Karly A. Cochran, M.A.

Karly A. Cochran, M.A.

Fourth Year Graduate Student
Kent State University
Dept. of Psychological Sciences

Karly Cochran received her B.A. in psychology from the University of North Alabama in 2012 and M.A. in experimental psychology from Appalachian State University in 2014. She is currently a doctoral candidate in psychological sciences at KSU.

Her main goal is to conduct research that moves people toward a spiritual, psychological, and physical quality of life by exploring the ways we can thrive and grow in our social relationships.  

Karly was first exposed to social psychology in a small, seminar-style course at UNA. While there, she engaged in ongoing discussions of a seminal 1995 review paper, in which the authors, Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary, presented the need to belong as a fundamental motivator of all human behavior—regardless of a person’s race, religion, age, culture, or situation. Those early discussions marked an educational turning point that sparked her passionate pursuit of knowledge and training in social psychological research. Although much has changed throughout her graduate-level training, she has remained convinced that all paths to wellbeing depend on a person’s opportunities to establish a sincere sense of love and belonging with others. 

With respect to this basic principle, Karly views spiritual, psychological, and physical wellbeing as facets of a person’s social health—or one’s ability to maintain satisfying relationships with other people. As such, she seeks to address problems associated with ill-being by investigating the emotional and cognitive processes that promote resilience in relationships.  

Overcoming Relationship Adversity through Forgiveness
Karly is especially interested in strategies for navigating the emotional hardships that follow betrayal. In the past, she has examined different perspective-taking strategies and the mechanisms through which they foster forgiveness in victims. 

In addition to studying different techniques that combat resentment, she is interested in how our response to betrayal influences physical health. Her most recent project meta-analyzed the links between forgiveness, resentment, and victims’ cardiovascular activity. Resentment was associated with increased cardiovascular activity—especially for women— while forgiveness was associated with decreased cardiovascular activity—especially for men.

Authenticity in Relationships (AIR) and Current Directions
One basic tenet of Karly’s approach is that conflict is inevitable—and sometimes necessary. In addition to examining the negative consequences of avoiding conflict entirely, she is interested in understanding how people can authentically navigate conflicts of interests with each other and come together in light of their differences. 

Karly is currently constructing hypotheses related to authentic forgiveness and the implications for physical health. Her doctoral dissertation examines how inauthentic interactions with a romantic relationship partner affect heart health by creating resentment in one or both partners. 

In the future, she aims to further investigate the distinction between people who have an authentic sense of belonging in their relationships and people who conform to the needs and interests of their relationship partners (e.g., significant others or friends) for the sake of harmony, but at the expense of authenticity. One day, she hopes to develop accessible strategies that facilitate authenticity in personal, academic, and professional relationships. 

Other Activities
In addition to her primary research interests, Karly enjoys teaching and learning about new and advanced methodologies and how we can best apply them to our research questions. 
She conquered her undergraduate fear and specialized in quantitative methodology. From the shoulders of her own teachers, she strongly believes that any student can come to understand statistics intuitively, with the right approach, and applies this philosophy in her own teaching, tutoring, and learning.

She is also a passionate advocate for the up-and-coming initiatives that facilitate good science and is an active participant in the Open Science Framework. 
In her spare time, she enjoys boxing, reading, creating music, Alabama Football, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets, Murphy (a Husky-American Bulldog mix) and Lola (a ninja-cat combo).