Education and Positions
I received my B.S. from Michigan State University in 1999, Ph.D. from New York University in 2006, and joined the faculty at University of Chicago in 2006 before arriving at UT in 2008.
Program of Research
Broadly speaking, my program of research has one major objective: to understand the role that basic cognitive processes play in promoting social harmony. Specifically, most of my research explores how situational factors that shift individuals’ thinking to a lower (more concrete) or higher (more abstract) level can have important consequences in the domains of 1) social conflict, 2) social judgments, and 3) prosocial behavior. My work employs a combination of laboratory and field designs, both of which emphasize experimental procedures that allow for causal interpretation of data. A second, defining feature of my research is that most of it seeks to have an immediate, practical impact on society, while staying grounded in a strong theoretical foundation. Indeed, I subscribe wholeheartedly to Kurt Lewin’s suggestion that “There is nothing so practical as a good theory”. Much of my research draws on social-cognitive theory, which posits that individuals can think about or construe objects and events at different levels of abstraction. Throughout my career, my research has explored how individuals’ construal level can change when they mentally go beyond the “here and now” to form judgments and regulate their behaviors. Below I offer three representative publications from my three main lines of research.
Henderson, M.D. (2011). Mere physical distance and integrative agreements: When more space improves negotiation outcomes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 7-15.PDF
Henderson, M.D., & Trope, Y. (2009). The effects of abstraction on integrative agreements: When seeing the forest helps avoid getting tangled in the trees. Social Cognition, 27, 402-417. PDF
Henderson, M.D., Trope, Y., & Carnevale, P.J. (2006). Negotiation from a near and distant time perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 712-729. PDF
Burgoon, E.M., Henderson, M.D., & Wakslak, C.J. (2013). How do we want others to decide? Geographical distance influences evaluations of decision-makers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 6, 826-838. PDF
Henderson, M.D., & Wakslak, C.J. (2010). Over the hills and faraway: The link between physical distance and abstraction. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(6), 390-394. PDF
Henderson, M.D., Fujita, K., Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2006). Transcending the “here”: The effect of spatial distance on social judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 845-856. PDF
Fishbach, A, Henderson, M.D., &. Koo, M. (2011). Pursuing goals with others: Group identification and motivation resulting from things done versus things left undone. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140-520-534. PDF
Henderson, M.D. (2013). When seeing the forest reduces the need for trees: The role of construal level in attraction to choice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 676-683. PDF
Henderson, M. D., Huang, S., & Chang, C. (2012). When others cross psychological distance to help: Highlighting prosocial actions toward outgroups encourages philanthropy. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 220-225. PDF