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Publications in VIVO

Pedersen, Eric John

Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • How do people decide whom to help, whom to harm, whom to befriend, and whom to avoid? In our research in the Evolution and Social Cognition Lab, we try to shed light on these perennial social-psychological topics by integrating principles from cognitive and evolutionary psychology. To do so, we use a theoretical approach grounded in considering how psychological mechanisms process inputs from the environment to adaptively regulate social emotions and behavior. Some of our main research interests include how the mind regulates punishment and anger, how gratitude and forgiveness function to build and maintain relationships, and how individual and cultural differences in cooperation arise. Additional interests include decision-making and self-control, forgiveness, empathy, and assessing the validity of various experimental methods.


  • evolutionary psychology, judgement and decision making, social cognition, emotions


selected publications


courses taught

  • PSYC 2606 - Social Psychology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2023
    Covers general psychological principles underlying social behavior. Analyzes major social psychological theories, methods, and topics, including attitudes, conformity, aggression, attraction, social perception, helping behavior, and group relations.
  • PSYC 4011 - Senior Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023
    Critically reviews some aspect of psychological literature, scholarly analysis of a major psychological issue, and/or empirical research project. See the psychology honors director for further information.
  • PSYC 5541 - Special Topics in Psychology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2022
    Studies and analyzes special interest topics from the broad and diversified field of psychology. Particular section content is determined by instructor. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours, provided the topics vary.
  • PSYC 5606 - Proseminar: Social-Personality Psychology
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2023
    Provides a thorough introduction to methods and theories in social psychology concerned with topics such as the self, social cognition, judgment and decision making, attitude formation and change, small group processes, inter-group relations, health and social psychology, and others. May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours. Instructor consent required.
  • PSYC 5741 - General Statistics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
    Surveys probability and statistics in psychology. Instructor consent required.
  • PSYC 5751 - General Statistics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023
    Continuation of PSYC 5741. Instructor consent required.
  • PSYC 5771 - Bayesian Data Analysis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    This course is a practical introduction to using Bayesian methods to analyze data in R. After we develop our general Bayesian approach, with an emphasis on simulation rather than calculus, we will focus on applications from regression basics to advanced multilevel models. Students outside of the department may contact the instructor for permission to enroll.


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