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 four core labs conducting evolutionary social science research at Oklahoma State University (other PIs: Jennifer-Byrd Craven, Davide Ponzi, Mary Towner), with lab members participating in joint weekly lab meetings.

  • 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.


    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?
    • Some people have only same-race romantic partners, friends, or employees. We explore the perceived (un)acceptability of prejudice across social domains. 
    • There are different types of stigma (e.g., based in safety threats, freedom threats). Do specific threats transfer in stigma-by-association?

    What makes us happy? (And whom do we perceive as happy?)

    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.

    • Our work suggests that striving for status and finding friends can make us feel self-actualized.
    • (Why) Do people fail to perceive sexually free women as happy?
    • Sports fans, are you perceived differently when you BIRG (bask in your team's reflected glory) than SURF (suffer under its reflected failure?

    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?

    • Our work suggests that atheists are distrusted because they are seen as "fast" strategists.
    • How might religious choices help us pursue functional goals? 



    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?
    • How do concerns with appearing fair bias our decisions to punish others?

    Food sharing

    It's argued that food-sharing is a special case of cooperation. We explore perceptions of food-sharing pairs and groups to investigate what might be so special about commensality.

    • How do people perceive the bonds between people sharing food (versus other goods)?
    • Do decision-making tools lead us to reason differently about calories than money?

    The social functions of disgust expressions

    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

    PART OF THE OCEAN (the developing Oklahoma Center for Evolutionary Analysis): The Krems Lab is one four core labs (other PIs: Jennifer-Byrd Craven, Davide Ponzi, Mary Towner). Graduate students work across labs.

    Assistant Professor of Psychology (Experimental)

    Oklahoma State University

    Dr. Krems received her PhD from Arizona State University, an MSc in Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Oxford, an MLA from the University of Pennsylvania, and her AB from Bryn Mawr College.


    She is a social psychologist with additional interdisciplinary training in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology. Her research draws on theoretical perspectives from social psychology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and animal behavior to address wide-ranging topics in social cognition---often focusing on friendship, female sociality, and stereotyping.






    Jarrod Bock, M.S.

    Graduate Student

    Coordinator, Social & Evolutionary Psychology Lab

    Jarrod is a fourth-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).




    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.


    Core Members of the developing Oklahoma Center for Evolutionary Analysis

    aka The Behavioral Evolution Science Team

    Joint lab meetings of faculty PIs and associated graduate students are held weekly.

    Our Undergraduate Research Assistant Team

    Spring 2019 Undergraduate Research Assistants

    • Darling Arredondo
    • Kelsie Ballew
    • Garrett Dugan
    • Callie Pollet
    • Brett Keenan
    • Nicholas Korff
    • Maya West
    • Madison Young
  • Join the lab!


    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.


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

  • 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 Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University

    PI: Ryan Brown

    The Psychology, Evolution, & Law Lab at Hamilton College

    PI: Keelah E. G. Williams