Papers Under Review & Working Papers

Manuscripts available upon request

Routines Make People Unexpectedly Nostalgic

What makes people nostalgic for the past, and can they correctly anticipate which experiences will inspire nostalgia? Research suggests that momentous events, like graduations, produce nostalgic memories, but these experiences are relatively rare. This paper examines whether routine experiences—those repeated reliably across time—also inspire nostalgia and whether people correctly anticipate the relationship between routines and nostalgia. Seven studies show that people reflecting on past routine experiences felt more nostalgic than others expected to feel towards current routines in the future. Routines appear to inspire nostalgia because they bring to mind the periods of life during which they occurred, and transport people back to this time. However, when anticipating future nostalgia, people fail to appreciate how connected their routines are to the periods surrounding them. Consequently, they fail to realize just how much their routine memories will transport them back to important times in their lives, leading them to underestimate nostalgia for these experiences.  

Revising for invited resubmission at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

On Paying-it-Forward: How Norms and Misperceptions Break Chains of Giving

For consumers, it is enjoyable to receive kindness and enjoyable to give kindness. In theory, the mutual benefits of giving and receiving should lead to long and stable chains of kindness. Nevertheless, such chains of giving are rare. Our investigation proceeds in two sections, one focused on building chains of giving in a lab-based paradigm and one focused on building chains of giving in the field. In the lab, we developed a novel paradigm to create and observe sustainable chains of giving across multiple generations of givers (N = 3,725). In the field, however, we observed chains of giving that seldom lasted more than a single link. We collaborated with firms that build platforms to observe the pay-it-forward chains and measure the perceived consequences of kindness. Our lab-based paradigm echoed the optimism of consumer research in demonstrating that starting a chain of kindness can lead to its growth. However, in the three field studies (N = 881), those chains were considerably fragile. We speculate as to which factors need to be present for chains of giving to last. We consider the ingredients—both common and rare—that might be necessary to give rise to chains of giving in the wild.

Personal Growth is More Enjoyable than Consumers Anticipate 

Can consumers derive both immediate enjoyment and a lasting sense of meaning from personal growth, and do they recognize that growth can be enjoyable as well as meaningful? In eight studies, we demonstrated that growth experiences provided more meaning than, and just as much joy as, purely fun experiences. Despite this pairing of benefits, consumers expect growth-experiences to be relatively unenjoyable and, consequently, often avoid them. We show that this bias is driven by a failure to realize how easily and readily they can become immersed in growth experiences. These forecasting errors create a paradox: because consumers often make choices based on expected outcomes, they may forego growth experiences despite their considerable contribution to well-being.

Ongoing Projects

“Delayed Donations: People Donate More in the Future but Prefer the Present” with Minah Jung and Joachim Vosgerau.


“How Viewing Photos of an Experiences Can Harm Expectations of that Experiences,” with Alixandra Barasch.

"Second Screens and the Television Viewing Experience," with Alixandra Barasch.