Oklahoma State University

    116 North Murray Hall

    Stillwater, OK


  • What We Do

    We're a SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY LAB. Research in our lab draws on theoretical perspectives from behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and animal behavior to address wide-ranging topics ---focusing on friendship, female cooperation and competition, and stigma and prejudice.


    Employing group- and individual-level experiments, archival studies, and other methods, we investigate important aspects of social cognition and behavior.




    The Krems Lab is one several core labs conducting evolutionary social science research at Oklahoma State University (other PIs: Jennifer-Byrd Craven, Mary Towner), with lab members participating in joint weekly lab meetings. For more, see THE OCEAN.

  • Current Projects

    Many of our projects take place at the intersection of overlapping researching interests--most often exploring female sociality, friendship, stereotyping and prejudice.


    Some of the research themes we're currently pursuing at OSU and with our collaborators:

    Female cooperation & competition

    Every woman has at least two stories: One about how she could not have survived without the support of a female friend, and one about how a female friend broke her heart. We investigate the often-overlooked complexities of female sociality.

    • Like men, women actively compete. We explore ways that women might avoid the often high costs of other women's aggression (e.g., via perceptual biases, strategic behavior).
    • How do women meet the challenge of discerning whether another women is a likely friend or foe?
    • What is female power, and might our current definitions fail to capture it?
    • How can we explain the unique paradoxes of female friendship?


    Our friends make us happy, keep us healthy, and can even promote our reproductive fitness. But friendships remain understudied in social psychology. We explore these important bonds.

    • Does friendship jealousy protect our friendships, and motivate us to "guard" our friends?
    • What do men and women want in their friends? How many friends do they have? 
    • How do we integrate those friend preferences and make actual friend choices?

    Stigma & Prejudice

    We use a functional approach to stigma to revolutionize our understanding of classic research in social psychology.

    • Beyond BMI, fat stigma results from a complex perceptual calculus that involves different fats (often stored in different places on the body). How does shape affect perceptions of people with obesity?
    • (Why) Do people fail to perceive sexually free women (but not men) as happy?
    • Some people have only same-race romantic partners, friends, or employees. We explore the perceived (un)acceptability of prejudice across social domains. 
    • Do specific threats transfer in stigma-by-association?

    Functional Motivations

    The sorts of activities that make us happy and fulfilled change as a function of our age, gender, and relationship status. We explore what makes us happy--and whether we can accurately predict what makes other people satisfied (or frustrated).

    • Our work suggests that striving for status and finding friends can make us feel self-actualized.
    • Our other work implies that achieving our goals of caring for kin are highly important to us--even as researchers might overlook tis motivation. 

    Life history strategy and religion

    Religious people are highly trusted--and even other atheists often dislike atheists. Some religious people are also likely to hold negative perceptions of gays, women's reproductive rights, recreational drugs. Why?



    Work led by collaborator Jordan Moon, a graduate student at Arizona State University

    A (moral) cognition for social relationships

    Thinking, feeling, and reasoning are for doing. Our minds are sensitive to how other people see us, and this sensitivity can influence whom we condemn, how much we want to punish others, and how (un)fair our own decisions are.

    • The Contraposition Effect: Can condemning a target benefit us--by making us seem less likely to share behavioral tendencies or other characteristics with him/her?
    • When is more harm seen as less harmful?

    The social functions of disgust

    A "disgust" sound is a most recognizable emotional vocalization. What would you do If someone made that sound at you, or looked at you with disgust? What if a friend looked at you with disgust--and did so just after someone you both found annoying entered the room? We're exploring disgust expressions and their often-triadic social functions.

    • Do girls and women have a secret language of disgust?
    • Can disgust expressions effectively exclude others from our social environments?

    How do ecological variables shape everyday life?

    Income inequality is a strong predictor of violence. Does increasing income inequality also change the ways that women compete? How does pathogen prevalence affect the job market?

    • Our work suggests that different ecological factors shape different types of violence.
    • How does income inequality affect (female) competition?
    • Does an environment with greater information saturation lead us to prefer simpler information?
  • Who We Are

    Assistant Professor of Psychology (Experimental)

    Oklahoma State University

    Dr. Krems received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University, an M.Sc. in Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Oxford, an M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania (focusing in Biological Basis of Behavior), and her A.B. in Classical Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College.


    She is a social psychologist with interdisciplinary training. Her research draws on theoretical perspectives from social psychology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology and anthropology, as well as animal behavior to address wide-ranging topics in social cognition---often focusing on (a) female sociality and (b) the use of interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks to challenge our understanding of 'classic' topics in social psychology (e.g., stereotyping and prejudice, stigma, motivation).






    Jarrod Bock, M.S.

    Graduate Student

    Coordinator, Social & Evolutionary Psychology Lab

    Jarrod is a fifth-year student working with Dr. Byrd-Craven and Dr. Krems. His research broadly examines prejudice and stigma. In particular, his primary research interests are in using a functional approach to understanding stigma at both the explicit and implicit levels, examining the impact of dehumanization on sexual assault-related attitudes, and the relationship between cultures of honor, suicide, and other forms of aggression. His research also examines the asymmetrical judgments of one's own and others' prejudices (e.g., racism, sexism).




    Ashley M. Rankin, M.S.

    Graduate Student

    Funded via NSF-GRFP

    Ashley is a fifth-year student working with Dr. Byrd-Craven and Dr. Krems. Her primary research investigates in how individuals choose to allocate their resources to different types of social relationships (e.g., friendships, strategic allies, romantic partners) as well as the psychobiology underlying friendship quality--especially among women.





    Laureon Watson

    Graduate Student

    Social & Evolutionary Psychology Lab

    Laureon is an incoming first-year graduate student working with Dr. Krems and Dr. Byrd-Craven. Her interests are in female sociality, and in pairing both feminist and evolutionary perspectives to explore overlooked aspects of women's behavior.


    Undergraduate RA Team

    The Krems Lab is lucky to have a vibrant, engaged group of undergraduate RAs: (back row) De'Ja Broyles, graduate student Jarrod Bock, Kacie Platt, Dr. Krems, Malina Lemmons, (middle row) Kelsie Ballew, Callie Pollet, gradaute student Ashley Rankin, Abigail Ferrell, Anna Crosswhite, Madison Young, (front row) Maya West, Brett Keenan, Kassie Selanders, Mikayla Tolliver, graduate student Laureon Watson, Darling Arredondo, (not pictured) Garrett Dugan


    The Krems Lab is one of several across Departments of Psychology and Integrative Biology, taking part in joint graduate lab meetings and furthering the OCEAN mission to: (1) conduct interdisciplinary research; (2) train future research faculty and graduate students, including those from groups underrepresented in the sciences; (3) engage in educational outreach with the FOSSIL Conference.

  • Collaborators outside OSU

    Meet some of the people our lab works with in our ongoing research:

    The Computational Mate Choice Lab at University of California, Santa Barbara

    PI: Daniel Conroy-Beam

    Evolutionary Social Cognition Lab at Arizona State University

    PIs: Steven Neuberg, Douglas Kenrick, Vaughn Becker

    The Culture and Ecology Lab at Arizona State University

    PI: Michael Varnum

    Nicole Hess, Ph.D. at Washington State University

    Cooperation & Conflict Lab at Arizona State University

    PI: Athena Aktipis

    Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group at The University of Oxford

    PI: Prof. Robin I. M. Dunbar

    The Brain and Behaviour Lab at McMaster University

    PI: Tracy Vaillancourt

    Stigma & Motivation Lab at The University of Toronto

    PI: Rebecca Neel

    Evolution and Social Cognition (ESC) Lab at The University of Colorado, Boulder

    PI: Eric Pedersen

    The Psychology, Evolution, & Law Lab at Hamilton College

    PI: Keelah E. G. Williams

    The General Experimental Laboratory at St. Mary's University

    PI: Maryanne Fisher

    The Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University

    PI: Ryan Brown

  • Join the lab!


    Dr. Krems expects to accept a graduate student for Fall 2020. The application deadline is December 1, 2019.



    We're always looking for curious and motivated research assistants!


    If you would like to learn more about social psychology or evolutionary psychology---running experiments, how to think like a social psychologist---with hands-on training, reach out to us. In our lab, we expect conscientious and excited research assistants.


    In our bi-weekly lab meetings, Dr. Krems, her graduate students, and research assistants discuss ongoing projects, how to get into graduate school, and the cutting-edge research at OSU.


    We accept research assistants on a term-by-term basis, typically beginning in October for subsequent Spring terms and in March for subsequent Fall terms.


    Contact Jarrod Bock (jarrod.bock@okstate.edu) for an application.

  • Art on this website:





    Marcel Dzama

    Marcel Dzama

    Neil Smith