When people make decisions such as whether to go on a first date, whether to commit to a new partner, or whether to end a struggling relationship, they are determining who they ultimately wind up with, if anyone, as a long-term romantic partner. What are the processes through which people make these important decisions? How similar are these decisions to those made in other life domains, such as finance or career decisions? And, might some decision strategies lead to better relationship outcomes than others?
In the Relationship Decisions Lab, we seek to answer these questions using a multi-method research approach. We collect data using a combination of experimental, longitudinal, daily diary, and observational methods, and analyze them with modern statistical techniques such as multilevel modelling and machine learning. Our research falls under the discipline of social psychology, and is informed by theoretical perspectives from both the field of close relationships and the field of judgment and decision making (JDM). The lab is directed by Dr. Samantha Joel, and is based in the Psychology Department at the University of Utah.