top of page
eobheadshot.jpeg
Associate Professor of Behavioral Science

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

eob@chicagobooth.edu

RESEARCH INTERESTS: I'm an experimental social psychologist. I study social cognition with a focus on temporal contexts. I'm interested in how people's interpretations of change over time influence their cognition, emotion, and behavior.

 

Here in the Change Lab, we use this lens of time and change to understand problems like:

  • When & why people mismanage enjoyment (e.g., we find that people often fail to realize that the old and boring can be reignited in new contexts—hedonic adaptation isn't as grim as assumed); for a review of this line of research, click here.
     

  • When & why people mismanage progress (e.g., we find that people often get stuck on declines and fail to see positive turnarounds); for a review of this line of research, click here.
     

  • When & why people mismanage impressions (e.g., we find that people often fail to consider how their present actions might "age"); for a review of this line of research, click here.

Selected Papers: CHANGE PERCEPTION & CHANGE MANAGEMENT

O'Brien, E. (in press). A Flexible Threshold Theory of Change Perception in Self, Others, and The World. Psychological Review.

[Link]

 

Klein, N., & O'Brien, E. (2023). Threshold Violations in Social Judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[Link]

O'Brien, E. (2022). Losing Sight of Piecemeal Progress: People Lump and Dismiss Improvement Efforts That Fall Short of Categorical Change—Despite Improving. Psychological Science.

[Link]

Klein, N., & O'Brien, E. (2018). People Use Less Information Than They Think to Make Up Their Minds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

[Link]

Klein, N., & O'Brien, E. (2017). The Power and Limits of Personal Change: When a Bad Past Does (and Does Not) Inspire in the Present. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[Link]

O'Brien, E., & Klein, N. (2017). The Tipping Point of Perceived Change: Asymmetric Thresholds in Diagnosing Improvement Versus Decline. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[Link]

Selected Papers: REPEATED EXPOSURE & HEDONIC ADAPTATION

 

Winet, Y., & O'Brien, E. (2023). Ending on a Familiar Note: Perceived Endings Motivate Repeat Consumption. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[Link]

Kardas, M., Schroeder, J., & O'Brien, E. (2022). Keep Talking: (Mis)Understanding the Hedonic Trajectory of Conversation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[Link]

O'Brien, E. (2021). A Mind Stretched: The Psychology of Repeat Consumption. Consumer Psychology Review.

[Link]

Winner, ISSEP Best Paper Award (awarded 2023)

O'Brien, E. (2019). Enjoy It Again: Repeat Experiences are Less Repetitive Than People Think. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[Link]

O'Brien, E., & Kassirer, S. (2019). People are Slow to Adapt to the Warm Glow of Giving. Psychological Science.

[Link]

Selected Book Chapters

 

Winet, Y., & O'Brien, E. (in press). Familiarity Seeking: Learning and Growing from Repeat Experiences. In K. E. Vail, D. R. Van Yongeren, R. J. Schlegel, J. Greenberg, L. A. King, & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of the Science of Existential Psychology. ​​New York, NY: Guilford Press.

 

O'Brien, E. (in press). Things Change—But When? A Top-Down Approach to Understanding How People Judge Change Thresholds. In K. Taku & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Changes in Human Perceptions and Behaviors. ​​London, UK: Taylor & Francis.

[Link]

 

O'Brien, E. (2022). Look Back, Not Ahead? Time Use and the Value of Revisiting Past Experiences. In C. Hoerl, T. McCormack, & A. Fernandes (Eds.), Temporal Asymmetries in Philosophy and Psychology. ​​Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

[Link]

bottom of page