I am a postdoctoral researcher at NYU, where I work in Tessa West's lab. I graduated from Bates College with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in dance, and I worked as a lab manager at the University of California, San Francisco before attending graduate school. I earned my PhD in social psychology, with a minor in quantitative psychology, from NYU.

I study fundamental processes in interpersonal interactions. I examine the subtle and overt ways in which people convey their psychological experiences to others and how those communications influence their interaction partners. I ask questions such as: Do women engage with female peers in ways that differ from how they engage with male peers in math and science? Do middle managers in a corporate firm negotiate differently with their lower-status employees versus higher-status senior partners? When meeting someone from a different country, how does the knowledge that one’s partner is from a country that is richer or poorer than one’s own shape how quickly people “tune in” to their partners?

I examine questions regarding interpersonal communication and influence, as well as physiological correlates of these processes, by studying face-to-face social interactions in the lab and in field settings (e.g., at tutor centers and in corporate environments). I capture psychological, behavioral, and physiological processes as they naturally unfold over time, and I develop and employ novel analytic techniques and new methods for physiological and behavioral measurement.


Ketay, S., Welker, K. M., Beck, L. A., Thorson, K. R., & Slatcher, R. B. (accepted). Social anxiety, cortisol, and early-stage friendship. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Eaton, L.A., Earnshaw, V., Maksut, J. L., Thorson, K. R., Watson, R., & Bauermeister, J. (in press). Experiences of stigma and health care engagement among Black men who have sex with men newly diagnosed with HIV/STI. Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Thorson, K. R., Lorber, M. F., Slep, A. M. S., & Heyman, R. E. (in press). Adult adiposity linked to relationship hostility for low cortisol reactors. Journal of Family Psychology.

Thorson, K. R., West, T. V., & Mendes, W. B. (in press). Measuring physiological influence in dyads: A guide to designing, implementing, and analyzing dyadic physiological studies. Psychological Methods.
PDF | Supplement

Human, L. J., Thorson, K. R., Woolley, J. D., & Mendes, W. B. (2017). Combining oxytocin administration and positive emotion inductions: Examining social perception and analytical performance. Hormones and Behavior, 90, 120-128.
PDF | Data | R code

Human, L. J., Thorson, K. R., & Mendes, W. B. (2016). Interactive effects between extraversion and oxytocin administration: Implications for positive social processes. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(7), 735-744.

Manuscripts Under Review

Thorson, K. R., Forbes, C. E., Magerman, A. B., West, T. V. Under threat but engaged: Stereotype threat leads women to engage with female but not male partners in STEM.

Thorson, K. R., Dumitru, O. D., Mendes, W. B., & West, T. V. Persuasive skill overrides status in predicting physiological linkage and judgments of leadership during group decision-making.

Thorson, K. R., & West, T. V. Physiological linkage to an interaction partner is negatively associated with stability in sympathetic nervous system responding.

Cornelius, T., Meli, L., Thorson, K. R., Chang, B. P, Edmondson, D. E., & West, T. V. The unintended consequences of bringing close others to the emergency department for an acute cardiac event.

Thorson, K. R., Mendes, W. B., & West, T. V. Controlling the uncontrolled: Incidental experimenter effects on physiologic reactivity.

Book Chapter

Thorson, K. R., & West, T. V. (in press). Implicit bias in social interactions. In J. Aronson & E. Aronson (Eds.), Readings about the Social Animal, 12th edition.


Dyadic Data Analysis Webinar Series

Webinar 1: Restructuring data from individual format to person period pairwise format
Webinar on YoutubeExample SPSS syntaxExample individual SPSS file
Webinar 2: Lagging variables in SPSS and SAS
Webinar on YouTubeSPSS data fileSPSS syntaxSAS data fileSAS syntax
Webinar 3: Downsampling an IBI series for dyadic data analysis
Webinar on YouTubeScript to resample baselineScript to export baselineScript to resample taskScript to export task
Power analysis for multilevel modeling
Example SAS syntax