My current research interests encompass two broad and overlapping domains: the interpersonal theory of personality, and taxonomy generally, including taxonomies of personality, emotion, and psychopathology. The interpersonal theory that has devolved from the seminal work of Leary (1957) and Carson (1969) can be thought of as a cord comprised of at least two main strands. The first strand is the principle of circumplex structure, which states that variables that measure the interpersonal domain are arranged in a circular array called a circumplex having definite psychometric and geometric properties. I am currently working with William Revelle on two studies of circumplex structure, one on real data, and another on computer-simulated data. In the first study, we test the Interpersonal Checklist, Interpersonal Adjective Scales, Revised Interpersonal Adjectives Scales, Inventory of Interpersonal Problems circumplex scales, and Structural Analysis of Social Behavior Intrex Questionnaire for circumplex structure using three different circumplex criteria that we developed. In the second study, we test the sensitivity of several circumplex criteria to actual circumplex structure in over seventy computer-generated data sets that vary in dimensions such as sample size, number of variables, and presence or absence of a general factor (which might be interpreted, for example, as acquiescence or general complaints).

The interpersonal circumplex is a taxonomy of the domain of interpersonal relations. Circumplex taxonomies are not limited to the interpersonal domain, however. Russell (1980) has developed a circumplex of emotions. Hofstee, de Raad, and Goldberg (1992) present an Abridged Big Five Dimensional Circumplex (AB5C) model in which each pair of the Big Five personality factors comprises its own circumplex.

The second strand of interpersonal theory is the principle of complementarity, according to which partners engaged in dyadic interaction struggle to define their relationship in a mutually satisfactory and reinforcing way through the communicative function of interpersonal behaviors, and this struggle tends (probabilistically) to result in a definition according to which one partner is dominant and the other submissive, and in which both partners agree as to the level of friendliness or hostility shown. I am currently synthesizing the literature on complementarity using meta-analysis to determine the size of the effect across studies, and whether that effect size is mediated by status differences, setting, time in relationship, global versus behavioral rating methods, quadrant versus octant circumplex representations, or instrument used.

The lexical tradition of personality maintains that individual differences that are the most salient and socially relevant will over time become encoded into the natural language. The Big Five personality factors in the lexical tradition were developed as a taxonomy of personality-relevant adjectives. While a huge amount of research has gone into replicating the Big Five, little research to date has focused on taxonomies of personality-relevant type nouns. Due to linguistic differences between adjectives and type nouns, different salient and socially relevant information is likely to be lexicalized in these two kinds of terms, and I am interested in these differences. For example, many more negative type nouns ("jerk," "creep") than positive type nouns ("angel," "saint") tend to occur in natural language. I am currently working with Gerard Saucier on a project on taxonomies of type nouns.

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