Joshua Maxwell Ackerman

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
LSA: Social Sciences
Assitant Professor
Short bio: 

Arizona State University, Ph.D. Social Psychology, 2007

Arizona State University, M.A. Social Psychology, 2003

Duke University, B.A. Psychology/Biological Anthropology, 1998

Research summary: 

My research explores the role that adaptive psychological mechanisms play in behavioral and decision-making contexts. Much of what we think about (or don’t think about), the decisions we make (or not), and the (dis) satisfaction we have with those decisions is driven by a fundamental set of evolved predispositions interacting with subtle features of our current environments. In approaching psychology from this perspective, my research has concentrated on interpersonal cognition — how and why people think, prefer, choose, and act with or because of each other. This work has led to projects investigating threat identification, romantic relationships, self-control and risky decisions, and nonconscious effects of touch sensations. Currently, I am interested in understanding how exposure to contagious disease cues and bodily factors such as immune system functioning interact to influence various forms of social behavior.

Recent publications: 

Maner, J. K.,& Ackerman, J. M. (in press).Sexually selective cognition. Current Opinion in Psychology.

Griskevicius, V., Redden, J. P., & Ackerman, J. M. (2014). The fundamental motives for why we buy. In S. Preston, M. Kringelbach, and B. Knutson (Eds), Interdisciplinary Science of Consumption. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Griskevicius, V., Haselton, M.G., &Ackerman, J. M.(2014).Evolution and Relationships. In Jeffry A. Simpson and John Dovidio (Eds.),APA Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology: Vol. 3. Interpersonal Relations Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Earp, B. D., Dill, B., Harris, J., Ackerman, J.M., & Bargh, J. A. (2013). No sign of quitting: Incidental exposure to no-smoking signs ironically boosts cigarette-approach tendencies in smokers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, 2158-2162. Media: “'Just say no' campaigns could have opposite effect,” The Telegraph.

Huang, J. Y., Ackerman, J. M., & Bargh, J. A. (2013). Superman to the rescue: Simulating physical invulnerability attenuates exclusion-related interpersonal biases. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 349-354.Media: “Pretending to have superpowers actually changes you,” Discover Blog