Faculty Spotlight: Allison Farrell

photo of Allison Farrell

  • assistant professor of psychology
  • PhD in social psychology, University of Minnesota
  • teaches and conducts research on the psychology of close relationships and physical health
  • enjoys hiking and figure skating


"I have been teaching at Miami University since last fall. I'm currently teaching PSY324, a course on the psychology of close relationships, and PSY730, which is a graduate course on biomarkers in health psychology.

"I earned my bachelor's degree in psychology at Haverford College in Pennsylvania and my PhD in social psychology at the University of Minnesota. I completed my postdoctoral research at Wayne State University in Michigan, where I expanded my knowledge of using biomarkers to understand the effects of close relationships on physical health."


"At different levels, I have different aims for my students. In introductory classes, I want my students to be consumers of psychology and understand what is currently known. As they become psychology majors, I push them to be critics of psychology to consider how we gain this knowledge, and what conclusions are accurate and reasonable to draw from the data.

"I believe my upper level students should become creators of psychology, generating new research ideas to link together theories and fill gaps in the existing literature."


"My research focuses on links between close relationships, stress, and physical health. We now have a large body of evidence showing that high quality parent-child and romantic relationships are associated with better physical health, and my work aims to identify the biological and psychological pathways that explain these associations across the lifespan. I will be starting a study of how romantic relationship partner help one another deal with stressful relationship situations and the effects of biological stress responses this summer.

"Currently, I am conducting research to study how closely perception of a partner's behavior aligns to what the behavior is in truth. I am working with 9 undergraduate psych majors to code important behaviors from couples' conflict interactions, and compare our more objective ratings with what each partner reports doing. This study will provide important information about whether engaging in behaviors or perceiving behaviors is more important for relationship quality and health."

Outside the Classroom

"I am so happy to be living in Oxford and to be part of the Miami community. I like to figure skate (you can find me on the ice in Goggin two or three times per week) and really appreciate the strong skating culture at Miami. I also enjoy getting outdoors and visiting area parks, such as Hueston Woods."

[February 2020]