Studies of Identity
As a personality
psychologist I work in the "study of lives" tradition
pioneered by Henry Murray, Robert White, and Erik Erikson, which
entails investigating single lives in depth. In my research, I
conduct open-ended interviews to elict life-stories, beliefs,
and values, and then draw on a variety of narrative analysis methods
-- especially those associated with Levi-Strauss, Ricoeur, and
Bakhtin -- to study how people construct and shift among multiple
Press 1991 more
and Identity: Life-Narrative Studies in Morocco Oxford
U. Press 2007 more
Psychology: Morocco and the Middle East
I am interested in
how culture shapes development across the life-span, and especially
the development of identity in early adulthood. I lived and did
field work in Morocco for five years, conducting an ethnography
of the Berber-speaking Imeghrane of the High Atlas - Dades Valley
region, and then using life-history interviews to study identity
development among educated young adults in villages and small
towns around Ouarzazate (see Publications).
East: A Cultural Psychology
U. Press 2005 more
Social Values of "Millennial" Young Adults
My students and I have just completed a study of 60 18 to 24 year old young adults that investigated their religious, social, and moral values using two to four hour open-ended "study of lives" interviews. We also conducted 16 focus groups to investigate their views of the new digital media -- smart phones, social networking, the internet, etc. -- that they have grown up using.
The study aimed both to describe how this geneation is thinking about the new world in whcih they are becoming adults, and to investigate the psychological underpinnings of belief systems -- specifically to evaluate and extend the "componential" theories proposed by Sylvan Tomkins, Richard Shweder, and Jonathan Haidt. I am curently completing a book presenting findings fromt he study.
and Music Cognition
Though not a musician,
I am interested in exploring the ways in which life-narratives
may have organizational structures similar to those of tonal music.
In particular, I believe that people may configure "key"
symbols, images, and metaphors into scale-like relations, which
then provide an orchestration of their emotional lives.