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Wake Forest University

WFU Psychology

 
   

Mike Furr

 
R. Michael Furr
Professor
Department of Psychology
Wake Forest University
[FurrRM@wfu.edu]
(336) 758-5024

Personal Web Site: http://psych.wfu.edu/furr/

Major Areas of Research Interest:  

Personality and Quantitative Psychology


 

Current Research Projects:

Most of my current research efforts are dedicated to two collaborative projects:

1)The Beacon Project.  The Beacon Project team is investigating moral exceptionality in terms of:

  • The identification and assessment of moral exceptionality
  • The nature of moral exceptionality (e.g., which psychological characteristics distinguish the morally exceptional from others?)
  • The social impact of moral exceptionality (e.g., what do people believe about moral exceptionality, how are the morally exceptional seen by others)?

For more information about the Beacon Project, please visit the Beacon Project website

2) Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness, associated with severe functional impairment and significant costs to society. Our research team has several goals:

  • Obtain direct, empirical accounts of symptom frequencies, severities, and co-occurrences, to aid diagnosis, treatment, and termination decisions.
  • Test several theoretical mechanisms for the occurrence of BPD symptoms in daily life
  • Investigate the role of interpersonal perception processes in stressors and symptoms of BPD.
  • Chart trajectories and transactions of symptom frequencies, severities, and contingencies.


 

Overarching Research Interests:

Cutting across these two current projects and much of my earlier work are several fundamental questions reflecting personality/social psychology and measurement/statistics.

1) Why do you do what you do - is it because of who you are or because of the situations in which you find yourself? To what degree is there something about "who you are" that drives your behavior, or is your behavior driven more by "where you are"?

One area of interest in personality psychology is understanding the connections between two important behavioral facts: 1) people differ from each other – for example, are some people are generally more compassionate than others?, and 2) people differ from themselves as they move from one situation to another - for each of us, our tendency to act compassionately might changes from situation to situation.

In some ways, these two facts seem to be contradictory – if people change from situation to situation, then to what degree should we discuss the “general” differences among people? This leads to question such as, what are the factors that change your compassion (or fairness, or anger, or anxiety, etc) as you encounter different psychological environments? Are some people more reactive to situational forces than others? If so, why? How do personality “traits” relate to day-to-day behavior? Can we conceptualize personality in a way that integrates the two behavioral facts?

Relevant Student Research

Miskewicz, K., Fleeson, W., Arnold, E. M., Law, M. K., Mneimne, M. & Furr, R. M. (2015). A contingency-oriented approach to understanding borderline personality disorder: Situational triggers and symptoms. Journal of Personality Disorders, 29, 486-502.
Catalino, L. I., Furr, R. M., & Bellis, F. A. (2012). A multilevel analysis of the self-presentation theory of social anxiety: Contextual, dispositional, and interactive perspectives. Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 361-373..
Tucker, J. N., & Furr, R. M. (October, 2007). Interpersonal values and self-presentational strategies in everyday life situations. Poster presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Society of Southeastern Social Psychologists.
Catalino, L. I., & Furr, R. M. (January, 2007). An Exploration of Trait-State Interactions with the Need for Relatedness.  Paper presented at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Memphis, TN
Furr, R. M., Stridh, P. E., & Swanger, R. L. (January, 2005). A social cognitive perspective on social anxiety: Situations influence intra-individual associations among social anxiety person variables. Paper presented at 6th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA.
Furr, R. M., & Bellis, F. A. (January, 2004). Situational and interactive effects in the self-presentation theory of social anxiety. Paper presented at the 5th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Austin, TX.

Note: See my lab members web page for information about where students have gone after completing their work.

 

2) A second area of interest is how people undertsand themselves and each others’ personalities. When we interact with other people, how is our behavior interpreted by others? In what way do our social goals and motivations affect those interpretations? Do we know how we are perceived by others? Are some of us particularly effective at creating the impressions that we want to create? If so, who and how? How well do people understand their own behavior and the behavior of others?

Relevant Student Research:

Collier, L., Furr, R. M., Barranti, M., Helzer, E. G., & Fleeson, W. (March, 2018). Are Men or Women Better Judges of Moral Character? Poster presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
Heuckeroth, S. A., Furr, R. M., Arnold, E. M., & Fleeson, W. (March, 2018). Consensus in Personality Pathology: Examining the Agreement Between Self-Report and Clinician’s Judgments. Poster presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Atlanta, GA.
Hartley, A.G., Furr, R.M., Helzer, E., Jayawickreme, E., Velasquez, K., & Fleeson, W (2016). Morality’s centrality in liking, respecting, and understanding others. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7, 648-657.
Hawkins, A., Hartley, A. G. & Furr, R. M. (November, 2016). Are all moral actions judged equally? Examining factors that shape perceptions of morality. Paper presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Southeastern Social Psychologists, Asheville, NC.
Note: Awarded “Best Data Blitz Presentation” prize by the Society for Southeastern Social Psychologists.
Barranti, M., Helzer, E. G., Fleeson, W., & Furr, R. M. (June, 2015). Moral Actions and Motives: Agreement on Moral Character. Poster presented at the 2015 Biennial Meeting of the Association for Research in Personality, St. Louis, MO
Mendrygal, D., Furr, R. M., Arnold, E. M., Mneimne, M., & Fleeson, W. (February, 2015). (Mis)perceptions of daily fluctuations in emotions. Poster presented at the 16th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Long Beach, CA.

3) Another area of interest is more purely in psychometrics and statistics. All quantitative psychological research depends crucially on measurement and data analysis. I am interested in the process of constructing and validating personality inventories. In addition, I am interested in the development and evaluation of statistical procedures, particularly those used with repeated-measures data.

Relevant Student Research:

Collier, L., Furr, R. M., Hawkins, A., & Fleeson, W. (March, 2018). Introducing the Differentiated Moral Relativism Inventory (DMRI). Poster presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Atlanta, GA.
Hartley, A. G., & Furr, R. M.(2017). A profile-based framework for factorial similarity and the congruence coefficient. Journal of Personality Assessment, 99, 653-663.
Note: This paper won the Society of Personality Assessment’s Walter G. Klopfer Award for the best empirical paper published in the Journal of Personality Assessment in 2017.
Carlson, E. & Furr, R. M. (January, 2007). Evaluating a trait profile approach to personality pathology.Paper presented at the Association for Research in Personality pre-conference of the 8th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Memphis, TN.
Nave, C. S., & Furr, R. M. (January, 2006). Development and validation of a social motivation/social efficacy scale. Paper presented at the 7 th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Palm Springs, CA
Schmidt, E. A., Furr, R. M., & Huelsman, T. J. (January, 2004).Differential item functioning of positive and negative wording in personality and social assessment: An item response theory analysis Paper presented at the 5th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Austin, TX.

 


 

Representative Publications


(A full list is available here)

Books

Furr, R. M. (2018). Psychometrics: An Introduction (3rd Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Miller, C., Furr, R. M., Knobel, A., & Fleeson, W. (Eds.). (2015). Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology. Oxford University Press. New York, NY.

Furr, R. M. (2011). Scale Construction and Psychometrics for Social and Personality Psychology. London, UK: Sage Publications. (Part of the SAGE Library in Social and Personality Psychology Methods).

Journal Articles

Rogers, K. H., Wood, D., & Furr, R. M. (2018). Assessment of similarity and self-other agreement in dyadic relationships: A guide to best practices.Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35, 112-134. (Invited article for special issue, “Data Analytic Issues in Relationship Research”).

Hartley, A. G. & Furr, R. M. (2017). A profile-based framework for factorial similarity and the congruence coefficient. Journal of Personality Assessment.

Hartley, A. G., Furr, R. M., Helzer, E., Jayawickreme, E., Velasquez, K., & Fleeson, W. (2016). Morality’s centrality in liking, respecting, and understanding others. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7, 648-657

Wood, D., & Furr, R. M. (2016). The correlates of similarity estimates are often misleadingly positive: The nature and scope of the problem, and some solutions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20, 79-99.

Law, M. K., Furr, R. M., Arnold, E. M., Mneimne, M., Jaquett, C., & Fleeson, W. (2015). Does asking frequently and repeatedly about suicide cause harm? A randomized control studyPsychological Assessment, 27, 1171-1181.

Hawkins, A. A., Furr, R. M., Arnold, E. A., Law, M. K.., & Fleeson, W. (2014). The structure of Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms: A multi-method, multi-sample examination. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 5, 380-389.

Helzer, E. G., Furr, R. M., Hawkins, A., Barranti, M., Blackie, L. E. R., & Fleeson, W. (2014). Agreement on the perception of moral character. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1698-1710

Furr, R. M. (2009). Personality psychology as a truly behavioral science. European Journal of Personality, 23, 369-401. (Invited target article)

Furr, R. M. (2008). A framework for profile similarity: Integrating similarity, normativeness, and distinctiveness. Journal of Personality, 76, 1267-1316.

Furr, R. M., & Funder, D. C. (2004). Situational similarity and behavioral consistency: Subjective, objective, variable-centered, and person-centered approaches. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 421-447.

Furr, R. M., & Rosenthal, R. (2003). Repeated-measures contrasts for “Multiple-pattern” hypotheses. Psychological Methods, 8, 275-293.

Book Chapters

Furr, R. M. (In press). Psychometrics in clinical psychological research. In A. G. C. Wright & M. N. Hallquist (Eds.),Handbook of Research Methods in Clinical Psychology. Cambridge University Press.

Furr, R. M. (In press). Variability and consistency in the analysis of behavior. In J. Rauthmann (Ed.), Handbook of Personality Dynamics and Processes. Elsevier.

Furr, R. M., & Funder, D. C. (In press). Persons, situations, and person-situation interactions. In O. P. John & R. W. Robins (Eds.), Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research (4th Edition). Guilford Press.
Helzer, E. G., Jayawickreme, E., & Furr, R. M. (In press). Moral character: Current insights and future directions. In T. Shackelford & V. Ziegler-Hill (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Personality and Individual Differences. SAGE.
Nave, C. S., Feeney, M. G., & Furr, R. M. (In press). Behavioral observation in the study of personality and individual differences. In T. Shackelford & V. Ziegler-Hill (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Personality and Individual Differences. SAGE.

Fleeson, W., Furr, R. M., Jayawickreme, E., Helzer, E. G., & Meindl, P. (2015). Personality science and the foundations of character. In C. Miller, R. M. Furr, A. Knobel, & W. Fleeson (Eds.), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.


 

Courses Taught

Introductory Psychology

Personality Psychology

Statistics and Methods of Psychological Research
Psychological Testing
Univariate Statistics (Graduate)
Multivariate Statistics (Graduate)
Psychometrics (1/2 semester, Graduate)
Introduction to R (1/2 semester, Graduate)

 

 


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