Our Research Statement


The Social Relations Laboratory (SRL) is Professor Geraldine Downey's research team at Columbia University's Department of Psychology. At the SRL we are interested in studying the interactions between individuals. We are deeply intrigued by the need for contact and the need for autonomy that all humans share. To explore these mysteries of human interaction, we pursue a wide range of topics which allow us to discern the effects of situational factors on the individual, as well as, the effects of individuals on their environment and their immediate situation.

Our work concentrates on the construct of rejection sensitivity (RS), which can be roughly defined as a cognitive-affective processing dynamic whereby individuals are led to anxiously expect and perceive rejection from others. The original RS concept concentrated on sensitivity to rejection by significant others. Over the years, we have developed various measures of RS that assess this dynamic in situations with divergent foci of rejection. Hence, we have developed measures for sensitivity to race-based rejection and sensitivity to gender-based rejection.

Of course, rejection sensitivity is not the sole focus of our work. To learn more about what we do, we invite you to take a look around our website and learn more about the research interests of our team.
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