• knowles, meghan
Associate Professor of Psychology



Office: LSP123


Ph.D.     Social Psychology, Northwestern University,  2007

M.S.      Social Psychology, Northwestern University, 2003

B.A.       Psychology and Sociology (Summa Cum Laude), University of Kentucky, 2001


Since arriving to Franklin & Marshall College in 2009, I have built a question-driven research program pertaining to social rejection and belonging regulation. Within this broader program of research, I have developed projects within multiple lines of research. These projects and their major goals are as follows:

  1. Enhanced social monitoring – Demonstrate that heightened belonging needs activate a social monitoring system that improves the decoding of social cues and shifts attention to others. Examine the social, cognitive, and perceptual consequences of an other-focus.
  2. Indirect means of belonging regulation – Examine ways in which individuals maintain a subjective sense of belonging by affirming their relationships.
  3. Social surrogacy – Examine non-human sources of connection (e.g., parasocial attachments to TV characters and to stimuli within the natural environment).
  4. Motivational hierarchy – Examine if and when belonging needs take precedence over esteem needs.
  5. Belonging and embodiment – Bridge the belonging and embodiment literatures.


Knowles, M. L., Haycock, N., & Shaikh, I. (in press). Does Facebook magnify or mitigate threats to belonging? Social Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000246

Knowles, M. L., Lucas, G. M., Baumeister, R. F., & Gardner, W. L. (2015). Choking under social pressure: Social monitoring among the lonely. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 805-821. doi: 10.1177/0146167215580775.

Knowles, M. L. (2014). Social rejection increases perspective taking. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 55, 126-132. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2014.06.008.  

Knowles, M. L., Green, A., & Weidel, A. (2014). Social rejection biases estimates of interpersonal distance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 158-167. doi: 10.1177/1948550613491972.  

Knowles, M. L. (2013). Belonging regulation through the use of (para)social surrogates. In C. N. DeWall (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Social Exclusion (pp. 275-285). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

vanDellen, M., Knowles, M. L., Krusemark, E., Sabet, R. F., Campbell, W. K., McDowell, J. E., & Clementz, B. A. (2012). Trait self-esteem moderates decreases in self-control following rejection: An information processing account. European Journal of Personality, 26, ­123-132. doi: 10.1002/per.1845.  

Knowles, M. L. (2011). Not even Gregory House is an island: The role of social support in House. In T. Cascio & L. L. Martin (Eds.), Psychology and House: Humanity is overrated (pp. 95-113). New York: Wiley.

Lucas, G. M., Knowles, M. L., Gardner, W. L., Molden, D. C., & Jefferis, V. E. (2010). Increasing social engagement among lonely individuals: The role of acceptance cues and promotion motivations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1346-1359. doi: 10.1177/0146167210382662 .

Knowles, M. L., Lucas, G. M., Molden, D. C., Gardner, W. L., & Dean, K. K. (2010). There’s no substitute for belonging: Self-affirmation following social and non-social threats. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 173-186. doi: 10.1177/0146167209346860.  

Blackhart, G. C., Knowles, M. L., Nelson, B. C., & Baumeister, R. F. (2009). Rejection elicits emotional reactions but neither causes immediate distress nor lowers self-esteem: A meta-analysis review of 192 studies on social exclusion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 13, 269-309. doi: 10.1177/1088868309346065.  

Molden, D. C., Lucas, G. M., Gardner, W. L., Dean, K., & Knowles, M. L. (2009). Motivations for prevention or promotion following social exclusion: Being rejected versus being ignored. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 415-431. doi: 10.1037/a0012958.  

Knowles, M. L., & Gardner, W. L. (2008). Benefits of membership: The activation and amplification  of group identities in response to social rejection. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1200-1213. doi: 10.1177/0146167208320062.  

Gardner, W. L., & Knowles, M. L. (2008). Love makes you real: Favorite television characters are perceived as “real” in a social facilitation paradigm. Social Cognition, 26, 156-168. doi: 10.1521/soco.2008.26.2.156.  

Knowles, M. L., & Gardner, W. L. (2007). Rejection. In R. F. Baumeister & K. D. Vohs (Eds.), Encyclopedia of social psychology (pp. 738-740). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gardner, W. L., Pickett, C. L., Jefferis, V., & Knowles, M. (2005). On the outside looking in: Loneliness and social monitoring. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1549-1560. doi: 10.1177/0146167205277208.

Gardner, W. L., Pickett, C. L., & Knowles, M. (2005). Social snacking and shielding: Using social symbols, selves, and surrogates in the service of belonging needs. In K. D. Williams, J. P. Forgas, & W. von Hippel, (Eds.), The social outcast: Ostracism, social exclusion, rejection, and bullying (pp. 227-241). New York, NY: Psychology Press. 

Pickett, C. L., Gardner, W. L., & Knowles, M. L. (2004). Getting a cue: The need to belong and enhanced sensitivity to social cues. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1095-1107. doi: 10.1177/0146167203262085.  

Ashburn-Nardo, L., Knowles, M. L., & Monteith, M. J. (2003). Black Americans’ implicit racial associations and their implications for intergroup judgment. Social Cognition, 21, 61-87. doi: 10.1521/soco.