Research and Teaching Interests
Albert Mehrabian came to psychology with B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Clark University and in l964 commenced an extended career of teaching and research at the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently devotes his time to writing and consulting as Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA.
Dr. Mehrabian's background in engineering and natural science has provided him with a distinct approach to his work in psychology. Knowing that it is impossible to test the validity of ideas without measures, he has devoted much of his forty-plus years of research to the development of psychological scales and major theoretical models for describing and measuring complex psychological phenomena.
For example, professor Mehrabian is known for his pioneering work in the field of nonverbal communication (body language). His theoretical work and experiments helped identify nonverbal and subtle ways in which one conveys like-dislike, power and leadership, discomfort and insecurity, social attractiveness, persuasiveness, and ways to detect when others are being deceptive in communication. Communication and leadership trainers and political campaign managers have often relied on these findings.
Professor Mehrabian's major theoretical contributions include a three-dimensional mathematical model for the precise and general description and measurement of emotions. His emotion scales are used to assess consumer reactions to products, services, and shopping environments. Additionally the scales can be used to assess the emotional impact of a workplace, an advertisement, or a medical or psychotropic drug. His parallel three-dimensional temperament model is a comprehensive system for describing and measuring differences among individuals (e.g., anxiety, extroversion, achievement, empathy, depression, hostility, cooperativeness). Additional applications of his research have led to methods for selecting personal names that are conducive to a desirable impression profile (ethical-caring, popular-fun, successful, masculine-feminine) and methods for selecting product, service, or company names that enhance consumer appeal.
Dr. Mehrabian's approach to measurement includes a unique research-based statistical approach that is "opaque" (or camouflaged) to obviate response distortions by those tested. Other applications of his work have helped identify optimum emotional characteristics of top-level athletes and workers in high-stress situations and the emotional climate at work that is conducive to high levels of worker morale and productivity. His numerous psychometric scales are used both nationally and internationally to help identify individuals with high levels of success or achievement potential (e.g., in their work or various areas of their personal lives), "emotional intelligence," strong social and communication skills, or those with a high capacity for empathy in intense person-oriented work.
Albert Mehrabian has served as consulting editor to Sociometry, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Journal of Psychology and has authored a large number of books and scientific articles. His books include "Tactics of Social Influence," "Silent Messages," "Nonverbal Communication," "Public Places and Private Spaces," "Basic Dimensions for a General Psychological Theory," "Eating Characteristics and Temperament," "Your Inner Path to Investment Success: Insights into the Psychology of Investing," "The Name Game: The Decision that Lasts a Lifetime," and "Baby Name Report Card: Beneficial and Harmful Baby Names."
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