Social Psychology Network

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Leaf Van Boven

Leaf Van Boven

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My research examines the nexus of emotion, judgment, and decision making. What does everyday social life feel like? How do people mentally represent their own and other people's subjective experiences? How do these mental representations shape personal decisions and social behavior? My research seeks to answer such questions, with the broad aim of improving people's everyday lives.

In recent years, I have pursued answers to these questions in three specific areas. First, I examine how emotions can profoundly influence judgments and decisions, and how basic processes of attention and memory influence emotion. We have been particularly interested in people's perception of emotional intensity across psychological distances -- between the self versus other people, and between the immediate present versus personal pasts and futures -- , and the implications of such perceptions for decision making.

Second, I examine people's intuitive theories about social psychological processes in other people. That is, I am interested in “folk psychology,” or how people perceive their own and others’ psychological processes and states.

Finally, I have become increasingly interested in how basic social psychological processes of emotion, judgment, and decision making affect behavior in political contexts. For example, my colleagues and I have studied people's perception of political polarization in the United States -- the accuracy of perceived polarization, how perceptions of polarization are grounded in egocentric social judgment, and how polarization is often an emergent property of social relations within and between groups.

Primary Interests:

  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Person Perception
  • Political Psychology
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

  • Kane, J., Van Boven, L., & McGraw, A. P. (2012). Prototypical prospection: Future events are more prototypically represented and simulated than past events. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 354–362.
  • Van Boven, L., Judd, C., & Sherman, D. (2012). Perceiving political polarization: Social projection of attitude extremity and processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 84–100.
  • White, K., & Van Boven, L. (2012). Immediacy bias in social emotional comparisons. Emotion, 12, 737–747.
  • Van Boven, L., & Robinson, M. (2012). Boys don’t cry: Stereotype accessibility and stereotypic sex differences in emotion memory. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 303–309.
  • Huber, M., Van Boven, L., McGraw, A. P., Johnson-Graham, L. (2011). Whom to help? Immediacy bias in judgments and decisions about humanitarian aid allocation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115, 283–293.
  • Van Boven, L., & Campbell, M., & Gilovich, T. (2010). Stigmatizing materialism: On stereotypes and impressions of materialistic versus experiential pursuits. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 551-563.
  • Andrade, E., & Van Boven, L. (2010). Feelings not foregone: When people underestimate the affective impact of inaction. Psychological Science, 21, 706-711.
  • Van Boven, L., Kane, J., McGraw, A. P., & Dale, J. (2010). Feeling close: Emotional intensity reduces perceived psychological distance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 872-885.
  • Oskarsson, A., Van Boven, L., Hastie, R., & McClelland, G. (2009). What’s next? Judging sequences of binary events. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 262-285.
  • Van Boven, L., White, K., & Huber, M. (2009). Immediacy bias in emotion perception: Current emotions seem more intense than previous emotions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 368-382.
  • Van Boven, L., & Ashworth. (2007). Looking forward, looking back: Anticipation is more evocative than retrospection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 289-300.
  • Savitsky, K. K., Van Boven, L., Epley, N., & Wight, W. (2005). The unpacking effect in allocations of responsibility for group tasks. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 447-“457.
  • Van Boven, L., Loewenstein, G., & Dunning, D. (2005). The illusion of courage in social predictions: Underestimating the impact of fear of embarrassment on other people. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 96, 130-141.
  • Epley, N., Keysar, B., Van Boven, L., & Gilovich, T. (2004). Perspective taking as egocentric anchoring and adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 327-339.
  • Van Boven, L., & Gilovich, T. (2003). To do or to have? That is the question. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 1193-“1202.
  • Van Boven, L., & Loewenstein, G. (2003). Projection of transient drive states. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1159-“1168.
  • Van Boven, L., White, K., Kamada, A., & Gilovich, T. (2003). Intuitions about situational correction in self and others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 249-“258.
  • Van Boven, L., Kruger, J., Savitsky, K., & Gilovich, T. (2000). When social worlds collide: Overconfidence in the multiple audience dilemma. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 620-629.
  • Van Boven, L., Dunning, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2000). Egocentric empathy gaps between owners and buyers: Misperceptions of the endowment effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 66-“76.
  • Van Boven, L., Kamada, A., & Gilovich, T. (1999). The perceiver as perceived: Everyday intuitions about the correspondence bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1188-1199.

Courses Taught:

  • Emotion and Intuition
  • Heuristics and Biases
  • Judgment and Decision Making

Leaf Van Boven
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Muenzinger Hall UCB 345
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

  • Work: (303) 735-5238
  • Mobile: (720) 771-2261
  • Fax: (303) 492-2967

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