Lucas Keefer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. He earned his PhD in social psychology from the University of Kansas, and minored in quantitative psychology. You can view his University of Southern Mississippi and Psychology of Existential Concerns Lab pages.
Employer: The University of Southern Mississippi
Job Title: Assistant Professor
Highest Degree: PhD
Institution Providing Degree: University of Kansas
What led you to choose a career in personality and social psychology?
Psychology offers me a unique outlet for my broad interests. I’ve always been drawn to good old-fashioned armchair theorizing about human nature in philosophy. But sometimes the armchair can be moved in front of some syntax and output to test and refine all that theorizing. I’m happy to weave around through the gap between speculation and observation.
Briefly summarize your current research, and any future research interests you plan to pursue.
I am expanding work on the practical significance of conceptual metaphor. Research has shown that metaphoric language (sometimes) influences thought and behavior, but far less is known about when, why, and for whom. Putting these pieces together will tell us more about a number of basic areas in social and personality psychology, including attitudes and persuasion, political psychology, and social cognition.
Why did you join SPSP?
I joined SPSP primarily to connect with other researchers in the field. Keeping up with PSPB and attending the convention allow me to keep a broad perspective on all the great work that social and personality psychologists are doing.
What is your most memorable SPSP Annual Convention experience?
The most memorable experience for me was actually competing for (and winning) the Grad Student Poster Award. It was my first SPSP convention and I was INCREDIBLY nervous about the whole thing. So I rehearsed the presentation until I could do it in my sleep (I probably still go through it in my sleep sometimes).
How has being a member of SPSP helped to advance your career?
SPSP has been helpful in many ways. The convention has given me opportunities to meet with others in the field and to build collaborations that I would not have pursued otherwise. Keeping up with symposia, posters, and PSPB has given me plenty of food for thought.
Do you have any advice for individuals who wish to pursue a career in personality and social psychology?
The biggest piece of advice I could offer is to get involved! That can take a variety of forms: join a lab, contact psychologists about their research, attend conferences (with a presentation, if you can). Even small opportunities around your department or university are important for building your skills and knowledge of the field.
Outside of psychology, how do you spend your free time?
I like to read things that are thought-provoking or confusing, ideally both. I also enjoy strategy games, especially those that are mostly just spreadsheets and statistics.