Research

Research


Art by Sydney Pink

Art by Sydney Pink

Emotional Alignment: Gender and the give and take of emotional expressions in the workplace
 

This paper examines how people express emotions in workplace communication and how gender dynamics influence linguistic alignment—the tendency for one conversation partner to match another's language choice—in emotion displays. Because linguistic similarity can arise both through the matching of similar individuals in conversations and through their choices to conform to one another's communication style, I employ a word-based hierarchical alignment model that distinguishes base rates of word usage from alignment in response to others' language use. I apply this model to a rich dataset of over 400,000 one-to-one email message threads exchanged over 6 years among 688 full-time employees at a mid-sized technology firm. Results indicate that: (a) base rates of expressing positive emotions are considerably higher than base rates of expressing negative emotions; however, people align to a greater extent to others' expressions of negative, rather than positive emotions; (b) men are more likely to express and align to negative emotions, whereas women are more likely to express and align to positive emotions; and (c) both men and women are more likely to align to the positive and negative emotions of men. These findings have important implications for our understanding of how gendered norms about emotion displays affect social relations in the workplace. 

* Job market paper


Map of Crime Events and Restaurants in Oakland, CA, 2013-2014

Map of Crime Events and Restaurants in Oakland, CA, 2013-2014

race, place, and crime: how violent crime events affect employment discrimination
 

This article examines how exposure to violent crime events affects employers’ decisions to hire black job applicants with and without a criminal record. Results of a quasi-experimental research design drawing on a correspondence study of 368 job applications submitted to 184 hiring establishments in Oakland, California and archival data of crime events indicate that callback rates were 11 percentage points lower for black job applicants than for white or Hispanic applicants and 12 percentage points lower for those with a criminal record relative to those without one. Recent exposure to nearby violent crimes further reduced employers’ likelihood of calling back black job applicants by 10 percentage points, regardless of whether or not they had a criminal record, but had no effect on the callback rates for white or Hispanic applicants.

Revise and resubmit at American Journal of Sociology
* Winner of Best Student Paper Award for the American Sociological Association Crime, Law, and Deviance Section


Art by Ben Shahn

Art by Ben Shahn

What is Cultural Fit? from cognition to behavior (and back)
(with amir goldberg and sameer b. srivastava)
 

How people fit into social groups is a core topic of investigation across multiple sociological subfields, including education, immigration, and organizations. In this chapter, we synthesize findings from these literatures to develop an overarching framework for conceptualizing and measuring the level of cultural fit and the dynamics of enculturation between individuals and social groups. We distinguish between the cognitive and behavioral dimensions of fitting in, which previous work has tended to either examine in isolation or to conflate. Reviewing the literature through this lens enables us to identify the strengths and limitations of unitary—that is, primarily cognitive or primarily behavioral—approaches to studying cultural fit. In contrast, we develop a theoretical framework that integrates the two perspectives and highlights the value of considering their interplay over time. We then identify promising theoretical pathways that can link the two dimensions of cultural fit. We conclude by discussing the implications of pursuing these conceptual routes for research methods and provide some illustrative examples of such work.

Forthcoming in Wayne H. Brekhus and Gabe Ignatow (Editors), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Sociology.


sean-brown-2380.jpg

Seeing Social Structure: Assessing the Accuracy of Interpersonal Judgments about Social Networks
(with sameer b. srivastava AND DANA R. CARNEY)
 

Even in brief or routine interactions, people constantly make judgments about others’ social worlds and their positions in social structure. These inferences matter in contexts as diverse as hiring, venture capital funding, and courtship encounters. Yet it remains unclear whether people are accurate in assessing the social networks in which others are embedded and, if so, which behavioral cues perceivers use to form these impressions. Drawing on the “thin-slicing” paradigm in social psychology and data on over 4,276 judgments made by 586 perceivers about 23 strangers, we find that people can accurately infer the size and composition of others’ networks. They are not, however, accurate in “seeing” the structure of relationships surrounding an individual.

Under review