Amie M. Gordon
Center for Health and Community
University of California, San Francisco
I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Center for Health and Community (CHC) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) working with Wendy Berry Mendes. I received my Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2013 and my B.A. in Psychology from UCLA in 2006.
As a social-personality psychologist, I explore both the contextual and dispositional factors that influence the maintenance of close relationships. In particular, I seek to understand the unique roles that prosocial emotions, cognitions, and behaviors (e.g., gratitude, perspective-taking, responsiveness to a partner's needs) play in promoting healthy relationships. I also explore the psychological, physiological, and biological factors that undermine such prosociality. In other words, why aren't we nicer to our close others and what can we do about it?
In my current postdoctoral position, I am conducting research examining the effects of a basic biological process, sleep, on romantic relationships as part of a funding initiative through the Greater Good Science Center. I want to understand what happens in our relationships when we don't get enough sleep. Are we more selfish and less prosocial? Are we less able to take our partner's perspective? And if so, what is it about lack of sleep that leads to more selfish behaviors? To answer this question, I am taking a neurobiological approach, examining deficits in executive functioning and dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system.
I examine close relationships through a dyadic lens: In all of my work, I examine the ways in which partners knowingly and unknowingly influence each other. For example, one question I am tackling in my current work is how an individual's sleep influences the thoughts, feelings and actions of their romantic partner. If you don't sleep well one night, does your partner suffer? In prior work, I've found that people are less empathically accurate if either they or their partner slept poorly the prior night.
I taking a multi-method approach in all of my research projects. I combine naturalistic, daily experience studies with experimental methods. I use observational methods to capture behaviors during dyadic interactions and psychophysiological methods to assess bodily responses to psychological experiences. I have expertise in the statistical skills necessary to analyze these data, including multilevel, structural equation and growth-curve modeling and meta-analysis.