Research Links

Press Coverage

[Lawrence Williams Photo]

Dr. Williams studies the ways in which subtle cues in the environment influence judgments, decisions, and behaviors without people's awareness. His research program features three lines. In the first line, Dr. Williams examines the effects of people's experiences with fundamental aspects of the physical world (e.g., the temperature of objects or the space between objects) on people's subsequent thoughts and actions. These effects are the result of the associations between physical and psychological concepts people develop early in life. The second line of his research program examines factors that contribute to people's paradoxical enjoyment of violent, fear-inducing, and/or socially awkward forms of entertainment. His third line of research examines how subtle cues, presented outside of awareness, can prompt people to exercise more self-control. Taken together, these three lines of research provide a clearer profile of nonconscious consumer behavior.


McGraw, A.P., Williams, L.E., & Warren, C. (2014). The rise and fall of humor: Psychological distance modulates humorous responses to tragedy. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 566-572

Williams, L.E., Stein, R., & Galguera, L. (2014). The distinct affective consequences of psychological distance and construal level. Journal of Consumer Research, 40, 1123-1138.

McGraw, A.P., Warren, C., Williams, L.E., & Leonard, B. (2012). Too close for comfort or too far to care? Finding humor in distant tragedies and close mishaps. Psychological Science, 23, 1215-1223.

Kang, Y., Williams, L.E., Clark, M., Gray, J.R., & Bargh, J.A. (2011). Physical temperature effects on trust behavior: The role of insula. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6, 507-515.

Morsella, E., Feinberg, G.H., Cigarchi, S., Newton, J.W., & Williams, L.E. (2011). Sources of avoidance motivation: Valence effects from physical effort and mental rotation. Motivation and Emotion, 35, 296-305.

Bargh, J.A., Williams, L.E., Huang, J.Y., Song, H., & Ackerman, J.A. (2010). From the physical to the psychological: Mundane physical experiences influence social judgment and interpersonal behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 267-268

Williams, L.E., Bargh, J.A., Nocera, C., & Gray, J.R. (2009). On the unconscious regulation of emotion: Nonconscious reappraisal goals modulate emotional reactivity. Emotion, 9, 847-854.

Williams, L.E., Huang, J.Y. & Bargh, J.A. (2009). The scaffolded mind: Higher mental processes are gounded in early experience of the physical world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 1257-1267.

Huang, J.Y., Williams, L.E. & Bargh, J.A. (2009). Conceptual scaffolding: Further thoughts on the relation between the physical and social worlds. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 1276-1277.

Williams, L.E., & Bargh, J.A. (2008). Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth. Science, 322, 606-607.

Williams, L.E., & Bargh, J.A. (2008). Keeping one's distance: The influence of spatial distance cues on affect and evaluation. Psychological Science, 19, 302-308.

Bargh, J.A., & Williams, L.E. (2007). The nonconscious regulation of emotion. In J. Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (pp. 429-445). New York: Guilford.

Litz, B.T., Williams, L., Wang, J., Bryant, R., & Engel, C. C., Jr. (2004). A therapist-assisted Internet self-help program for traumatic stress. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 35, 628-634.