A puzzle that has occupied me ever since I started with psychology is how it is possible to understand social behavior by explaining individual processes. Another puzzle has been why one should focus on stills when human behavior is a movie: behavior is self evidently dynamic and highly responsive to contextual variations. Finally, I have been puzzled how it is possible to think that all there might be to psychological processes is some symbolic computation taking place somewhere between the ears.
I have come to conceptualize the social in terms of jointly recruited processes rather than individual ones (Semin & Cacioppo, 2008); that social behavior is situated and psychological processes are embodied (Semin, 2007; Smith & Semin, 2004). Within these broad parameters my empirical research is primarily driven by an interest in communication, social cognition, and language and the diverse uses that language can be put to in social interaction (ranging from the regulation of prejudice to that of interpersonal relationships) as well as the embodied grounding of meaning and communication.