My research examines contextual influences on emotion and judgment, with an emphasis on happiness. For instance, one recent study demonstrated that participants in a happy mood, compared to those in a sad mood, are less happy with gamble outcomes in which they could have won more money than they actually did. I am particularly interested in happiness in the context of consumer behavior. One recent study shows that people who want better consumer products than they own are less happy, unless they are also happy with what they have (Norris & Larsen, 2011). I often use physiological measures of emotion to study questions like these (e.g., Larsen & Norris, 2009). More broadly, my research incorporates perspectives from evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics.
In addition to the research listed in my vitae, here are some examples of student research projects and theses that I have directed:
- Quantity-quality tradeoffs in consumer decision-making
- Do I want it or need it? Extrinsic goal pursuit predicts perception of necessity
- Feeling without judging: Facial electromyographic valence sensitivity in a nonevaluative task
- When down is good: Head position affects moral attribution to music
- Religious versus material relationships: God attachment, materialism, and parental attachment
- Flirting: Is it really harmless? Affective consequences of imagined significant-other/rival flirtation