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David Sanbonmatsu, Ph.D.

David Sanbonmatsu, Ph.D.

Professor, Social Psychology

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Office: 702 BEHS
Phone: 801-581-8505

Research Interests

I am fortunate to have worked with a number of tremendous scholars who are leaders in their fields. I have been able to study illusory correlation with Jim Sherman, attitude familiarity with Bert Uchino, selective hypothesis testing and missing information with Steve Posavac and Frank Kardes, gambling with Bryan Gibson, and multi-tasking with Dave Strayer. I have also had the privilege of working with a number of terrific graduate students over the years including Sharon Akimoto, Ed Ho, Sam Vanous, Dominika Mazur, Shannon Moore, Arwen Behrends, Zhenghui Yu, and Hanna Cooley. I am especially grateful to have developed as a researcher under the mentorship of Russ Fazio.

Dave Strayer, Joel Cooper, and I are continuing our studies of driving safety. Our most recent research has been examining the impact of automated systems on driver behavior and performance, and the driving experience.

Much of our current research is concerned with the basic processes through which decisions are made. For example, Steve Posavac and I have been investigating the dynamics of sequential decision making.

I am beginning a new line of research with Paul White on the motivations underlying the online expression of opinions. We will be looking at self-assessments of posts and perceptions of the impact of posting on others.

Finally, I have collaborated with Bill Johnston, Jon Butner, Bert Uchino, Steve Posavac, and my graduate students on a number of papers on the science of science. Our work is helping to broaden our understanding of science and the differences between scientific disciplines.

Opportunities For Students

We are not in need of undergraduate research assistants at this time.

I am no longer recruiting graduate students to work under my supervision.


Ph.D., Indiana University (1987)
B.S., University of California-Davis (1979)

Selected Publications

Moore, S. M., Behrends, A. A., Mazur, D., and Sanbonmatsu, D. M. (2016). When do people bet on their selves? The role of global vs. specific self-concepts in decision making. Self and Identity, 15(5), 548-560. DOI: 10.1080/15298868.2016.1175372         

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Cooley, E. H., & Butner, J. E. (2021). The impact of complexity on methods and findings in psychological science. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-16.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., & Johnston, W. A. (2019). Redefining science: The impact of complexity on theory development in social and behavioral research. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Mazur, D., Behrends, A. A., & Moore, S. M. (2015). The role of the frequency of correspondent behavior and trait stereotypes in trait attribution: Building on Rothbart and Park (1986). Social Cognition, 33, 255-283.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Posavac, S. S., Behrends, A. A., Moore, S. M., & Uchino, B. N. (2015). Why a confirmation strategy dominates psychological science. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138197.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Strayer, D. L., Biondi, F., Behrends, A. A., & Moore, S. M. (2015). Cell Phone Use Diminishes Self-Awareness of Impaired Driving. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0922-4.

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Strayer, D. L., Medeiros-Ward, N., and Watson, J. M. (2013). Who multi-tasks and why? Multi-tasking ability, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. PLoS ONE, 8(1), e54402. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054402

Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Uchino, B. N., Wong, K. K., & Seo, J. Y. (2012). Getting along better: The role of attitude familiarity in relationship functioning. Social Cognition, 30, 350-361. 

My Current Graduate Students

Hanna Cooley

Last Updated: 7/19/22