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Academic Work

Studying What Solitude Is and What It Does

I am an experimental psychologist. My passion revolves around trying to understand how spending time alone shapes our lives—our moods, stress levels, and even our sense of loneliness. I want to figure out both the positive and negative impacts of solitude, allowing us to embrace moments of aloneness in a healthier way. It's a fascinating topic—solitude is something both to crave and to fear, and that tension drives my research.

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Exploring the Internal World of Solitude

I specialize in using experimental paradigms to explore how solitude affects us emotionally. One of my key findings is the dampening effect of solitude on intense emotions like excitement and anger. My PhD advisor, Edward Deci, has helped me to give it a name, the "deactivation effect", and to this day, I continue to study it. I bring participants into the lab. Participants get to read, solve puzzles, colour, or even browse their phones while I track their experiences. I'm all about exploring how people feel and what they think and do in those solitary moments.

Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Methodologies

Aside from experiments, I also use Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMAs) to dig deeper into real-time experiences of solitude. Finally, I appreciate the depth that qualitative methods bring, helping me uncover the nuances and unique aspects of solitary experiences. The combination of all these approaches helps me construct a more complete picture of when and how solitude can be both beneficial and detrimental.

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