Megan Knowles Associate Professor of Psychology



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.

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.