Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk Humanities and Social Science

Breaking Down Barriers: The Effect of Power Differences on Closeness in Cross-race Friendships

Despite much progress that has been made, a troublesome racial hierarchy remains in the United States. How do power differences play out in cross-race friendships, where power may have unique or detrimental consequences? It has been found that cross-race friendships are less close. While some may aruge that this lack of closeness is due to race itself, I hope to discover whether an individual’s sense of power within a friendship may function to limit the sense of closeness they feel with the cross-race friend. By examining facial expressivity, hand movements, and self-disclosure during conversation of individuals in pairs of female friends, each person’s level of power within the friendship will be gauged and compared to self-reported closeness ratings.

Message To Sponsor

This opportunity as a SURF Fellow is exciting not only because it gets me ahead and frees up some time in the fall to work towards completion of my honors thesis, but also because it takes me beyond textbooks in terms of learning about psychology. It's like taking summer school, but not. All of the learning is essentially taking place outside the classroom, and in a sense, the knowledge gained is much richer than what is taught in a class. I am excited to ENGAGE in the coding systems and data analysis that have thus far only been READ about. Also, there is the valuable chance to network with fellow SURF Scholars and be exposed to research interests across multiple disciplines.
Major: Psychology, Sociology
Mentor: Dacher Keltner, Psychology
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