Lara Kammrath

kammralk@wfu.edu
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Greene Hall 470

My research focuses on attitudes and behavior in close relationships, specifically with regard to self regulation and personality.

One of my lines of research examines the situational, personal, and relational predictors of loving, supportive behavior toward others. What motivates and enables people to do loving behaviors in their close relationships? What is the role of attitudes (e.g. love, commitment, satisfaction, intimacy) versus personality traits (e.g. conscientiousness, agreeableness)? In this research we have identified conditions that impact whether loving attitudes or personality traits will be better predictors of positive relationship behaviors.  For example, if the behavior can be done immediately, loving feelings are most important, but if the behavior must be sustained over time, personality factors related to self control are more influential.

  • Peetz, J. & Kammrath, L.K. (2011). Only because I love you: Why people make and why they break promises in romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 887-904.
  • Kammrath, L.K., & Peetz, J. (2011). The limits of love: Predicting immediate versus sustained caring behaviors in close relationships. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 411-417.

In a second line of research, I investigate the personal and interpersonal dynamics of “high social regulators,” that is, individuals who habitually regulate their behavior to satisfy the wants and needs of others. We and others have found that agreeableness is a personality trait that is routinely correlated with positive and effortful social behavior.  Nevertheless, we suggest that people who are high in agreeableness have to use effort maintain their niceness.  Our studies show, for example, that agreeable people are initially quite disapproving of relationally destructive and immoral behavior, and that it takes self-regulation for them to come to a point of forgiveness and empathy.

  • Kammrath, L.K., & Scholer, A.A. (2011). The Pollyanna myth: How highly agreeable people judge positive and negative relational acts.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1172 – 1184.
  • Close Relationships
  • Self Regulation & Motivation
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Statistics