Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., Yale University
Office Hours: Thursdays, 2:30 - 4:30 pm
Psychology of Negotiations
Evolution of Human Nature
Judgment and Decision-Making
Senior Thesis Students:
Louisa C. Egan Brad studies everyday irrationality and immorality. Why do we so often fail to engage in the type of thinking that, knowing what we know, would most likely help us achieve our goals? To what degree is irrationality a part of who we are, and how do experience and culture affect irrationality? How does our sense of self contribute to our failures to behave rationally? Her approach combines methods from developmental, social, comparative, and cross-cultural psychology. Current projects include:
Origins of cognitive dissonance processes: Professor Egan Brad has shown that like human adults, young children and capuchin monkeys devalue rejected options (Egan, Santos & Bloom, 2007), even when those choices are blind (Egan, Bloom & Santos, 2010). Her work indicates that either the mechanisms that underlie cognitive dissonance reduction in adults may be simpler than currently believed, or that young children and capuchin monkeys may be cognitively and motivationally more complex than we now think. In work currently under review (available upon request), she has demonstrated that the self-concept appears to drive choice-induced preferences in children.
Other work on choices: Professor Egan Brad is currently investigating the development of regret in young children. In another line of work, she is looking at how blind choices operate across cultures.
Zero-sum thought: Zero-sum thought (the perception of situations as win-lose) underlies biases relevant to social perception, cooperation, economics and negotiation. Intriguingly, adults from collectivist cultures exhibit zero-sum thought to a lesser degree than adults from individualist cultures. To look at the development of cultural differences in zero-sum thought, Professor Egan Brad conducted a study on children from preschool to college in Singapore and the United States. She observed cross-cultural differences in the youngest children of my sample, indicating that cultural differences in zero-sum thought emerge not out of decades of interactions within a culture, but rather due to more pervasive cultural features. This work is available upon request. Current projects include the relationship of zero-sum thought to emotional suppression and the relationship between zero-sum thought and real-world generosity.
Egan, L.C., Bloom, P., & Santos, L.R. (2010). Choice-induced preferences in the absence of choice: Evidence from a blind two choice paradigm with young children and capuchin monkeys. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 204-207.
Louisa Egan Brad
Department of Psychology
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010