Lockwood Lab

Penelope Lockwood

My research focuses on individuals' responses to social comparisons, comparisons to better-off and worse-off others. In particular, I have focused on the ways in which people can be motivated by positive role models, individuals who have achieved stellar success, and negative role models, individuals who have experienced failure in some domain. For example, one might be motivated to exercise more in order to become like a healthy, fit individual, or to avoid becoming like an unhealthy, out-of-shape individual. In a series of studies, I have assessed the relative effectiveness of positive and negative role models (e.g., Lockwood & Kunda, 1997; Lockwood & Kunda, 1999; Lockwood, Jordan, & Kunda, 2002; Lockwood, 2002; Lockwood, Sadler, Fyman & Tuck, 2004; Lockwood, Wong, McShane, & Dolderman, 2005, Lockwood, Marshall, & Sadler, 2005; Lockwood, Chasteen, & Wong, 2005; Lockwood, 2006; Shaughnessy, Fortune, & Lockwood, under review).

In a second line of research, I have been examining social comparisons in the context of romantic relationships (e.g., Lockwood, Dolderman, Sadler, & Gerchak, 2004; Pinkus, Lockwood, Schimmack, & Fournier, 2008; Pinkus & Lockwood, 2007). When one's spouse outperforms one in a self-relevant domain, one may be threatened by one's inferiority. One may also, however, feel happy for the spouse, and enjoy the benefits of the spouse's achievements. Because individuals are especially likely to empathize with and share the fate of their partner, they are more likely to be happier when their partner is successful. In ongoing studies, I am examining comparisons across relationships, and the extent to which dating and married individuals are motivated or demoralized by the example of a very successful or unsuccessful couple.

In a third line of research, in collaboration with Dan Dolderman and Alison Chasteen, I have been examining the extent to which individuals are likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviours.


Dr. Lockwood has also taught the following courses:

PSY 220 - Introduction to Social Psychology
PSY 309 - Research Specialization: Practicum
PSY 326 - Social Cognition
PSY 329 - Social Psychology Laboratory
PSY 420 - Social Psychology Seminar