Sara M. Gorchoff
My scientific curiosity began early. When advertisements asked how many licks it took to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, I plopped down on my porch and started licking and counting. This story illustrates what I love about psychology. It allows me to apply a rigorous scientific approach to understanding the important questions in life. As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz this included investigating how museum exhibits could be designed in order to encourage parents to talk to their daughters about science. In graduate school I turned my interests to adults, studying the factors that promote marital satisfaction and well-being. My studies have taught me that building and maintaining a satisfying couple relationship is not an entirely intuitive process. One of the great joys of teaching in a small liberal arts college that aspires to prepare its students “for rich personal and professional lives” is helping students to better understand their personal relationships and how to improve them.
I am broadly interested in the factors that promote satisfying relationships and high levels of well-being. One recent interest is whether relationship-enhancing skills can be taught early in college and whether learning these skills has a positive effect on close relationships during college and after graduation.
Courses Taught: Education:
PSYC101 Introduction to Psychology
PSYC233 Social Psychology
PSYC321 Cultural Psychology
PSYC323 Psychology of Gender
PSYC415 Readings in Psychology
PSYC420 Research Seminar
BA University of California, Santa Cruz 2001
PhD University of California, Berkeley 2008
Office: Rm 131 Ctr for Sci & Busi