Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Sara Hodges

Sara Hodges

I study how people construct judgments of their social world. I am interested in the "building blocks" we use to form attitudes and make decisions about the people and things around us, and how we organize this information.

One current line of research investigates how people make decisions between options with shared and unique characteristics, specifically examining how people treat these two kinds of characteristics differently, and how this affects their comparisons. When people try to decide between two options that have both shared and unique characteristics, they match up the shared attributes and concentrate on the unique ones to make their choice. I am studying what happens when they are subsequently given a third option. People appear to cancel out the shared features in earlier options, and do not use them in making subsequent decisions. I am also examining decision contexts that may inhibit or prevent the use of feature matching as a judgment strategy, and whether feature matching is used in self/other comparisons.

What does it mean to take another person's perspective? I'm interested in both cognitive outcomes of perspective taking (e.g., empathic accuracy) as well as affective ones (how does it affect our relationship with the person whose perspective we took?). Most recently, I have been looking at how similarity of experience and motivation affect empathy. I am also intrigued by how fiction writers take their characters' perspectives, which I view as a special case of perspective taking, in which the perspective must be totally constructed, rather than simply "taken."

If we are really looking forward to a vacation but it turns out to be rather disappointing, will we later remember and evaluate the vacation negatively, or will our memories and evaluations be boosted by our initially positive expectations such that we remember the vacation as being better than it actually was? How much we expect to enjoy something and what we think it will be like can influence later evaluations of the event as well as decisions about whether or not we decide to repeat the experience. It appears that people are often guided by their positive expectations, even when these expectations conflict with actual experiences, but it is not clear whether negative expectations operate in a parallel way.

Primary Interests:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Person Perception
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition


Journal Articles:

  • Hodges, S. D. (1998). Reason for the referent: Reducing direction of comparison effects. Social Cognition, 16, 367-390.
  • Hodges, S. D. (1997). When matching up features messes up decisions: The role of feature matching in successive choices. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 1310-1321.
  • Hodges, S. D., Bruininks, P., & Ivy, L. (2002). It's different when I do it: Feature matching in self-other comparisons. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 40-53.
  • Hodges, S. D., & Hollenstein, T. (2001). Direction of comparison in typicality judgments. Social Cognition, 6, 601-624.
  • Hodges, S. D., Klaaren, K. J., & Wheatley, T. P. (2000). Talking about safe sex: The role of expectations and experience. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30, 330-349.
  • Hodges, S. D., & Klein, K. J. K. (2001). Regulating the costs of empathy: The price of being human. Paper invited for Journal of Socioceconomics, 30, 437-452.
  • Hodges, S. D., & Wilson, T. D. (1994). The effect of analyzing reasons on attitude change: The moderating role of attitude accessibility. Social Cognition, 11, 353-366.
  • Klaaren, K. J., Hodges, S. D., & Wilson, T. D. (1994). The role of affective expectations in subjective experience and decision-making. Social Cognition, 12, 77-101.
  • Klein, K. J. K., & Hodges, S. D. (2001). Gender differences, motivation and empathic accuracy: When it pays to understand. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 720-730.
  • Wilson, T. D., Hodges, S. D., & LaFleur, S. J. (1995). Effects of introspecting about reasons: Inferring attitudes from accessible thoughts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 16-28.

Other Publications:

  • Hodges, S. D., & Wegner, D. M. (1997). The mental control of empathic accuracy. In W. Ickes (Ed.), Empathic Accuracy (pp. 311-339). New York: Guilford.
  • Wilson, T. D., & Hodges, S. D. (1992). Attitudes as temporary constructions. In L. Martin & A. Tesser (Eds.), The construction of social judgment (pp. 37-65). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Courses Taught:

Sara Hodges
Department of Psychology
University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1227
United States

  • Phone: (541) 346-4919
  • Fax: (541) 346-4911

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