Jennifer Monahan

Creative Research Medal 2007

Jennifer Monahan, Associate Professor of Speech Communication and Fellow of the Institute for Behavioral Research, designed and implemented aunique research program examining how communication and social perceptions change when people are under the influence of alcohol. Her work culminated in a new model of alcohol and strategic communication behavior. The Alcohol and Communication Choices Model does away with the simple-minded view of alcohol as a social lubricant. Through her work, researchers now understand that, relative to being sober, inebriated people tend to focus more on themselves — and to overestimate their ability to achieve their goals while underestimating social cues relative to power and dominance. Monahan’s work has important implications for public health issues such as date rape, drunk driving, marital fidelity, shyness and social stress, aggression and spousal abuse, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.