Graduate Student (4th year)
University of Arkansas, B.A. (2016)
University of Arkansas, M.A. (2018)
Austin’s primary focus is on methodology and quantitative analysis. He teaches R programming for the two-semester graduate statistics sequence that all incoming students take their first year (which now requires the use of R, taught via a weekly “drill”/lab component).
For the research side, Austin’s research interests are broadly within the area of political psychology. Much of his research has focused on the Schwartz Theory of Basic Human Values, and Austin is interested in how these values play a role in both ideology and political engagement. For instance, what happens when an individual endorses values that conflict with one another (e.g., how do they feel about a new oil drilling initiative if their most important values are (economic) freedom and a world of beauty)? How do perceptions of discrepancies between one’s own values, and those of some out-group influence bias and prejudice, and reduce cooperativeness and willingness to compromise? How and when a politician’s value trade-offs (e.g., acknowledging that yes, stopping more drilling does limit economic freedom, but does so in the interest of a world of beauty and environmental preservation) are perceived as good or bad (garnering support or opposition) by his or her constituency?
Austin is also interested in Trope & Liberman’s Construal-Level Theory, political ideology and engagement, and revisiting Festinger’s classic theory of cognitive dissonance, specifically focusing on the less-studied element of outcome-based dissonance (as opposed to choice-based dissonance).