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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Robert Fuhrman, Ph.D.

Professor
Department of Psychology

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: (210) 458-7352
Office: MH 4.03.50
Office hours: T/TH 3:45-4:30 & by appt.

Research area: Social Cognition, Personality, Interpersonal Relationships

About
Teaching
Research
Publications
Additional Information
  • Biography

    Bob Fuhrman received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.  His training was in Social Psychology with additional work in Cognitive Psychology, Personality, and Psychological Measurement.  His graduate research, conducted under the supervision of Bob Wyer and Tom Srull, investigated the cognitive processes and memory structures used when people make social and personality judgments about themselves and other people.   This work touched on issues pertaining to stereotyping and confirmatory search biases and explored the manner in which people organize and use behavior-based episodic events for judgments pertaining to both self and others (cf. Wyer, R.W., Shoben, E.J., Fuhrman, R.W. & Bodenhausen, G.V., 1985; Fuhrman, R.W. & Wyer, R.S., 1988).

    Following his graduate work, Bob served as a postdoctoral fellow at The Ohio State University.  He collaborated with Tom Ostrom, Constantine Sedikides, and Patricia Devine on a series of person memory projects, several of which examined the memory structures and motivational factors involved when people form impressions of others with whom they expect to interact (cf. Devine, P.G., Sedikides, C. & Fuhrman, R.W., 1989; Sedikides, C., Devine, P.G., & Fuhrman, R.W., 1991).   Bob returned to Illinois as a postdoctoral fellow and pursued several projects that investigated the relationship between trait judgments made about the self and the retrieval of specific biographical events (Klein, S., Loftus, J., Trafton, G., & Fuhrman, R.W., 1992).  He also compared the cognitive processes that underlie trait judgments made about the self with those used by friends to make trait judgments about the target person (Fuhrman, R.W. & Funder, D.C., 1995).

    More recently Bob has collaborated with Dorothy Flannagan on a line of research that investigates the cognitive, affective, and normative factors that influence how people regulate their romantic relationships, cross-sex friendships, and same-sex friendships.   To date, this research program has led to the completion of 11 Masters’ thesis projects and the initiation of 4 others (all currently in progress).  Three of the completed projects have been published and 4 are being prepared for journal review (see Bob’s profile page for a list of the relevant publications and conference papers that have been co-authored with students).  The overall pattern of results from these studies indicate that romantic partners play a central role in a person’s self-identity and general emotional well-being, much more so than the contributions made by either cross-sex or same-sex friends.   For example, compared to friends, people have much higher behavior expectations for romantic partners, feel more disappointed when these expectations are not met, feel more anxious about the potential loss of a romantic partner, and act less distant or avoidant with a romantic partner.  Several projects are currently exploring the possibility that these differences may be due to the higher levels of exclusivity and long-term emotional investments that are commonly associated with partners in romantic relationships.  In addition, we are investigating possible differences in how people regulate cross-sex and same-sex friendships when they are not involved in a romantic relationship.  Several of our studies suggest that people have higher expectations of their cross-sex friends and feel more anxious about the potential loss of these relationships when they do not have a romantic partner.   In contrast, regardless of whether or not people have a romantic partner, no differences were found in the generally low expectations and anxiety shown toward partners in same-sex friendships.  

    In a second line of research Bob has investigated the social and cognitive factors that influence the driving decisions and road behavior of people.  One of Bob’s graduate students, Michael Anthony, conducted a thesis project that found that people often have well-established and highly-articulated stereotypes of other people who drive certain types of vehicles.  Minivan drivers, for example, are often assumed to be friendly and cautious whereas sports car drivers are often assumed to be unfriendly and reckless.  Bob and Michael also investigated the use of vehicle stereotypes in traffic situations where people must make quick driving decisions.  Some situations involve alternative yielding patterns as vehicles exit a freeway and merge into traffic on an access road.  Other situations involve alternative patterns of lane merging as drivers encounter lane closures or make unexpected exits from an interior lane of highways.  We found that the nature of the vehicles involved in these situations do, in fact, influence the driving decisions made.  For example, people are more likely to ‘cut-in-front’ of minivans than sports cars or SUVs.  More recently, Jarryd Willis, another graduate student, conducted a follow-up project and found that the stereotypes associated with the different types of vehicles have not changed significantly over the past 10 years. In addition, Erica Schneid, a former undergraduate honors student, found that the exterior colors of a vehicle can enhance or inhibit the use of stereotypes commonly associated with the vehicle.  For example, sports car stereotypes are enhanced when the sports car is painted red but minivan stereotypes are inhibited when the minivan is painted red.  

    Prior to his appointment as department chair, Bob received internal support for his research, including a faculty developmental leave award from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He has been a reviewer for a number of professional journals, including The American Journal of Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Research in Personality, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Social Cognition, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Personal relationships, and the Journal of Social Personal Relations.  He is a member of American Psychological Society (APS), Society for Personality & Social Psychology (SPSP), and the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA).

    Bob’s current teaching interests include Social Psychology, Personality, Social Cognition, Attitudes, Intimate Relationships, Motivation and Emotion, Evolutionary Psychology, Measurement Theory, and Research Design.  He won the Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 1995 from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award in 1998 from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

    Degrees

    • Ph.D. in Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • M.A. in Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • B.A. in Psychology, Saint Louis University
  • Recent Courses

    • 4193  Relationships
    • 4213 Social Cognition
    • 5323  Individual Differences & Assessment (MS level)
    • 5333 Social Psychology (MS level)
    • 6113  Psychological Measurement (MS level)
  • Research in Progress

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  • Recent Publications

    Recent Articles and Chapters ( * denotes student co-author )

    • Fuhrman, R.W., Flannagan, D., & Matamoros, M.* (2009).  Behavior expectations in cross-sex friendships, same-sex friendships, and romantic relationships.  Personal Relationships, 16, 1350-4126.
    • Flannagan, D., Marsh, D.*, & Fuhrman, R.W.  (2005).  Judgments about the hypothetical behaviors of friends and romantic partners.  Journal of Social and Personal Relations, 22, 797-815.
    • Fuhrman, R. W.  (2003). The Social Psychology of Personality.  Chapter in the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems.  Publication  sponsored by UNESCO as a behavioral science resource for policy makers in international support agencies.
    • Bradley, L.A.*, Flannagan, D., & Fuhrman, R.W. (2001).  Judgment biases and characteristics of friendships of Mexican American and Anglo-American girls and boys.  Journal of Early Adolescence, 21 (4), 405-424.

    Recent Conference Papers ( * denotes student co-author )

    • Willis, J.T.*, Fuhrman, R.W., Prince, J.B.*, & Smith, K.D.*, (May 2010). Comparing attachment patterns in relationships involving primary caregivers, friends, and romantic partners.  Paper presented at the 22nd annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston.
    • Fuhrman, R.W., Vale, S.*, & Flannagan, D.A. (May, 2010).  Perceived ease of changing partners and friends.  Paper presented at the 2010 annual convention of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
    • Fuhrman, R.W., Willis, J.T.*, & Anthony, M. (May, 2010).  Revisiting the traits commonly associated with vehicle stereotypes.  Paper presented at the 2010 annual convention of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.
    • Fuhrman, R.W., Smith, K.*, Flannagan, D.A., Willis, J.T.* (Jan 2010). Patterns of insecure attachment that distinguish friendships from romantic relationships.  Paper presented at the 2010 annual Social Psychology and Personality Conference, Las Vegas.
    • Vale, S.*, Fuhrman, R.W., & Flannagan, D.A. (May, 2009).  Ideal traits for romantic partners and friends.  Paper presented at the 21st annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco.
    • Smith, K.D. *, Fuhrman, R.W.,  Sanford, L.*, & Whitchurch, M.* (May, 2009).  Comparing attachment across relationship domains:  Measure of attachment for romantic partners, same-sex friends, and opposite-sex friends.  Paper presented at the 21st annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco.
    • Flannagan, D.A., Fuhrman, R.W., & Vaughn, M.* (May, 2009).  Symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder predict friendship quality and expectations for friends.  Paper presented at the 21st annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco.
    • Chance, M.E.*, Flannagan, D.A., & Fuhrman, R.W.  (May, 2009).  Expectations for friends and romantic partners:  Developmental Patterns.  Paper presented at the 21st annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco.
    • Fuhrman, R.W., Flannagan, D.A., Vale, S.*, & Smith, K.* (May, 2008).  Relationship expectations differentially predict later relationship quality.  Paper presented at the 20th annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago.
    • Flannagan, D.A., Matamoros, M.*, & Fuhrman, R.W. (May, 2008).  Having a romantic partner moderates expectations for opposite-sex friends.  Paper presented at the 20th annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago.
    • Schneid, E.* & Fuhrman, R.W. (May, 2008). Vehicle type and color affect driver trait attributions.  Paper presented at the 20th annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago.
    • Moring, J.C.*, & Fuhrman, R.W. (May, 2008). Coping strategies revisited:  A five component approach.  Paper presented at the 20th annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago.
  • Honors and Awards

    • Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award, 1995
    • Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award, 1998
    • Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 1998

    Department Service 

    • 2011 - Present   Committee Chair, PSY External Program Review Committee, UTSA
    • 2009 - Present   Committee Member, Room Scheduling Committee, UTSA - Psychology
    • 2003 - Present   Committee Chair, Department Chair, UTSA
    • 2002 - Present   Committee Chair, Psychology PhD Proposal Committee, UTSA - Psychology
    • 2001 - Present   Committee Chair, Psychology Faculty - Student Picnic Committee, UTSA - Psychology


    College Service

    • 2003 - Present   Committee Member, Advisory Council, UTSA - COLFA
    • 2003 - Present   Committee Member, Social Science Committee, UTSA - COLFA


    University Service 

    • 2009 - Present   Member, University Classroom & Space Scheduling Committee, UTSA
    • 2003 - Present   Chair, Department of Psychology, UTSA


    Professional Service

    • 1986 - Present   Member, American Psychological Society (APS)
    • 1986 - Present   Reviewer, Journal Article, Journal of Applied Social Psychology
    • 1986 - Present   Reviewer, Journal Article, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
    • 1986 - Present   Reviewer, Journal Article, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
    • 1986 - Present   Reviewer, Journal Article, Journal of Research in Personality
    • 1986 - Present   Member, Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA)
    • 1986 - Present   Reviewer, Journal Article, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
    • 1986 - Present   Reviewer, Journal Article, Social Cognition
    • 1986 - Present   Member, Society for Personality & Social Psychology (SPSP)
    • 1986 - Present   Reviewer, Journal Article, The American Journal of Psychology


    Professional Memberships

    • 1986 - Present   American Psychological Society
    • 1986 - Present   Midwestern Psychological Association
    • 1986 - Present   Society for Personality & Social Psychology