• What i do

    I am an interdisciplinary-minded social psychologist. I draw on theoretical perspectives from social psychology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and animal behavior to address wide-ranging topics in social cognition---notably friendship, female sociality, and stereotyping.

     

    My primary research explores friendship and rivalry---especially among women. In particular, my work (1) identifies the distinct opportunities and challenges of female sociality and (2) examines the ways that girls' and women's social perception, cognition, and behavior help them successfully navigate the interpersonal la. ​Some of the questions that I investigate in my research are:

    • What are friendships "for"?
    • What cues do women use to decide whether another woman is a prospective friend or rival?
    • Might women possess particular tools for defending themselves against same-sex aggression?
    • How do we maintain their valued friendships?
    • What cues drive stereotyping and prejudice--and what does this for counteracting discrimination?

    My research also applies a functional approach to revolutionize our understanding of foundational topics in social psychology (e.g., trust, power, emotional expressivity). 

    CONTACT INFORMATION

    Email: jaimie.krems@okstate.edu

    Office: #414, 116 North Murray Hall

    Lab website: http://KremsLab.strikingly.com/

  • Click on the icon to learn more about the lab, the graduate students and undergraduate RAs who make it great, and the work we're doing!

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    Current Research topics

    Making new friends, keeping the old

    In work published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, I explore one factor influencing women’s intentions to befriend or avoid another woman: that other woman’s fertility.

     

    Both sexes experience "friendship jealousy." Jealousy gets a bad rap. I explore the cognitive architecture of this emotion, showing how it might help us maintain our valued friendships.

    Women's defenses against aggression

    Where there are unique recurrent threats, there may be corresponding unique defenses. My work identifies aspects of aggression particular to women's sociality, and asks what perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral tools women possess to counter that aggression.

     

    In work published in Psychological Science, I examined one way women detect and mitigate threats posed by same-sex aggression. Ongoing work explores women's defenses against social exclusion, which girls and women disproportionately face).

    Fat stigma

    Existing work on fat stigma assumes that all fat is the same and all fat is 'bad'. My research challenges these assumptions, and examines how body fat deposition location (i.e., body shape) affects perceptions of the overweight/obese, including stigma.

     

    Ongoing work investigates how social perceivers use people's body fat depositions as a cue for making inferences about them, and also how people's own body fat depositions affect them (e.g., body image, dieting).

    How do we chose--and keep--our valued friends?

    Similarity, proximity, familiarity---these are typical features of people's friends have. But what other features might we prize, and might these features be specific to friend choice (versus, say, choice of trading partners, or possible mates)?

     

    In ongoing collaborative work, I am exploring how people choose their friends, what features they prefer their friends to have, and why even these ideal friendships might end.

     

  • Academic affiliations

    Oklahoma State University

    Assistant Professor of Psychology (beginning Fall 2018)

    Arizona State University

    Social Psychology, Ph.D (2018)

    Advisors: Steven Neuberg & Douglas Kenrick

     

    University of Oxford

    Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, M.Sc. (2012)

    Advisors: Robin Dunbar & Oliver Curry

    University of Pennsylvania

    MLA (2009)

    Worked in Robert Kurzban's Penn Evolutionary Experimental Psychology Lab

    Bryn Mawr College

    Archaeology, AB (2006)

    Magna cum laude

    Minors: Psychology, Classics, Art History,

  • Selected publications

    Or click here to view my full CV.

    Women selectively guard their (desirable) mates from ovulating women

    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

    For women, forming close, cooperative relationships with other women at once poses important opportunities and possible threats—including to mate retention. To maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of same-sex social relationships, I proposed that women’s mate guarding is functionally flexible and that women are sensitive to both interpersonal and contextual cues indicating whether other women might be likely and effective mate poachers. Here, I assessed one such cue: other women’s fertility.

     

    Read the paper here.

    Is she angry? (Sexually desirable) Women “see” anger on female faces

    Psychological Science

    Intrasexual conflict may pose unique challenges for women. Whereas men’s aggression tends to be physical and direct, women’s tends to be relational and indirect, particularly when directed toward other women. Moreover, women’s expressions of anger are often suppressed, perhaps particularly when other women are the targets. Thus, women may face difficulty anticipating anger and anger-based aggression from other women. How might women manage this challenge? The functional projection of emotion may facilitate useful behavior; for instance, “seeing” anger on people believed to pose threats to physical safety may help perceivers preempt or avoid physical harm.

     

    Read the paper here.

    Religious targets are trusted because they are viewed as slow life-history strategists

    Psychological Science

    Religious people are more trusted than nonreligious people. Although most theorists attribute these perceptions to the beliefs of religious targets, religious individuals also differ in behavioral ways that might cue trust. We examined whether perceivers might trust religious targets more because they heuristically associate religion with slow life-history strategies. In three experiments, we found that religious targets are viewed as slow life-history strategists, and that these findings are not the result of a universally positive halo effect; that the effect of target religion on trust is significantly mediated by the target’s life-history traits (i.e., perceived reproductive strategy); and that, when perceivers have direct information about a target’s reproductive strategy, their ratings of trust are driven primarily by his or her reproductive strategy, rather than religion. These effects operate over and above targets’ belief in moralizing gods, and offer a novel theoretical perspective on religion and trust.

     

    Read the paper here.

    Individual perceptions of self-actualization: What functional motives are linked to fulfilling one's full potential?

    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

    Maslow’s self-actualization remains a popular notion in academic research as well as popular culture. The notion that life’s highest calling is fulfilling one’s own unique potential has been widely appealing. But what do people believe they are doing when they are pursuing the realization of their unique potentials? Here, we examine lay perceptions of self-actualization. Self-actualizing, like any drive, is unlikely to operate without regard to biological and social costs and benefits. Here, I examine which functional outcomes (e.g., gaining status, making friends, finding mates, caring for kin) people perceive as central to their self-actualizing.

     

    Read the paper here.

    Something to talk about: Are conversation sizes constrained by mental modeling abilities?

    Evolution and Human Behavior

    Conversations are ubiquitous and central elements of daily life. Yet a fundamental feature of conversation remains a mystery: It is genuinely difficult to maintain an everyday conversation with more than four speakers. Why? I introduce a “mentalizing explanation” for the conversation size constraint, which suggests that humans have a natural limit on their ability to model the minds of others, and that this limit, in turn, shapes the sizes of everyday conversations.

     

    Read the paper here.

    View my CV here to see a full list of my publications, conference presentations, teaching, and more.