Gary L. Brase, Ph.D.
Office: BH 448
Dr. Brase's research is concerned with evolutionary approaches to understanding the nature of human rationality. His research, in terms of traditional areas within psychology, is at the intersection of cognitive psychology (reasoning, judgments and decision-making) and social psychology (interpersonal relations, social perception, and persuasion). Some of the specific topics of his research are:
- Statistical judgments under uncertainty:
Presenting numerical information in different ways (e.g., as frequencies or as single-event probabilities) changes how people use that information and even how that information is perceived. Dr. Brase is interested both in the competence issues related to this phenomenon (i.e., how different presentations of statistical information can influence performance and apparent rationality) as well as applied issues (e.g., how subjective perceptions of numbers in certain formats as either “large” or “small” can influence subsequent evaluations and persuasiveness).
- Domain-specific reasoning:
Formal logic says that reasoning should be based only on the structure, or syntax, of statements. When people actually reason about meaningful statements, however, they use the content of that information to make conclusions that formal logic does not allow. Some of Dr. Brase’s research seeks to illuminate what aspects of particular contents are keys to understanding how people reason about those contents. For example, he has previously studied the effects of social group information (group membership and group markers) on inferences made across different reasoning tasks.
- Social decision making:
Particular categories of interpersonal relationships have specific and important implications for the actors, both from an immediate standpoint and as evolutionarily recurrent situations. Intersexual relationships, for example, have important dimensions that reflect both the present situations in which men and women find themselves and the (sometimes discordant) evolved predispositions of both sexes. Dr. Brase’s work, with a number of collaborators, has studied the nature of sex differences in reasoning and decision-making within the context of various social situations such as perceptions of sexual harassment, self-esteem, perceptions of physicians, and evaluations of physical attractiveness.
Recent Representative Publications
- Brase, G.L. & Brase, S.L. (2012). Emotional regulation of fertility decision making: What is the nature and structure of “baby fever”? Emotion, 12, 1141-1154.
- Daugherty, J.R. & Brase, G.L. (2010). Taking Time to be Healthy: Predicting Health Behaviors with Delay Discounting and Time Perspective. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 202–207.
- Brase, G.L. (2009). Pictorial representations and numerical representations in Bayesian reasoning.Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23, 369-381.
- Brase, G.L. (2008). Frequency interpretation of ambiguous statistical information facilitates Bayesian reasoning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 284-289.
- Brase, G.L., Fiddick, L., & Harries, C. (2006). Participant recruitment methods and statistical reasoning performance. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59, 965–976.
- Brase, G.L. (2006). Cues of parental investment as a factor in attractiveness. Evolution and Human Behavior, 27, 145-157.
- Brase, G.L. & Guy, E.C. (2004). The Demographics of Mate Value and Self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 471-484.
Dr. Brase’s philosophy for working with undergraduate students is to begin by immersing students in ongoing projects so that they become familiar with the procedures and ideas involved in the lab. Students who find that they enjoy and excel at research can then move on to research projects on topics related to their own interests (if they are not already doing so).
Undergraduate students who are interested in working on research topics such as those described above can apply to be a research assistant in Dr. Brase’s lab. Undergraduate research assistants are involved across the range of research activities, from reading and discussing relevant articles, to designing, preparing, and carrying out experiments, to analyzing the data, writing up the results, and presenting it at a conference or submitting it for publication. Dr.Brase can be contacted by email (email@example.com) or phone (785-532-0609) for more information about opportunities in his lab.
Dr. Brase received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He and his wife Sandra have two children, Alexander and Emma. He enjoys cooking and traveling.