Bill is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. Bill received his PhD from the University of Michigan after attending the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has been the recipient of many awards, including Forbes’ Top 30 Scientists Under 30 and the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star Award. Bill’s work focuses on how close relationships—and the people in them—change over time and across situations. This research focuses on how factors both inside and outside individuals, from their biology to where they live, influences their approach to social relationships. He is particularly interested in the social antecedents of health, happiness, and cognition across the lifespan.
Bill can be found on Twitter (@Chops310) and at

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

I have a 22 year-old Tamagotchi.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have a Newton’s cradle (that I bought), alum crystals (that I grew), and some mold (that I didn’t grow).

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Comedy Writer

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Animal Sciences

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

My pocket! The ticket would be for San Diego

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

The ability to insert a USB stick the “right way” into a computer the first time.

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

The Last Dance. It’s so good. Michael Jordan’s the greatest. But also the greatest villain ever. Great character study and is full of nostalgia (for me, having grown up on the southside of Chicago).

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Nice walk, drinks with friends, go to bed in existential panic about how I could’ve taken a whole day off not thinking about work.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

air, water, sour patch kids (watermelon version)

15 What beverage gives you life?

Cherry slurpee from 7/11; a Michigan IPA

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

The Alchemist (grammar school),
The Stranger (high school),
Spinoza’s Ethics (college),
the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (grad school)

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

Supreme court justice

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Anxiety and sugar

19 What got you excited in science?

The novelty of discovery but, importantly, that the questions I ask are informative regardless of what the outcome is.

20 What excites you about science now?

The collaborative aspects. I was trained during a particularly intense time in psychology (i.e., the replication crisis). Many found it to be a scary time. But, in reality, it freed me to run the type of studies that I found most impressive and that I considered rigorous. This necessarily involves collaborating with others, which I really enjoy.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

That thing where you and a new friend bond over something you mutually dislike

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I’m really good at procrastinating.

23 What is your favorite game?

Codenames, Joking Hazard, Tennis, Bowling

24 What is the last book you read?

Bad Blood (John Carreyrou)

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Famous person: “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.” -Conan O’Brien

Not-as-famous person: “Other people matter–that guides most of what people do. The most rewarding things in life are done in the service of others. You know what your strengths are. Cultivate those because people like you despite your worse intentions.” -Chris Peterson

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?


27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

One day, someone is going to dare you to chug 18 cans of Red Bull. DO. NOT. DO. IT. You’ll still have heartburn from it when you’re 32.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

meditation; physical exercise

29 What is the last thing you watched?

A whole country mishandle a pandemic.

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

A thumb drive that had over 3,000 cat photos and memes.

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Gray’s sports almanac 1950-2000

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Sourcream coffee cake (from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor)

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Thursday, every Thursday

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

Grapes explode when you put them in the microwave.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Artificial strawberry

39 What is your favorite sound?

that noise an old box fan makes

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

my extremely good looks and my humility

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Probably seeing my students succeed in something

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Lone Cyrpess (Monterey) or Tree of Life (Bahrain)

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The people. Except that one guy.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I once put a “Past President” sticker on my conference name badge and got a free drink out of it.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Amy Moors (@ACMoors); Nina Strohminger (@NinaStrohminger)