Dr. Pontari is a social psychologist whose research interests address the reality that how people present themselves to others during social interaction has critical repercussions for their personal and professional life. She was drawn to this area of psychology because of the implications that coming across well to others has on intra- and inter-personal outcomes.

Dr. Pontari began her career in psychology at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York where she graduated with a B.A. in psychology. She was fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct independent research with two faculty members there: Dr. Anne Fontana and Dr. Carrie Keating. These experiences led her to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology.

Dr. Pontari then attended the University of Florida in Gainesville and completed her M.S. and Ph.D. under the tutelage of Barry Schlenker. The Florida program prepared her well for a career in academics. Dr. Pontari's goal was to teach at a university similar to Colgate and provide students with some of the experiences she obtained as an undergraduate. Landing at Furman was the perfect fit to pursue this goal. She has been at Furman since she graduated from Florida in 2001.

Name Title Description

PSY-111

General Psychology

Comprehensive introduction to psychology as a behavioral science through a survey of historical, empirical, and theoretical perspectives of psychological research. Topics include: biological bases of behavior, development, learning, personality, cognition, perception, motivation, behavior disorders, and social psychology. Students must either participate in research projects or write summaries of published research articles.

PSY-201

Research Mthds & Statistics I

Introduction to the principles of science, research design, data collection with animals and/or humans, statistical analysis, and scientific writing. Designed to acquaint students with the scientific methods used to study behavior; covers the fundamental methodological, statistical, and writing skills necessary for most advanced psychology courses. Lab work, computer analysis of data, and written reports of laboratory projects are integral to the course.

PSY-202

Research Mthds & Statistics II

Continuation of first research methods and statistics course. Introduction to the principles of science, research design, data collection with animals and humans, statistical analysis, and scientific writing. Designed to acquaint students with the scientific methods used to study behavior; covers the fundamental methodological, statistical, and writing skills necessary for most advanced psychology courses. Lab work, computer analysis of data, and written reports of laboratory projects are integral to the course.

PSY-212

Social Psychology

Study of individual human behavior as it affects and is affected by other people. Topics include the self, attitudes, group dynamics, prejudice, interpersonal attraction, impression formation, attribution, aggression, and prosocial behavior.

PSY-403

Perspective on Self & Identity

Advanced study of current and classic research on the self, particularly the processes involved in maintaining positive self-views. Topics may include the biases inherent in attributions, memories, and self-assessments, and the possible drawbacks associated with such biases. Read and discuss primary literature. Taught in seminar format.

My area of research is self-presentation and impression management - or the process of conveying identities and images to others. Broadly, I am interested in understanding what makes people more or less successful at managing their social interactions.

My current research projects span several areas. I am interested in how close others help or hinder people in social life. For example, with a close friend present, do we perform better in important social situations? Do close others allay our social fears or worsen them? I've specifically examined how friends and partners may help each other come across well to others by strategically altering the way they describe each other to important audiences. Finally, I have applied these areas to better understand those who have difficulty with self-presentation – the socially anxious. Friends’ assistance in social life may be crucial for socially anxious people to enter into and navigate social life.

I have also examined how people deal with social situations in which they interact with several people simultaneously who have different preferences for or expectations of them. Called the "Multiple Audience Problem," despite being something people often encounter, the literature has not addressed how people manage such situations. Therefore, my lab has begin to explore the strategies people use when faced with the MAP.

Finally, many of my thesis students have explored research questions related to self-presentation that go beyond my specific research areas. For example, students have explored how people manage impressions of being environmentally concerned, how mimicking behaviors relate to self-presentation, and if people form negative impressions of people with diabetes (Type I and/or II).

  • Pontari, B.A., & *Glenn, E.J. (2012). Engaging in Less Protective Self-Presentation: The Effects of a Friend’s Presence on the Socially Anxious. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34, 516-526
  • Pontari, B. A., Stanaland, A. J.S., & Smythe, T. (2009). Regulating information disclosure in mutual fund advertising in the United Stats: Will consumers utilize cost information? Journal of Consumer Policy, 32, 333-351
  • Pontari, B. A. (2009). Appearing socially competent: The effects of a friend’s presence on the socially anxious. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 283-294
  • Pontari, B.A., & Rasmussen, P. R. (2009). Competition reconsidered: A perspective from psychology. In: W. Worthen, A. S. Henderson, P.R. Rasmussen, & T.L Benson (Eds.), Competition: A Multidisciplinary Analysis, pp: 47-59
  • Brewer, C. L., Einstein, G. O., & Pontari, B. A. (2007). Successful mode ls: Furman University. In R. L. Miller, R. F. Rycek, E. Balcetis, S. Barney, B. Beins, S. Burns, R. Smith, & M. E. Ware (Eds.), Developing, promoting, and sustaining the undergraduate experience in psychology. Syracuse, NY: Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Available on the Web site: http://www.teachpsych.org/teachpsych/pnpp/Pon183
  • Pontari, B.A., & Schlenker, B.R. (2004). Providing and Withholding Impression Management Support for Romantic Partners: Gender of the Audience Matters. Journal of Experimental & Social Psychology, 40, 41-51
  • Pontari, B.A., Schlenker, B.R., & Christopher, A.N. (2002). Excuses and character: Identifying the problematic aspects of excuses. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21, 497-516.
Education
Ph.D.
University of Florida
M.S.
University of Florida
B.A.
Colgate University

Connect with Admission

Furman University is one of the nation's premier undergraduate liberal arts colleges. We offer outstanding academics, opportunities for a broad range of talented students with a passion for learning, a robust arts program, and NCAA Division I athletics.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now