Born and raised on the windward side of Oʻahu, I am a proud graduate of the public school system. My career as a professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been spent seeking to understand and improve our communication with others in the classroom, in my research, in the community, and in my professional and personal life. I focus on expanding people’s communication repertoire and dispelling myths about what is supposedly good and bad communication. I have conducted communication skills trainings and consulted for many organizations, including Hawaiʻi Pacific Health, Kaiser Permanente, Department of Education, UH Cancer Center, and Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture. I also volunteer at the Mediation Center of the Pacific.
- PhD, Communication, University of Arizona, 1996
- MA, Speech, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1991
- BBA, Marketing, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1989
Nonverbal communication; conflict; relational management; and deception.
The questions that drive my research focus on the role and function of communication during problematic events in personal relationships and whether some of the communication truisms extolled in our everyday lives are valid. One of the main themes in my research is the reinforcement of the fundamental idea that people influence and adapt to each other, particularly in intercultural interactions and between dating partners. Another theme in my research is the analysis of how cultural prescriptions about relationships and conversational interactions are managed in “real life” relationships via such topics as relational breakups, new relationships, deception, conflicts, empathy, and apologies. A final theme in my research is the analysis of how nonverbal behaviors, such as touch, smell, eye contact, and physical appearance, affect behaviors and judgments in interactions with others.