I am currently a first year PhD student in the industrial/organizational psychology program at Virginia Tech University.

My current research interests fall under the very broad topic of interpersonal gratitude.

More specifically, my research interests have diverged into two main areas: restaurant gratuity and interpersonal gratitude in the context of work.

Concerning restaurant gratuity, I am interested in the role societal norms play in tipping behavior in North America. In North America, the expectation to tip is almost mandatory. With that in mind, previous research has suggested that tipping behavior may not be linked with waitstaff service at all! With that in mind, I wish to show the impact of societal norms on tipping behavior to show that our perception of what other people tips drives our tip amount rather than the waitstaff quality.

On the other hand, my interest in interpersonal gratitude in the context of work is driven by the fact that I believe that we are not grateful enough. Did you know that in a study conducted at a crosswalk at Virginia Tech, only 5% of people thanked the driver?!

We work the majority of our life and for the majority of our days, so I believe this is a great way to capture the impact of interpersonal gratitude. Have you ever felt that fuzzy feeling when you have been thanked? Or even thanking someone else? My primary research seeks to try and quantify this ‘fuzzy feeling’. I hypothesize that increasing interpersonal gratitude can not only improve subjective well-being, but improve job satisfaction and work productivity and decrease employee turnover. Best of all – it is free to say thank you!!

Please find below my proposal for my restaurant gratitude research project below!

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