Welcome to the Interpersonal Processes Lab!

Sandra Murray, Ph.D.


Associate Chair, Department of Psychology

University at Buffalo, SUNY

Research Overview

My research generally examines how the motivations to (1) feel safe and protected against harm and (2) perceive meaning and value in the partner shape affect, cognition, and behavior in adult close relationships. Using the lens afforded by motivated cognition, I examine both the automatic and controlled processes implicated in the pursuit of safety and value goals. I take a person by situation perspective, examining how features of the person (e.g., self-esteem, trust) and features of the situation (e.g., risk) interact to guide perception, inference, and behavior. I am interested in the mechanisms that govern behavior in specific situations (e.g., a conflict, a support encounter) as well as the processes that forecast the relationship’s eventual fate.

The major themes of my research are highlighted in my books:

Interdependent Minds: The Dynamics of Close Relationships

Motivated Cognition in Relationships: The Pursuit of Belonging