Dr. Mark Landau
Mark J. Landau is an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas. He received his doctorate from the University of Arizona in 2007. Dr. Landau has published many articles and chapters on metaphor’s influence on social cognition and behavior as well as the role of existential motives in diverse aspects of social behavior. He has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health
CV: Download (Updated Sep., 2017)
Graduate Research Assistant
My research is currently focused on understanding human motivation through the lens of existential psychology, with a particular interest in how concerns about mortality influence self-regulation. Alongside this work, I am studying the role of conceptual metaphors within language, with an emphasis on how metaphors provide content and structure to our understanding of abstract concepts and thus influence how we perceive the world. Additionally, I am interested in how different strategies of evaluative organization within the self-concept can serve as temporary adaptive solutions to situations of high stress and limited mental resources.
CV: Download (Updated May, 2015)
Graduate Research Assistant
I study how and why people take interest in a goal and persist in the face of difficulty. I’m especially interested in how identity and culture play a role in developing personal relevance for a topic. These ideas can lead to intervention methods to help, for example, first-generation college students get interested in STEM careers; motivating a sub-population of people to get health screenings; helping individuals (with low perceived competence in STEM) be successful in their STEM-related goals by motivating them to take advantage of resources available to help them. Additionally, I use conceptual metaphor theory, expectancy-value model, and identity based motivation as conceptual lenses and tools for my work.
I’m interested in our most abiding existential concerns, particularly death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness, and how our encounter with these realities influences the way we think, feel, communicate, and ultimately live our lives. In my current studies through University of Kent, I’m combining terror management theory and conceptual metaphor theory to study the effects of death personification on personal hope. I’m also investigating the potential role of embodied metaphor as a presymbolic defense in terror management. This reflects my general interest in how individuals and cultural groups employ metaphors to grapple with existential concerns.
Ariel is interested in issues of social power, group identity, and psychological consequences of subtle forms of discrimination. After graduating from California State University, she earned her Master’s degree in Social Psychology with Mark. Her current research examines how experiences of contemporary subtle forms of discrimination influence the self-concept, and vice versa.
Dr. Zach Rothschild
Zach graduated in 2013 and has taken a tenure-track position at Bowdoin College. He utilizes perspectives on existential psychology and social cognition to study people’s efforts to maintain meaningful conceptions of the world and a confident sense of personal value.
Dr. Daniel Sullivan
Daniel graduated in 2013 and has taken a tenure-track position at the University of Arizona. He applies his novel theoretical integration of existential psychology and cultural psychology to investigate how people make meaningful sense of suffering, among other important phenomena.
Dr. Lucas Keefer
Lucas is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. His research focuses on how people manage uncertainty about their social environment. In one line of work, he has shown that people manage uncertainty about their close relationships by seeking support from more predictable targets (e.g., material objects) or by adopting reductionist perceptions of others (e.g., objectification). In a related line of work, He has shown that people reduce uncertainty about abstract ideas by conceptualizing them metaphorically, and that this has practically important consequences for attitudes, problem solving, and decision making.