NSF Grant Awarded to Study How Situations Affect Behavior
By FAU Division Of Research
Boca Raton, Fla. – August 27, 2014 – How are people affected by the many situations they encounter throughout the day? That's the primary question asked by a new National Science Foundation-funded project by Ryne Sherman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. Starting Sept. 1, the three-year, $323,000 award will support Sherman's investigation of how situations affect behavior and how they change over time.
Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that small changes in situations can spur large behavioral changes. But the impact of real situations that people actually experience has rarely been investigated. Recent advances in both technology and the methodology of measuring situations have made Sherman's novel approach possible.
He plans to outfit 200 subjects with mini-cameras to photograph their surroundings every 30 seconds. That combined with the Riverside Situational Q-sort, which Sherman recently helped develop, will allow researchers to quantify and compare everyday situations.
The study aims to increase the understanding of the nature of situation transitions, their antecedents and their consequences. This project will also afford a better understanding of the relationships between personality, situations, and behavior as they naturally occur.