Meaningful Interactions with Friends

Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould

Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould

Project Description

Taken on the whole, interacting with other people – even virtually – seems fundamental to human thriving. Indeed, meaningful interactions make for a good life. However, not all social interactions leave us feeling fulfilled. This descriptive project seeks to map out the qualities of meaningful interactions, with a particular interest in interracial friendships. We will use visual modelling techniques to map out the relationship between the words people use to describe good interactions and indicators of daily well-being.

Participants will be recruited to complete a survey online during the evening (i.e., between 6 – 10 pm in their timezones). First, they will be asked demographic questions, health questions, and they will be asked to describe their friendship, coworker, and family social networks. The main part of the study will be asking participants to describe the most recent interaction with either a same-race or cross-race friend that left them feeling particularly fulfilled. Participants will be guided through a memory recall task surrounding that event and then will be asked to write about the event in detail.

These written descriptions will be coded using natural language processing. We will then use exploratory, descriptive analyses and data visualization to identify the nature of meaningful interactions, particularly for cross-group friends.

You will emerge from this project having gained skills in survey design, research administration, data management, natural language processing, advanced statistics, and open science practices. You are not expected to know any of these things prior to the start of the SROP. We will teach you!

Mentorship Statement

I am passionate about providing accessible, supportive mentorship that gives students the space to innovate while being responsive to their needs and respectful of the way they work. Given that my research focuses on intergroup relations, it is important for me to collaborate with researchers with a diverse range of backgrounds and life experiences.

Two personal connections to the SROP make me thrilled to support this anti-racist initiative. The Canada SROP was first envisioned by former postdoctoral fellow, Prof. Kelci Harris, who completed the SROP when she was a student in the States. This SROP is the materialization of Dr. HarrisÕ vision. When I was a graduate student, I mentored an SROP student at the University of California Berkeley, with whom I later coauthored a publication. My experiences with these two amazing scholars impressed on me the importance of the SROP and the need for this initiative in Canada.

Project ID 952