Matthias Mehl

Matthias Mehl's picture
Real name: 
Director, Social Graduate Program
Director, Naturalistic Observation of Social Interaction Laboratory


Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, May 2004
Diplom (~ M.A.), Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen, Germany, July 1998

Research Interests: 
  • Understanding how social interactions matter for personality, coping, and health
  • Identifying psychological information that is contained in and conveyed through natural word use
  • Developing behavioral research methods for studying daily life

I am a social, personality, and health psychologist who is interested in the psychological implications of our daily lives. I study individual differences in social life and the role that our social lives play for coping with upheavals and health. Methodologically, I adopt an ecological “out-of-the-lab-and-into-the-real-world” approach and develop behavioral assessment methods for studying everyday life. My work focuses on the naturalistic observation of social interactions and quantitative text analysis of natural language use.

Selected Publications: 

Mehl, M. R. (2017). The Electronically Activated Recorder or EAR: A method for the naturalistic observation of daily social behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 184-190. DOI: 10.1177/09637214166806

Mehl, M. R., Raison, C. L., Pace, T. W. W., Arevalo, J. M. G., & Cole, S. W. (2017). Natural language indicators of differential gene regulation in the human immune system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, 12554-12559. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1707373114

Mehl, M. R. & Conner, T. S. (Eds.) (2012). Handbook of research methods for studying daily life. Guilford Press: New York, NY.

Mehl, M. R., Robbins, M. L., & Deters, g. F. (2012). Naturalistic observation of health-relevant social processes: The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) methodology in psychosomatics. Psychosomatic Medicine, 74, 410-417.

Mehl, M. R., Vazire, S., Holleran, S. E., & Clark, C. S. (2010). Eavesdropping on happiness: Well-being is related to having less small talk and more substantive conversations. Psychological Science, 21, 539–541.

Mehl, M. R., Vazire, S., Ramírez-Esparza, N., Slatcher, R. B., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2007). Are women really more talkative than men? Science, 317, 82.

Mehl, M. R., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2003). The sounds of social life: A psychometric analysis of students’ daily social environments and natural conversations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 857–870.  547–577. 


Courses Taught: 

PSYC 352 – Personality
PSYC 396H -- Honors Proseminar
PSYC 596 -- Advanced Social/Personality Psychology

Research Program: