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Queen's University

Jill Jacobson


Associate Professor

B.A., (Honors), Northwestern University, 1990
M.A., Ohio State University, 1995
Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1999


» Curriculum Vitae

T: 613.533.2847 


318 Craine

Psychology Department

Queen's University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6


Research Interests

My general research interests are in the area of motivated social cognition. I am particularly interested in situational or personality factors that lead people to think more carefully and make more accurate or less biased judgments. Most of my work has focused on the social cognitive consequences of two distinct but related individual differences:  dysphoria and causal uncertainty. Dysphoria refers to mild to moderate levels of depression, and causal uncertainty pertains to confidence in one’s ability to understand why things happen to oneself and to others. Individuals with higher levels of dysphoria or causal uncertainty present an interesting paradox: They spend more time thinking about social information and are more accurate and less biased in their social judgments, but they also are more likely to be socially rejected and to experience interpersonal difficulties. My other work is in health psychology examining the psychological processes involved in end-of-life medical decision making, responses to medical tests, and living with HIV/AIDS.

Selected Publications

Jacobson, J. A. (in press). The relationship between causal uncertainty, reassurance seeking, and dysphoria. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Ditto, P. H., Jacobson, J. A., Smucker, W. D., Danks, J. H., & Fagerlin, A. (2006). Context changes choices: A prospective study of the effects of hospitalization on life-sustaining treatment preferences. Medical Decision Making, 26, 313-332.

Harkness, K. L., Sabbagh, M. A., Jacobson, J. A., Chowdrey, N., & Chen, T. (2005). Sensitivity to subtle social information in dysphoric college students: Evidence for an enhanced theory of mind. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 999-1026.

Weary, G., Jacobson, J. A., Edwards, J. A., & Tobin, S. J. (2001). Chronic and temporarily activated causal uncertainty beliefs and stereotype usage. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 206-219.

Jacobson, J. A., Weary, G., & Edwards, J. A. (1999). Certainty-related beliefs and depressive symptomatology: Concurrent and longitudinal relationships. Social Cognition, 17, 19-45.

 Area of Specialty


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000