In my research, I pursue an understanding of the elusive quality of charisma by investigating the skills, traits, and motives associated with social dominance and leadership in children and adults. Together with colleagues and student collaborators, I have discovered that humans convey dominance through facial expressions akin to those of other primates; that facial features which make people appear powerful also make them seem untrustworthy; that people who are socially powerful have unusually good acting skills; and that persuasive performances begin with kidding yourself. I also study the charismatic processes by which groups inspire a following. My early research on dominance and deception was funded by a grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. Some of my studies have been featured in the print media here and abroad, on radio talk shows, and on television, including PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, Dateline NBC, Discovery Magazine, CNN Times/Newsweek Magazine, The McLaughlin Group, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Learning Channel, and ABC’s Good Morning America. As an interpreter of psychological phenomena, I’ve appeared on ABC Syracuse affiliate WSYR, and on the ABC News shows 20-20 and What Would You Do?
I teach introductory psychology, research methods, and specialty seminars in social bonds, cross-cultural human development, and leadership.
This video is about charisma and leadership in the 2012 elections.