Social Psychology Network

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William Revelle

William Revelle

  • SPN Mentor

The study of personality is the last refuge of the generalist in psychology. As such, my interests in personality theory include the biological basis of personality and motivation, psychometric theory, the structure of daily mood, and models of attention and memory.

Recent work in the Personality, Motivation, and Cognition Laboratory has focused on the interactive effects of personality (e.g., impulsivity, trait anxiety) and situational determinants of motivation (e.g., time-of-day, caffeine, films, monetary incentives, exercise) as they combine to influence motivational states (energetic and tense arousal), and how these motivational states in turn affect cognitive processes (sustained attention, working-memory capacity, long-term memory) to determine cognitive performance. The long term goal is to develop a better understanding of how individual differences interact with situational moderators to affect efficient information processing.

Additional work in personality theory has focused on the personality characteristics associated with differential sensitivities to cues for reward and punishment. Current work is being done on the personality and situational determinants of affective state and dimensional analyses of affect.

Another continuing project is refining Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment (SAPA) methodology. SAPA takes advantage of the web to administer small subsets of personality and ability items to different participants responding over the web. By appropriate design considerations, it is possible to synthetically combine these small subsets into very large correlation matrices suitable for psychometric analysis. This is an ongoing project that has collected data from somewhat more than 120,000 participants on about 400 different items. Examples of this work include an analysis of the structure of trust as well as the relationship between personality and cognition.

I also manage the Personality Project, an attempt to bring information about current personality theory and research to the readers of the World Wide Web. Suggestions for additions to this project are very welcome.

Primary Interests:

  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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William Revelle
Department of Psychology
Northwestern University
2029 Sheridan Road
Evanston, Illinois 60208
United States

  • Work: (847) 491-7700
  • Home: (847) 328-5330

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