Michael J. Poulin, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology and director of the Stress, Coping, and Prosocial Engagement (SCoPE) Lab at the University at Buffalo.
A unifying theme in his research is that of responding to adversity. Research in his SCoPE Lab investigates this theme in two ways: by investigating the processes by which people respond to the adversity of others, and by examining the resources through which people manage their own adversity. Their research on responses to the adversity of others, or prosocial engagement, focuses on the concepts of empathy and compassion, and seeks to provide detailed understandings of these phenomena, especially by understanding the ways in which acting empathically or with compassion involve navigating the tension between self- and other-focused goals. Their research on how people manage their own adversity, or research on stress and coping, has uncovered diverse phenomena that can serve as coping resources. However, much of their work focuses on the ways in which prosocial engagement itself can serve as a stress buffer, including by reducing self-focus and lessening the effects of stress on health outcomes.