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Shira Gabriel

Professor of Psychology
University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences


Social psychology, social connections, sense of self, the need to belong, comfort food

Head shot of Shira Gabriel, University at Buffalo social psychology and social connection expert.

Shira Gabriel is an expert in social psychology.

Her research focuses on people’s social nature, examining topics that range from the need to belong to how our relationships shape our feelings about ourselves and vice versa. Her team also studies the psychological importance of spending time in large, anonymous crowds such as at concerts, sporting events, rallies and religious gatherings.

Much of Gabriel’s research is guided by the proposition that humans are a fundamentally social species and thus a great deal of human behavior can be best understood as being in service of connecting to others. She posits that even when people think they are not being social — for example, when they watch TV, surf the web or eat comfort food — social motivations lie behind those actions.


Shira Gabriel, PhD
Professor of Psychology
University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences