid becoming like an unhealthy, out-of-shape individual. In a
series of studies, I have assessed the relative effectiveness of
positive and negative role models (e.g., Lockwood & Kunda,
Lockwood & Kunda, 1999; Lockwood, Jordan, & Kunda,
Lockwood, 2002; Lockwood, Sadler, Fyman & Tuck, 2004; Lockwood,
Wong, McShane, & Dolderman, 2005, Lockwood, Marshall, &
2005; Lockwood, Chasteen, & Wong, 2005; Lockwood, 2006;
Shaughnessy, Fortune, & Lockwood, under review).
In a second line of research, I have
social comparisons in the context of romantic relationships (e.g.,
Lockwood, Dolderman, Sadler, & Gerchak, 2004; Pinkus, Lockwood,
Schimmack, & Fournier, 2008; Pinkus & Lockwood, under
When one’s spouse outperforms one in a self-relevant domain,
may be threatened by one’s inferiority. One may also,
feel happy for the spouse, and enjoy the benefits of the
achievements. Because individuals are especially likely to empathize
with and share the fate of their partner, they are more likely to be
happier when their partner is successful. In ongoing studies, I am
examining comparisons across relationships, and the extent to which
dating and married individuals are motivated or demoralized by the
example of a very successful or unsuccessful couple.
In a third line of research, in
Dan Dolderman and Alison Chasteen, I have been examining the extent to
which individuals are likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviours.