Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Vanessa Bohns

Vanessa Bohns

  • Media Contact
  • SPN Mentor

Understanding our influence over others
In my primary research, I explore social influence via the levers of self-conscious emotions, such as guilt (Bohns & Flynn, 2013a) and embarrassment (Bohns & Flynn, 2010). In particular, I have looked at the extent to which we realize how much influence we have over other people through these levers (Bohns, 2016). People typically do not appreciate how much they influence others' behavior, especially in relatively individualistic cultures like the United States (Bohns & Flynn, 2013b; Bohns et al., 2011). For example, in the prosocial domain, Frank Flynn and I have found that people don't expect that the simple act of asking for help will elicit the kind of assistance it almost invariably does (Flynn & Lake (Bohns), 2008; see also Flynn & Bohns, 2012). Further, my graduate students and I have found that this effect extends to unethical domains. Just as participants in my previous studies exhibited surprise at how willing people were to help when asked, people are similarly surprised at how willing others are to engage in unethical acts when asked (Bohns, Roghanizad & Xu, 2014). I am currently exploring various moderators of these findings, such as the use of financial incentives to elicit compliance (Bohns, Newark & Xu, 2016), the communication medium by which a request is made (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017), and one’s relationship to the person being asked, as well as the downstream consequences after someone has agreed to an initial request (e.g., Newark, Flynn & Bohns, 2014; Newark, Bohns, & Flynn, 2017).

Interpersonal complementarity
In another line of research, I have explored the relational and intrapersonal effects of interpersonal complementarity. I have examined the conditions under which complementarity (as opposed to similarity) is advantageous for relationship partners working together to achieve joint goals (Bohns et al., 2013) and for interaction partners working together on a task (Bohns & Higgins, 2011). I have found that complementarity is advantageous, i.e., "opposites attract," when two individuals can take on their preferred separate roles, i.e., when they can “divide and conquer” goal-related tasks.

Primary Interests:

  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Ethics and Morality
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Persuasion, Social Influence
  • Social Cognition

Note from the Network: The holder of this profile has certified having all necessary rights, licenses, and authorization to post the files listed below. Visitors are welcome to copy or use any files for noncommercial or journalistic purposes provided they credit the profile holder and cite this page as the source.

Image Gallery

Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

Courses Taught:

  • Leadership and Influence
  • Morality at Work
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Research Methods
  • Values-Based Leadership

Vanessa Bohns
School of Industrial and Labor Relations
394 Ives Hall
Ithaca, New York 14853
United States

Send a message to Vanessa Bohns

reCAPTCHA challenge image
Incorrect please try again
For security, type the characters shown above: For security, type the words:

Note: You will be emailed a copy of your message.

Psychology Headlines

From Around the World

News Feed (35,797 subscribers)