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Matthew J. Hertenstein

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Why Psychology?

I originally became interested in psychology for two reasons. First, I've always been fascinated by human behavior and thought. But, I realized that just because we observe these things every day doesn't mean we know anything about them. So, this brings me to the second reason I came to psychology: the scientific method. As Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance wrote, “The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn't misled you into thinking you know something you don’t actually know.” In essence, psychology allows us to learn something about ourselves and others by systematically and rigorously applying the scientific method to what makes us human.

My Research Interests

I conducts research with my students in three areas primarily:

i. Prediction 

This line of research focuses on how non-verbal cues predict life outcomes in our relationships and health.

ii. Touch

The goal of this line of research is to better understand how touch is used in communication in general, and the communication of emotion, specifically.

iii. Infant Emotion

This line of research focuses on how adults' emotional displays via the face, voice, and touch influence infants' understanding of the world.

Visit Dr. Hertenstein's Touch and Emotion Lab (TEL) website...