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Mark J. Landau

Associate Professor
Social Psychology

Ph.D., 2007, University of Arizona
Research Areas: Social Psychology

VITA (pdf)
Research Site

Related Links
Social Psychology Program

Research Interests

Mark Landau is an Associate Professor who joined the Psychology Department at the University of Kansas after receiving his degree from the University of Arizona. He is currently pursuing two lines of research within the fields of social and cognitive psychology. One focuses on the cognitive mechanisms through which people make meaningful sense of themselves and their social world. Using conceptual metaphor theory as a framework, he investigates how people use metaphors at a basic conceptual level (and not "merely" a linguistic level) to understand abstract aspects of their social world (e.g., authenticity) in terms of dissimilar, relatively more concrete concepts (e.g., physical expansion), as well the consequences of metaphoric cognition for people's social attitudes, behavior, and functioning. The second line of research focuses on the psychological roots of human motivation. Inspired by perspectives in existential psychology, he investigates the role of deep-seated existential concerns (e.g., with mortality) in people's efforts to construct and maintain meaningful conceptions of the social world and their own lives, and the impact of existential motivations on social attitudes and achievement. Please feel free to contact Dr. Landau if you would like more information about these lines of research, or if you would like to participate in them as a graduate student or research assistant.

Selected Publications

Sullivan, D., Landau, M.J., & Rothschild, Z. (in press). An existential function of enemyship: Evidence that people attribute influence to personal and political enemies to compensate for threats to control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Landau, M.J., Sullivan, D., & Greenberg, J. (in press). Evidence that self-relevant motivations and metaphoric framing interact to influence political and social issues. Psychological Science.

Landau, M.J., Greenberg, J., & Rothschild, Z. K. (2009). Motivated cultural worldview adherence and culturally loaded test performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 442-453

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