Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Kent D. Harber

Kent D. Harber

I am broadly interested in how people's self-resources (e.g., feelings of self worth, self esteem, social support, opportunities to disclose) affect their physical perception, social judgments, and interpersonal behavior. I apply this general interest to interracial feedback, the perception of disturbing events, forgiveness, and the use of mood as information. Results show that people with more social support see hills as less steep and hear baby cries as conveying less distress; people with greater self-worth trust their own emotions more, and judge distances to threatening objects more accurately; and people who disclose their own hostile emotions are more forgiving towards their offenders. Interracial feedback is similarly affected by resources; whites whose egalitarian self-images are secure provide more accurate feedback to minorities while those whose self-images are compromised provide minorities with more positively biased feedback.

Another line of research concerns the "Emotional Broadcaster Theory", which proposes that the internal compulsion to disclose troubling emotions transforms people into news broadcasters who, through their disclosures, inform others of important events.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Close Relationships
  • Communication, Language
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Person Perception
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity

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Journal Articles:

  • Harber, K. (1998). Feedback to minorities: Evidence of a positive bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 622-628.
  • Harber, K.D., Yeung, D., & Iacovelli, A. (2011). Psychosocial resources, threat, and the perception of distance and height: Support for the resources and perception model. Emotion, 11, 1080-1090.
  • Pennebaker, J., & Harber, K., (1993). A social stage model of collective coping: The Loma Prieta Earthquake and the Persian Gulf War. Journal of Social Issues, 49(4), 125-145.
  • Schnall, S., Harber, K. D., Stefanucci, J., & Proffitt, D. (2008). Social support and the perception of geographical slant. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1246-1255.

Other Publications:

  • Harber, K., & Pennebaker, J. (1992). Overcoming traumatic memories. In S. A. Christainson (Ed.), The handbook of emotion and memory. Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates.

Courses Taught:

  • Advanced Readings in Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Science Research Methods
  • Health Psychology
  • Psychology of Emotions
  • Social Psychology

Kent D. Harber
Department of Psychology
Rutgers University, Smith Hall
101 Warren Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
United States

  • Phone: (973) 353-1868, ext. 229
  • Fax: (973) 353-1171

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