Current Projects

Current Projects Details

Friends play a vital role in preventing loneliness and boosting happiness and life satisfaction. Yet, people do not seem to prioritize their friendships and are spending less time in face-to-face communication. The American Friendship Project is the first nationally-representative, multi-year, longitudinal study on friendship. This project is in association with Dr. Natalie Pennington (Colorado State University) and Dr. Amanda Holmstrom (Michigan State University).

The costs and benefits of mobile devices are two sides of a double-edged sword. When others are always accessible us - and us to them - we become tethered to our devices. How do we manage the feelings of being overwhelmed and obligated to respond? Do we feel anxious about how others evaluate our online selves, and do we become more aware of being excluded because of social media? How can we use mobile media to promote relational connection and keep in touch? Are certain practices of mobile device use healthy for everyone? This project is in collaboration with the Berkman Klein Center at the Harvard School of Law.

This theory offers a way to understand the social ecology of our everyday communication. It can be used to answer questions such as, what role does social contact and conversation play in our daily and global well-being? How do we find the right balance between being with others and being alone?  How does conversation influence how we feel about our relationship partners and our sense of connectedness to one another? Can conversation change the quality of our days?

Many of these projects are in collaboration with Dr. Andy Merolla at the University of California, Santa Barbara.