University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

The Social Psychology Subprogram

Self and Other

Elizabeth Pinel, Ph.D.

Trained as a self psychologist, all of Liz's work has an undertone of self psychology to it. This emerges in the more basic writings on the self, as well as the work on stigma consciousness, and, more recently I-sharing. It's safe to say that if it has to do with the self, Liz has an interest in it!


One common theme that runs through all of Liz's work on the self concerns the interplay of self and other. This interest most recently gets expressed in Liz's work on shared subjective experience, or, I-sharing, and its ability to foster interpersonal as well as intergroup connections. When two people I-share, they feel as though their subjective selves have merged, as though they have experienced a moment in time identically. This can help heal people's feelings of existential isolation, the feeling that they are alone in their experience of the world. As such, I-sharing can foster deep feelings of connection among strangers and loved ones alike. We have tested the effects of I-sharing on strangers interacting in controlled laboratory experiments. Our recent work concentrates on people in ongoing relationships, including friendships, family connections, and romantic relationships. We are also interested in how I-sharing affects relationships across time. Finally, we are also interested in the existentially isolated individual and how existential isolation affects people's interpersonal life.

Carol Miller, Ph.D.

Carol Miller's research on the self examines the self-esteem of stigmatized people and how stigma affects self-identification as a group member.

Last modified October 20 2015 04:28 PM