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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Travel Grant Report

04.11.2015, by Kai Sassenberg in grant report

Asuman Buyukcan-Tetik (VU University Amsterdam) --
Visit to Lorne Campbell (University of Western Ontario)

The EASP postgraduate travel grant provided me the opportunity to visit Prof. Lorne Campbell and work at his Social Psychology Laboratory at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), Canada, between March and May 2015. This research visit has contributed to not only my knowledge and experience in social psychology, but also my vision in social psychology and science in general. Contributions of this visit include, but are not limited to, the points I summarized below.

First, Prof. Lorne Campbell, my supervisor Prof. Catrin Finkenauer, and I have collaborated in a project on expectations from a partner and the discrepancies between these expectations and the perceptions of a current romantic partner. Theoretically, we have developed our project based on Prof. Garth Fletcher's and Prof. Jeffry Simpson's Ideal Standards Model (Fletcher & Simpson, 2000; Fletcher, Simpson, Thomas, & Giles, 1999; Simpson, Fletcher, & Campbell, 2001). We particularly aimed to extend Prof. Campbell's work on flexibility of ideal standards (Campbell, Simpson, Kashy, & Fletcher, 2001). Although Campbell's work has showed that people are somewhat flexible with respect to their ideal standards, it is unclear how much of a discrepancy between ideal standards and perceptions of partners’ attributes is typically acceptable in close relationships. In our ongoing project, we aim to investigate the threshold of discrepancy above which the negative relation between discrepancy and acceptance starts, or accelerates. We have hypothesized that if a discrepancy is tolerated up to a certain point, then it is possible that acceptance of a partner, and satisfaction with this partner, within the range of a discrepancy deemed tolerable would be less variable than for a partner outside this range. Interested readers can find more information about our project on our Open Science Framework (OSF) webpage (https://osf.io/d7x2p/).

During this research project, we have considered the recent discussions and developments about the transparency of research in science, and relationship science in particular (Campbell, Loving, & LeBel, 2014). Thus, we uploaded a summary of our literature review, hypotheses, method, and strategy of analysis to the OSF (https://osf.io/d7x2p/). Furthermore, we not only made these documents publicly accessible, but also registered them to ensure that readers can reach our initial documents once we publish this project (Nosek & Lakens, 2014). This project therefore has allowed me to be a part of the movement toward a more open and transparent science.

After uploading the documents to the OSF, we started conducting the analyses following the strategy we had uploaded to our webpage. Prof. Campbell's extensive knowledge and experience in dyadic data analysis (e.g., Campbell & Kashy, 2002) was a great opportunity for me to deepen my knowledge about advanced statistical methods, and to conduct analyses for our research. Thanks to Prof. Campbell's continuous help and support, I was able to test our hypotheses using multilevel analysis. What is more, preliminary results have confirmed our expectations.

In addition to our exciting research project, my first experience with the OSF, and advanced data analysis, I had the opportunity to learn a new method for data collection in Prof. Campbell's laboratory. Prof. Campbell and his student Sarah Moloz have been using hidden cameras to record natural reactions of people in daily life (e.g., reactions to same-sex and heterosexual couples who are holding hands). This novel method yields unique insights in daily social interaction and behaviors, and allows for fine-grained analyses of interpersonal behavior. Thanks to Sarah Moloz, I learned how such data are collected using this method and how the recorded videos are coded. Learning a new method to observe everyday social behavior and interaction has allowed me to broaden the multi-method approach I adopt in my own research projects.

Last, my visit helped me to extend my professional network and receive feedback on my research from the faculty and graduate students at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). For example, because Prof. Campbell has a successful lab with many different studies being conducted by a considerable number of graduate and undergraduate students, I had the opportunity to discuss my research, recent developments in the field, and current publications in the weekly lab meetings. I was also given the opportunity to present my research in the department meeting of the Social Psychology Department of UWO. I also presented my research at the WWW (Western, Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier) Conference, which was organized by three different universities in Canada. I believe these experiences not only contributed to my knowledge, but also increased my open-mindedness and critical thinking.

I'd like to thank especially two persons for making this experience possible. First, my supervisor Prof. Finkenauer not only encouraged me to spend three months of my PhD period in Canada to gain this experience, but also discussed the project with us through emails and online conversations when I was in Canada. Second, Prof. Campbell was very generous to share his extensive knowledge and expertise especially in relationship science, transparent research processes, multi-method research practices, and advanced data analysis with me. Thus, Prof. Campbell, Prof. Finkenauer, and I were able to discuss and develop each and every piece of our project altogether. I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to work with both of them. The last but not the least, I deeply appreciate the EASP's significant support to this project and would like to thank for the travel grant.

References
Campbell, L., & Kashy, D.A. (2002). Estimating actor, partner, and interaction effects for dyadic data using PROC MIXED and HLM: A guided tour. Personal Relationships, 9, 327-342.
Campbell, L., Loving, T. J., & LeBel, E. P. (2014). Enhancing transparency of the research process to increase accuracy of findings: A guide for relationship researchers. Personal Relationships, 21, 531-545.
Campbell, L., Simpson, J. A., Kashy, D. A., & Fletcher, G. J. (2001). Ideal standards, the self, and flexibility of ideals in close relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 447-462.
Fletcher, G. J., & Simpson, J. A. (2000). Ideal standards in close relationships their structure and functions. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 102-105.
Fletcher, G. J., Simpson, J. A., Thomas, G., & Giles, L. (1999). Ideals in intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 72-89.
Nosek, B. A., & Lakens, D. (2014). Registered reports: A Method to Increase the Credibility of Published Results. Social Psychology, 45, 137-141.
Simpson, J. A., Fletcher, G. J. O., & Campbell, L. (2001). The structure and function of ideal standards in close relationships. In G. J. O. Fletcher & M. Clark (Eds.), Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Interpersonal Processes (pp. 86 –106). Oxford, England: Blackwell