About me

I'm a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania working with Dr. Anjan Chatterjee. I received my Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro under the supervision of Dr. Paul Silvia.

Research Philosophy

Broadly, I view psychological phenomena as complex systems. Psychological phenomena are systems in that they are composed of many components which interact with one another and complex in that their interactions with other systems are difficult to derive because of their dependencies and properties. This perspective has led to me to model psychological constructs using network models, which allow depictions of the interactions between the basic componenets of the system.

Research Program

Quantitative Methods

The first pillar of my research program is the development of tools that advance network science in psychology. This focus is both on the development and application of network science methods. The development aspect has emphasized how network models can be used as a measurement and assessment method for psychometric evaluation of psychological measures. The application aspect has emphasized making network science methods available to applied researchers by creating, maintaining, and co-authoring several R packages: EGAnet, NetworkToolbox, SemNeT, SemNetCleaner, and SemNetDictionaires.

Between-person Personality

The second pillar of my research program focuses broadly on the measurement and assessment of personality. With network models, personality traits resemble an emergent property of the interactions that occur between unique behavioural components—that is, traits are not any single component of the system but rather a feature of the system as a whole. This suggests that traits emerge because some characteristics within individual people tend to covary more than others, and when these relevant processes are aggregated, they reflect meaningful differences between people in the population.

Personality as a Dynamic Cybernetic System Ensemble

The third pillar of my research program seeks to understand personality as a dynamic cybernetic system ensemble. To this extent, a person can be defined as a complex and dynamic system (of systems) that operates within the constraints of their goals, values, and learned behaviors. Fundamental to this perspective is that people organize their behaviors through internal and external processes that provide feedback on whether they are behaving in a way that optimizes their progress towards their goals and values. Over time, people develop learned behaviors that are optimized to achieve certain outcomes (at the cost of others) and they attempt to adjust their behaviors to align with future prospects. In turn, this may explain why behavior change is so hard (e.g., overcoming old goal-directed behaviors to establish new ones) and why who we are is defined by where we are going.