Dr. Mark Seery’s SPP Lab is particularly focused on stress and coping; specifically, understanding the factors that contribute to resilience versus vulnerability to potential stressors. We measure participants’ cardiovascular responses (i.e., blood pressure, heart rate, and how much blood the heart is pumping) during potentially stressful tasks, such as giving a speech, problem solving, and interacting with others. We use these bodily responses as a way to measure participants’ psychological states while they perform the task, without having to interrupt them to ask or depend on them to accurately self-report what they are thinking or feeling.
Our current research focuses on three core topics:
(1) Examining when and how high self-esteem serves as a resource versus a vulnerability, and the associated consequences for potentially destructive behavior
(2) Investigating how past experience of adverse life events can contribute to developing a propensity for future resilience
(3) Exploring the role of individuals’ relationships with other people and entities (e.g., romantic partners, things that inspire awe) in resilience versus vulnerability
Funding from the National Science Foundation has supported this work.