About Me

My research interests reside in the realms of judgment and decision-making, social cognition, and consumer behavior. I use a wide range of methodological approaches (laboratory experiments, archival analyses, field studies) and analytical techniques to gain greater insight into human judgment and behavior.

A primary target of my intellectual curiosity over the past few years has been the many different ways by which our judgments and behaviors can become biased, altering the expression of that judgment or behavior from what it would otherwise have been—or what it normatively should be. In particular, I’m fascinated by the forces—both internal and external—that produce a biased judgment, and the complex interplay of cognitive and motivational mechanisms by which they operate, with the ultimate goal of improving bias-detection and correction.

Understanding the types of decisions that maximize happiness is another focus of my research, one that I have pursued largely in the domain of consumer behavior. Much of that work has centered on identifying the cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying the finding that material possessions (e.g. clothes, electronic gadgets) tend to be less satisfying than experiences (concerts, meals at restaurants). Ultimately, the goal of this work is to uncover more general principles governing happiness and well-being.

Selected Publications

  • Carter, T. J. (2014). The psychological science of spending money. In E. Bijleveld & H. Aarts (Eds.) The psychological science of money (pp. 213-242). New York, NY: Springer. (doi | pdf)
  • Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2013). Getting the most for the money: The hedonic return on experiential and material purchases. In M. Tatzel’s (Ed.) Consumption and well-being in the material world (pp. 49-62). New York, NY: Springer. (doi | pdf)
  • Converse, B., Risen, J., & Carter, T. J. (2012). Investing in karma: When wanting promotes virtuous action. Psychological Science, 23(8), 923–930. (doi)
  • Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2012). I am what I do, not what I have: The centrality of experiential purchases to the self-concept. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(6), 1304-1317. (doi | pdf)
  • Carter, T. J., Ferguson, M. J., & Hassin, R. R. (2011). A single exposure to the American flag shifts support toward Republicanism up to 8 months later. Psychological Science, 22(8), 1011-1018. (doi | pdf)
  • Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2010). The relative relativity of material and experiential purchases. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 146-159. (doi | pdf)
  • Carter, T. J., & Dunning, D. (2008). Faulty self-assessment: Why evaluating one's own competence is an intrinsically difficult task. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(1), 346-360. (doi | pdf)

Manuscripts Under Review or In Preparation

  • Carter, T. J., & Helzer, D. (2016). Accusations of unfairness bias subsequent decisions: A study of major league umpires. Manuscript under review. (pdf)
  • Kardosh, R. Carter, T. J., Ferguson, M. J., & Hassin, R. R. (2016). Subliminal flags that increase binational conflicts: The Israeli-Palestinian case. Manuscript under review.
  • Carter, T. J., Pandey. G., Ferguson, M. J., & Hassin, R. R. (2016). The effect of the American flag on political attitudes has declined over time: A case study of the effect of historical context on priming effects. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Carter, T. J., & Fukukura, J. (2016). The attributional consequences of purchasing experiences over material possessions. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Carter, T. J., (2016). When and how to look at data: The costs and benefits of peeking at your data early. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Carter, T. J., & Fishbach, A. (2016). The role of self-deception in the exercise of self-control. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Burns, Z. C., & Carter, T. J. (2016). Using ordinal ranking to improve detection and prediction. Manuscript in preparation.