Sarah L. Hutson-Comeaux ’91

Sarah L. Hutson-Comeaux ’91

Associate Professor
Director of Organizational Studies
Chair of Educational Studies
Position Type
- Present
B.S., Denison University; M.S., Ph.D., Purdue University



My current research interests include (1) gender differences in social behavior, (2) the social influence processes used to change others' attitudes and behavior, and (3) the personalities of attorneys.

Gender Differences

First, I am interested in gender differences in a variety of social behaviors, as well as differences in the social evaluation of women's and men's behavior.  My research in this area has examined the content of attitudes toward men and women, gender differences in interaction patterns, and the appropriateness of women's and men's emotional reaction to life events.  My current research projects focus on the social consequences of women's and men's emotional expressions during job interviews and political campaign speeches.

  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (2005, August). Perceptions of political candidates: The consequences of emotional expression. Paper presented in the Division 9 Symposium, Gender and the Politics of Emotion, at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Kelly, J. R. (2002). Gender stereotypes of emotional reactions: How we judge an emotion as valid. Sex Roles, 47, 1-10.
  • Kelly, J. R., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (2000). The appropriateness of emotional expression in women and men: The double-bind of emotion. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 515-528.
  • Kelly, J. R., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1999). Gender-emotion stereotypes are context specific. Sex Roles, 40, 107-120.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Kelly, J. R. (1996). Sex differences in interaction style and group performance: The process-performance relationship. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality [Special Issue: Handbook of Gender Research], 11, 255-275.

Social Influence Processes

My second line of research addresses the social influence processes that individuals and groups use to change others' opinions and behavior.  I am particularly interested in the conditions under which a minority opinion holder can influence the opinion of a majority, and the social influence processes by which a minority and majority opinion holders exert their influences.  My recent work on these issues has been in the context of psychology and law.

  • Eagly, A. H., Kulesa, P., Brannon, L. A., Shaw, K., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. (2000). Why counterattitudinal messages are as memorable as proattitudinal messages: The importance of active defense against attack. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1392-1408.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1999). Majority and minority influence: Use and effectiveness of social influence processes. The Group Psychologist, 9, 11-12.
  • Kelly, J. R., Jackson, J. W., & Hutson-Comeaux, S. L. (1997). The effects of time pressure and task differences on influence modes and accuracy in decision-making groups. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 10-22.

Personalities of Attorneys

The third line of research examines the personality characteristics of attorneys.  In particular, I am interested in individual differences between trial and non-trial attorneys as well as gender differences.

  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., Bluestein, B. M., & Wagner, B. C. (2004, May). Gender differences in the personality characteristics of law students and attorneys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Society, Chicago, IL.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., & Pukay-Martin, N. D. (2003, May). Personality characteristics of trial and non-trial attorneys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, Atlanta, GA.
  • Hutson-Comeaux, S. L., Westerhaus, E. K., & Snyder, R. (2002, June). Personality characteristics of women in male- and female-dominated occupations. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, New Orleans, LA.
  • Dr. Hutson-Comeaux, a 1991 graduate of Denison, returned to join the psychology faculty in 1997.  She teaches courses in introductory psychology, personality theory, social psychology, research methods and statistics, and a seminar on the psychology of law.
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