Project Description

Individuals who are uncertain about their ability to perform well will often engage in self-handicapping to protect their self-esteem in the event of failure. Our own past research has identified gender differences in reactions to self-handicappers, such that women give harsher interpersonal evaluations of self-handicappers than do men. A recent methodology known as reverse correlation has become popular in illustrating how people visualize others who possess traits or characteristics, such as trustworthiness or conscientiousness. In this project, I would like to use this reverse correlation methodology to examine how women and men visualize self-handicappers.

Technology or Computational Component

The reverse correlation methodology requires the use of morphing software in which you present individuals with iterations of faces that have been subjected to distortions by random noise. Participants have to make a series of forced choices among presented faces as to which one looks more like they possess the target characteristic. By compiling their choices over many iterations, a researcher can compute a composite representation of what someone with that characteristic looks like to that participant. I am excited and will provide training to utilize this methodology to examine how people visualize self-handicappers (as opposed to non-handicappers/hard workers).