Why are girls and women more likely than boys and men to be diagnosed with depression and report more severe depressive symptoms? How do psychological and social risk factors for the gender difference in depression persist or shift over the course of adolescent to older adult development? Do different types of social feedback impact people differently, depending on individual differences that confer vulnerability for depression? Why is ambiguous feedback (e.g. awkward silences) so uncomfortable for some people, but not others? These are the essential questions that organize and frame my primary research interests on the interactions between gender, development, personality, and mental health variables. In particular, I am fascinated by the characteristic ways that people respond to social feedback (e.g. social hypersensitivity/sociotropy), how these individual differences predict risk for depression, and how they differ based on gender, culture, and development. To explore these questions, I employ the research methods of experimental social psychology, personality survey research, and meta-analysis and literature review.
Apart from my primary research interests, I also conduct research on thought speed, emerging adulthood, global learning and service-learning pedagogy, and international STEM education for girls and women.
Yang, K. & Girgus, J. (2018). Are women more likely than men are to care excessively about maintaining positive social relationships? A meta-analytic review of the gender difference in sociotropy. Sex Roles, 1-16. (pdf)
Yang, K. & Girgus, J. (2018). Individual differences in social hypersensitivity predict the interpretation of ambiguous feedback and self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 135, 316-327. (pdf)
Yang, K., & Pronin, E. (2018). “Consequences of thought speed.” In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 57, Ed. James Olson.
Girgus, J. S., Yang, K., & Ferri, C. (2017). The gender difference in depression: Are elderly women at greater risk for depression than elderly men? Geriatrics, 2, 35. (pdf)
Students who are interested in research experience should have successfully completed PSYC 2241 Statistical Methods. PSYC 3242 Experimental Psychology is strongly preferred.
Research skills employed will vary based on the project. Examples of skills that students have developed in the past include conducting and writing a literature review, participant data collection, data input, data analysis, experimental design for social and personality psychology, and IRB application writing. Depending on the project, students may also gain presentation and professional experience at conferences.
Students are responsible for the ethical conduct of research (e.g. working with participants, data input), regular and prompt communication, consistent attendance at research meetings, and commitment to research involvement for at least a full semester. Students who work with human subjects must obtain and maintain their CITI ethics certification.
Contact email@example.com to inquire about lab openings. Please enclose a copy of your resume, with GPA, and a brief description of your interest in and aims in gaining research experience.