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48 Baxter Street, Athens, GA 30602

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Chelsea Kelly (Department of Sociology, University of Georgia), will present her talk, “Meaningful Discord: Emotion Signals and Relational Identities.”

Modern young adult romantic relationships provide an arena for relational identity formation in a context of shared interpretive meaning. This interpretation process may be especially agentic within hookup culture. However, the mechanisms involved in these relationship-identity processes are not fully understood. This talk will present results from original longitudinal data empirically examining the role of emotion in the interpretation and navigation of personal identities and interpersonal relationships.

Kelly is a doctoral candidate and social psychologist at the University of Georgia. Her research agenda lies at the intersection of culturally-based communication, dyadic relationships, and emotion. Much of her work uses affect control theory, a contemporary and mathematical symbolic interactionist theory that uncovers patterns and beliefs through measurement of affective meaning. In her dissertation, she extends this sociological theory of behavior to study modern young adult relationships and their implications for mental health and well-being. Other research projects include a semantic network analysis of emergent relationship labels, a cross-cultural study comparing United States’ predicted responses to social scenarios with those of Egypt and Morocco, a project comparing ambiguous messages in verbal and nonverbal scenarios, and a series of experiments concerned with theory validation and extension. Kelly’s primary interest, however, is in her students; her favorite classes to teach are Social Interaction and Quantitative Methods.

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