Dr. Thomas Holtgraves

Dr. Thomas Holtgraves

<b>Department: </b>Psychological Science<br><b>Research Area: </b>My research investigates some of the social, cognitive, and neural processes involved in (mis)communication in digital contexts.<br>

Department: Psychological Science

Research Focus: This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, integrates insights from social psychology, linguistics, and communication to develop and test a model of communicative misunderstandings in the context of digital communication (i.e., texts, email, etc.). A general framework is being developed in which miscommunication is defined as an instance of a sender's communicative intent not being correctly recognized by the recipient. The research considers how factors such as culture, individual differences, and emoji influence message characteristics and communicative success. More information regarding this project can be found at my lab page. Successful communication is critical to almost all human interactions. With the rapid growth of digital communication, it is increasingly important to understand how, why, and where communication goes wrong.

Potential Student Project(s): Multiple projects are currently underway and new ones are being developed, all of which involve, in some way, an exploration of how misunderstanding occurs. Most projects involve asking people to create messages designed to convey a particular meaning, and then having other people attempt to interpret those messages. Students will assist in developing, conducting, and analyzing the results for these projects, as well as having the opportunity to initiate their own, related, research projects.

Attributes/skills/background sought in undergraduate: Desired applicant attributes include the following:

  • Interest in the empirical study of communication processes
  • Some familiarity with research methods
  • Strong work ethic and attention to detail
  • Works well independently and as part of a team

Mentoring Plan: You will work with me and other students to develop, conduct, analyze, and write-up communication experiments. You will be required to attend weekly lab meetings and coordinate with others to accomplish project goals. Hourly commitment is negotiable, but over the course of a semester will average approximately 5 hours per week. This opportunity is available f