Jennifer Tomlinson - Psychology Faculty - Colgate University

Colgate Directory

jennifer tomlinson university portrait 2014

Jennifer Tomlinson

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Psychology, 109 Olin Hall
p 315-228-6524


How do close relationships bring out the best in us? My research program is designed to understand the ways in which relationship partners can encourage one another to seek out opportunities for personal growth, and how this can benefit relationships and health. I also seek to understand how partners can maintain healthy relationships by communicating positive regard and finding optimal levels of idealization (when one perceives a partner to view oneself slightly more positively than one sees oneself). Students in my lab will be exposed to a variety of research methods (including experimental, longitudinal, physiological, and observational) and consider relationship processes in both younger and older adults.


BA, University of Rochester, 2005; MA (2007), PhD (2010), Stony Brook University


Social psychology, health psychology, close relationships, psychophysiology, and statistics.


Mashek, D., Milillo, D., & Tomlinson, J.M. (in press).  Early career considerations: Postdoctoral positions, adjunct teaching, and getting the first academic job. To appear in The Oxford Handbook of Undergraduate Psychology Education.

Tomlinson, J.M., Feeney, B.C., & Van Vleet, M. (in press). A longitudinal investigation of relational catalyst support of goal strivings. To appear in The Journal of Positive Psychology. doi:10.1080/17439760.2015.1048815

Fivecoat, H.C., Tomlinson, J.M., Aron, A., & Caprariello, P.A. (2015). Partner responsiveness to one’s own self-expansion opportunities: Effects on relationship satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32(3), 368-385. doi: 10.1177/0265407514533767

Tomlinson, J.M., Aron, A., Carmichael, C.L., Reis, H.T., & Holmes, J.G. (2014).  The costs of being put on a pedestal: The effects of feeling over-idealized in married and dating relationships.  Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31(3), 384-409. doi: 10.1177/0265407513498656

Feeney, B.C., Collins, N.L., Van Vleet, M., & Tomlinson, J.M. (2013). Motivations for providing a secure base: Links with attachment orientations and secure base behavior. Attachment and Human Development, 15, 261-280.

Tomlinson, J.M. & Aron, A (2013). The path to closeness: A mediational model for overcoming the risks of increasing closeness. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30, 805-812.

Tomlinson, J.M. & Aron, A. (2013). The positive psychology of romantic love. In M. Hojjat & D. Cramer (Eds.), Positive Psychology of Love (pp. 3-15). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Schulz, R., Beach, S.R., Cook, T.B., Martire, L.M., Tomlinson, J.M., & Monin, J.K., (2012). Predictors and consequences of lack of choice in informal caregiving. Journal of Aging and Mental Health, 16, 712-721.

Tomlinson, J.M. & Aron, A. (2012). Relationship neuroscience: Where we are and where we might be going. In O. Gillath, G.E. Adams, and A.D. Kunkel (Eds.), Relationship Science: Integrating Evolutionary, Neuroscience, and Sociocultural Approaches (pp.13-26). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Tomlinson, J.M., Carmichael, C.M., Reis, H.T., & Aron, A. (2010). Affective forecasting and individual differences: Accuracy for relational events and anxious attachment. Emotion, 10, 447-453.

Professional Experience

Postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University (2010-2013)


2013 University of Pittsburgh Aging Research Day Award for Excellence in Aging Research
2013 Discretionary Research Grant (Colgate University) $1,500
2012 Steve Duck New Scholar Award from the International Association for Relationship Research
2012 James McKeen Cattell Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Psychology from the New York Academy of Sciences
2011 Berkman Faculty Development Grant (Carnegie Mellon University) $5,500
2010 National Research Service Award from National Institute on Aging $143,670
2010 Award for Excellence in Teaching from Department of Psychology (Stony Brook University)
2009 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student (Stony Brook University)
2007 Summer Institute for Social Psychology (SISP): Selected from pool of graduate students for National Science Foundation-funded course on self-regulation and goals. (Austin, TX)
2005 Full Tuition Scholarship for Psychology Graduate Program (Stony Brook University)