Professor Emeritus

Erik WoodyBA (Reed), MS (Oxford), PhD (Duke)

Contact information

Research interests

My current research interests fall into four areas: (1) the psychology of potential threat and obsessive-compulsive disorder; (2) hypnosis, including individual differences, underlying mechanisms, and clinical applications; (3) interpersonal theory, including the social aspects of personality and processes of social interaction; and (4) the development and promulgation of novel statistical methods for application in clinical psychology.

Selected publications

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and the Security Motivation System

My collaborator in this line of research is Henry Szechtman, at McMaster University. For some years, we have been pursuing the implications of a theory of OCD we first proposed in Szechtman and Woody (2004). A comprehensive consideration of our theory and the relation of OCD to the wider psychology of potential threat is Woody & Szechtman (2011).

Hypnosis: individual differences, underlying mechanisms, and clinical applications

My interest in hypnosis was stimulated by my wonderful colleague, Ken Bowers (now deceased). I have published a wide range of experimental studies and reviews of theories of hypnosis, of which the following are a few examples:

  • Benham, G., Woody, E. Z., Wilson, K. S., & Nash, M. (2006). Expect the unexpected: Ability, attitude, and responsiveness to hypnosis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 342-350.
  • Woody, E. Z., & Barnier, A. J. (2008). Hypnosis scales for the twenty-first century: What do we need and how should we use them? In M. R. Nash & A. J. Barnier (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of hypnosis (pp. 255-281). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Sadler, P., & Woody, E. Z. (2010). Dissociation in hypnosis: Theoretical frameworks and psychotherapeutic implications (PDF). In J. W. Rhue, S. J. Lynn, & I. Kirsch (Eds.), Handbook of clinical hypnosis (2nd ed.) (pp. 151-268). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Woody, E. Z., & Szechtman, H. (2011). Using hypnosis to develop and test models of psychopathology. Journal of Mind-Body Regulation, 1(1). Available at The Journal of Mind-Body Regulation website.

Interpersonal Theory and Processes of Social Interaction

I first learned about interpersonal theory from Bob Carson in graduate school at Duke University, but it was collaboration with my former student Pamela Sadler, now at Wilfrid Laurier University, that resulted in the following program of research. Sadler, Ethier, and Woody (2011) provide a good overview of our work.

  • Sadler, P., & Woody, E. Z. (2003). Is who you are who you’re talking to? Interpersonal style and complementarity in mixed-sex interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 80-96.
  • Sadler, P., & Woody, E. Z. (2008). It takes two: A dyadic, SEM-based perspective on personality development. In N. A. Card, T. D. Little, & J. Selig (Eds.), Dyadic and interdependent data in developmental research (pp. 127-150). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Sadler, P., Ethier, N., Gunn, G., Duong, D., & Woody, E. Z. (2009). Are we on the same wavelength? Complementarity as shared cyclical patterns within an interaction (PDF). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 1005-1020.
  • Sadler, P., Ethier, N., & Woody, E. Z. (2011). Interpersonal complementarity (PDF). In L. M. Horowitz & S. N. Strack (Eds.), Handbook of interpersonal psychology: Theory, research, assessment, and therapeutic interventions (pp. 123-142). New York: Wiley.

Statistical models for application in Clinical Psychology

Because research in clinical psychology raises some unusual challenges for data analysts, one of my main interests is developing and explaining relatively novel statistical methods that clinical data often require. With Andy Field, I recently served as an editor for a special issue on statistical and research methods for experimental psychopathology, which I heartily recommend (see Field & Woody, 2011).

  • Woody, E. Z., & Sadler, P. (2005). Structural equation models for interchangeable dyads: Being the same makes a difference. Psychological Methods, 10, 139-158.
  • Field, A. P., & Woody, E. Z. (2011). Editorial (for special issue on statistical and research methods for experimental psychopathology). Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 2(2), 93-94. ISSN: 2043-8087. Available at the Journal of Experimental Psychopathology website.
  • Woody, E. Z. (2011). An SEM perspective on evaluating mediation: What every clinical researcher needs to know. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 2(2), 210-251. doi: 10.5127/jep.010410 (Please send me an email at ewoody@uwaterloo.ca if you would like a pdf.)
  • Sadler, P., Ethier, N., & Woody, E. Z. (2011). Tracing the interpersonal web of psychopathology: Dyadic data analysis methods for clinical researchers. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 2(2), 95-138. doi: 10.5127/jep.010310 (Please send me an email at ewoody@uwaterloo.ca if you would like a pdf.)
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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