Shira Gabriel

Shira Gabriel

Shira Gabriel is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo. Professor Gabriel is a Social Psychologist and internationally renowned expert on Social Surrogacy—the tendency for humans to form psychological relationships with non-human (on non-physically available) entities. She has published papers in prominent, peer-reviewed papers on the importance and nature of psychological bonds with celebrities, favorite television shows, and comfort foods. Professor Gabriel also studies prayer, social comparison, friendship processes, and gratitude. She is an associate editor at Social and Personality Psychological Science and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the European Journal of Social Psychology. Professor Gabriel received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Northwestern University in 2000.

Posts by Shira Gabriel

September 12, 2013

Lost in Translation

One difference between my prayer research and other lines of research I do is the audience I have for the work, even as it is being completed. Because the prayer work is funded through the Social Science Research Council's New Directions in the Study of Prayer initiative, I share it with my NDSP working group which includes people from many disciplines, with the strongest representation being anthropologists. Because I am collaborating with my former mentor on the work, I discuss all the findings with him. Finally, because the things that I am finding are so intriguing and out of my comfort zone, I am also seeking the council of my religious leader.

You would think that talking to my Rabbi about my research would be the most stressful and odd conversation, but it is not. Hands down, the most stressful and odd conversations are within the SSRC working group.

April 22, 2013

Can Being Asked to Pray Be Harmful?

My hope when I started my research on prayer was to learn about faith. However, anyone who does experimental research knows that it is a very long road from idea to data. After coming up with our ideas and designing our experiments, the next step in our process was to get approval from an independent review board to run experiments in which participants come into our lab and pray.

February 26, 2013

The Relationship Between Automatic and Deliberate Cognitions and Prayer

The current research brings together research on prayer, which has benefited from an expansion of the concept of prayer from a singular to a multifaceted entity (Ladd & Splika, 2002; Poloma & Pendleton, 1989) and research on cognition, which has benefited from an expansion of a view of cognition from a singular to multifaceted entity (Bargh 2007). It is proposed that different kinds of prayer will activate different kinds of cognitive processes and will thus have unique implications for moral and ethical decision making.

February 26, 2013

Experimental Social Psychologist and Person of Faith

Being a Professor at a Research University involves balancing many different identities. We are teachers, researchers, committee members, administrators, writers, and editors. Thus, I am used to balancing many different identities and I generally like doing so.