Michael Kraus: Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Yale School of Management

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PROFESSOR KRAUS' RESEARCH INTERESTS INCLUDE HOW PEOPLE PERCEIVE AND EXPLAIN THE ATTAINMENT OF SOCIAL STATUS, how these status perceptions influence emotions and behavior in both cooperative and competitive settings, and how emotions guide group behavior. In particular, Professor Kraus' work explores how people born into lower socioeconomic status families tend to engage in social judgments and behaviors suggesting that they value social connections more highly than their higher socioeconomic status counterparts, and how early physical contact (e.g., high fives) between teammates on professional basketball teams predicts enhanced team performance over time. His work appears in journals such as Psychological Review, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and Emotion, and has been covered in the popular press by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the Wall Street Journal.

Professor Kraus received his BA in psychology and sociology, and his PhD in social psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Before arriving at Yale SOM, Professor Kraus was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Twitter: @mwkraus

What do you do best?

I’m at my best when I’m designing and executing experiments that involve social interactions. I think it is fascinating when we can put strangers in new social situations that inspire emotions that range from joy to anxiety. To see emotions evoked in real time across dozens of people is the best part of what I do as a researcher. From these data points we can begin to understand the basic laws that govern our social lives.

What makes you the best?

Everyone who goes into academic life is smart, creative, and innovative. I guess my secret weapon is my interest and enthusiasm: I love what I do, and so that keeps me energized and involved in research and teaching.

Biggest success?

I grew up in a small suburb in San Diego County, California, and now I am a professor at a major research university. I never imagined this in even my wildest dreams.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: To be a good father and husband.

Business: To contribute to scientific knowledge that helps people understand each other a bit better.

Most challenging moment?

I’d say being a new parent and being as driven at work as I am is the hardest thing to balance. As a new parent work and family goals often conflict with each other. I’m still trying to find a balance between the two.

Favorite Motto:

I don’t have a motto, but one of my favorite books is Fitzgerald’s the Great Gatsby and it has one of my favorite lines too: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Favorite People:

My spouse and daughter.

Favorite Places:

Berkeley, CA

Favorite Products:

Currently, happy socks

Current Passions:

Running in the winter weather