Jeremy Jamieson, Ph.D. - Harvard University
I grew up in the Boston, MA area, and received my B.A. in psychology from Colby College and my Ph.D. in social psychology from Northeastern University. Currently I am a postdoctoral fellow in the psychology department at Harvard University, and have been fortunate to be involved with two tight-knit research labs: the Health and Psychophysiology Laboratory and the Laboratory for Clinicial and Developmental Research, under the direction of Professors Wendy Berry Mendes and Matthew Nock, respectively. In the Fall of 2012 I will be joining the faculty at the University of Rochester as an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology.
Being a native Bostonian, I am an avid sports fan and enjoy watching and discussing sports with friends. I also take pleasure in running along and kayaking in the Charles River with my wife, as well as playing pickup hockey and basketball in the nearby playgrounds.
To better understand how stress impacts our lives my research examines the biological and psychological forces that that impact decisions, emotions, and performance. I am especially interested in using physiological indices of bodily and mental states to delve into the mechanisms underlying motivation and attention. My process-oriented research focus has been guided by my interests in psychophysiology, judgment and decision making, and social cognition. To date, my work has followed three primary lines of inquiry: 1.) Examining how physiological responses to social stress impact decision making, 2.) Applying emotion reappraisal techniques to improve physiological functioning and affective outcomes, and 3.) Identifying low-level motivational mechanisms underlying the effects of social threats on performance. In my research I use a multi-method approach that includes autonomic and neuroendocrine physiological measures, eye tracking and attention allocation, and a host of behavioral and self-report measures. I also consider the full scope of human development to study the impact of stress across the lifespan. In the following, I highlight some past and current projects of mine.
Stress is ubiquitous to day-to-day life, and successfully coping with acute stressors is important for realizing our goals. Using Blascovich and colleagues’ Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat as a framework, I strive to understand the relationship between stress, physiological responses, and risk decisions throughout the lifespan. For example, in a recently completed study both adults and adolescents assigned to receive negative evaluation exhibited a physiological threat response, as indexed by increased cortisol, vasoconstriction, and decreased cardiac efficiency. However, whereas adults were more cautious when threatened, adolescents exhibited heightened reward sensitivity and increased risk behavior under threat. This is some of the first research to show that physiological threat responses do not only promote withdrawal behaviors such as risk aversion, but rather the impact of threat on risk taking varies as a function of development. A related, ongoing project of mine uses functional and structural MRI to test whether shortsighted economic decisions (favoring smaller, immediate rewards) result from a failure to engage brain regions underlying self-referential thought when thinking about the future self. Individuals less able to project the self in the future are hypothesized to be more sensitive to immediate rewards, leading to riskier decisions.
Another way the social environment shapes decision making is through the induction of affective states. Research of mine in this area demonstrates that manipulating individuals' appraisals of their internal reactions to stress can go a long ways towards improving physiological and cognitive outcomes. To illustrate, in one study (Jamieson, Mendes, Blackstock, & Schmader, 2010) participants preparing to take the GRE reported to the laboratory for a practice GRE study. Participants instructed to reappraise their stress arousal as functional and adaptive exhibited an increase in salivary alpha amylase – a proxy for catecholamines – and outperformed controls on the practice test. Participants then returned to the lab 1-3 months later and provided their score reports from their actual GRE. Again, reappraisal participants scored higher than controls on their actual tests. In a related study I am testing whether reappraisal can benefit socially anxious individuals. Preliminary results indicate that instructing anxious individuals to reappraise their arousal improves cardiovascular responses to social evaluation and decreases attentional bias for emotionally-negative information.
During my graduate training, I explored motivational mechanisms underlying the effects of social threats on performance. For example, one series of studies (Jamieson, Harkins, & Williams, 2010) examined the impact of ostracism on individuals' subsequent motivation to re-establish social connections. After Cyberball-induced ostracism (see link below), participants completed a test of cognitive ability (an antisaccade task). Eye-tracking and performance data indicated that in the absence of evaluation (i.e. when performance was private), ostracized participants suffered from threatened fundamental needs and were not motivated to do well on the task. However, ostracized participants were motived to perform well when the other Cyberball “players” could evaluate their performance. Furthermore, the effect of ostracism on performance was mediated by threats to belonging needs, suggesting that ostracized participants were motivated to elevate their inclusionary status by performing well when the other players could evaluate them.
In sum, I am interested in answering questions about how the social environment and bodily responses interact to shape decisions, behaviors, and health, and my research will continue to examine questions at the intersection of psychological and biological systems.
I will be accepting graduate students for the Fall 2012 semester. If you are a prospective student interested in joining our lab, please contact me at email@example.com.
Jamieson, J.P., Nock, M.K., & Mendes, W.B. (in press). Mind over matter: Reappraising arousal improves cardiovascular and cognitive responses to stress. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. [Download]
Jamieson, J.P., & Harkins, S.G. (in press). Distinguishing between the effects of stereotype priming and stereotype threat on performance. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. [Download]
Jamieson, J.P. & Harkins, S.G. (2011). The intervening task method: Implications for measuring mediation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,37, 652-661. [Download]
Mendes, W.B. & Jamieson, J.P. (2011). Embodiment of stereotype threat: Physiological underpinnings of performance decrements. In: M. Inzlicht & T. Schmader (Eds). Stereotype threat: Theory, process, and application. New York: Oxford.
Jamieson, J.P. (2010). The home field advantage in athletics: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 119-148. [Download]
Jamieson, J.P., Harkins, S.G., & Williams, K.D. (2010). Need threat can motivate performance after ostracism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 690 - 702. [Download]
Jeremy Jamieson, Ph.D.