Laboratory Members

Dr. Margaret S. Clark

My research interests fall in the areas of close relationships, emotion, and the intersection of those two areas.

I've long been interested in the normative nature of interpersonal processes as they occur within family relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. Much of my early work was devoted to demonstrating that the norms governing the giving and receiving of benefits in such close relationships are distinct from those which govern the giving and receiving of benefits in other relationships. In particular, I proposed that it is normative (and beneficial) for people to give benefits, non-contingently, in response to a partner's needs, if and when such needs arise whereas in other relationships benefits are given contingently. Studies demonstrated that in relationships desired to be formal and not communal (but not in relationships in which closeness is desired), people react positively to being repaid for favors and to receiving requests for repayment (Clark & Mills, 1979), keep track of inputs into the relationship (Clark, 1984; Clark, Mills, & Corcoran, 1989), and prefer giving and receiving comparable to non-comparable benefits (Clark, 1981). In contrast, in communal (but not other relationships) needs are tracked (Clark, Mills, & Powell, 1986; Clark et al. 1989), help is given (Clark, Ouellette, Powell & Milberg,, 1987), emotional expression is welcomed and responded to positively (Clark et al., 1987; Clark & Taraban, 1991) and giving help boosts one's mood (Williamson & Clark, 1989; 1992). 

More recently, I've observed people's ability to adhere to communal norms within ongoing, intimate, relationships -- most often marriages. People do, overwhelmingly, follow communal norms in these relationships and they and their partners feel best when they do so. I've also observed that expressing emotion, which conveys need states, is welcome in such relationships and valued and that it carries with it a host of benefits (Clark & Finkel, 2004). People who are low in trust of others, however, do have difficulty adhering to communal norms in the face of adversity and show some tendency to switch to exchange norms under such conditions.

Finally, I would note that my current interests include a focus on the nature and function of the interpersonal emotions of hurt, guilt, and gratitude within close relationships. Current research is demonstrating the value of feeling and expressing hurt and guilt to perserving communal relationships and the value of feeling and expressing gratitude to building and strengthening communal relationships.



Graduate Students



Oriana Aragon

The area of research that Dr. Margaret S. Clark and I investigate, focuses on how a reliance on reasoning influences social interactions. We have found evidence that a reliance on reasoning (whether chronic or situational) reduces the influence of social information which is typically perceived automatically. Since much of what transpires during social interactions is transmitted through non-deliberative channels, such as the automatic reading of facial expressions and body language, we expect that a reduced influence of such information has social consequences. 

Oriana's personal website:


Erica Boothby

Erica Boothby is a first year graduate student in the social psychology PhD program. She is especially interested in the way people establish a sense of reality by sharing their experiences with others. In the domain of emotion, she is exploring the antecedents and consequences of experiencing emotions in oneself vs. as attributes of the world, with an eye to the extent to which sharing an emotion heightens its reality. She is also interested in how relational contexts influence the moral norms people adopt.

Download Erica's C.V. Here: 


Lillia Cherkasskiy

Lillia Cherkasskiy is a fourth year graduate student in the social/personality psychology PhD program. She received her B.A. from Stanford University. Her research focuses on the relationships between emotions and goals. She investigates this relationship using implicit and explicit measures. With Dr. Clark, Lillia is investigating patterns in how stable individual differences in the extent to which people want to feel discrete emotions in daily life ("Emotion Goals") are related to adult attachment styles. 


Jacqueline S. Smith

Jacqueline S. Smith is a third-year doctoral student. Her research is
focused on how people perceive and respond to emotions expressed by
others. In her primary research, she examines stereotypes about social
categories like gender, race, and status in perceptions and judgments
of emotional expressions.  With Margaret Clark, she examines how
responses to expressions of anger in a close relationship differ
depending on the gender of the expresser.



Affiliated Graduate Students



Rebecca Dyer

Rebecca Dyer is a third year student in the social psychology PhD program. She received her B.A. from Haverford College. She works primarily John Bargh and Margaret Clark, looking at academic cheating, motivation, and emotion. Her other research interests include unconscious goal pursuit and social cognitive neuroscience.

Download Rebecca's C.V. Here:


Brett Marroquin

Brett MarroquĂ­n is a fourth-year graduate student in the clinical psychology Ph.D. program.  His research focuses on the relationship between emotion and social cognition in the psychopathology of depression and suicide.  He is particularly interested in interpersonal influences on cognitive processing and emotion regulation in close relationships, and how such processes go awry in depression.  He also studies individual differences in people's reliance on emotions in the present as information about the future, and how these differences play a role in depressive and suicidal hopelessness.  

Download Brett's C.V. Here:


Elena Wright






Lindsey Bech


Julie Huang 


Randy Stein