• Ashley Marie Rankin

    Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State University

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

  • What I Do

    I study the evolutionary and biological underpinnings of human relationships. My primary research aims to understand the psychobiology behind relationship quality. For example, some of my work asks the questions:

    • What are the tradeoffs inherent in the stress response system that can strengthen friendships, but may harm the individual?
    • What are the costs and benefits of venting?
    • How do people choose to allocate their resources toward different types of relationships (e.g., romantic partners and friends)?


    Much of my work deals with sex differences, cooperation, and competition. My work is funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow Program. See my full CV here.


    Links to my successful Research and Personal Statement and unsuccessful Research and Personal statement for the NSF GRFP.



    Email: Ashley.Rankin@okstate.edu

    Office: #215, 116 North Murray Hall

  • Current Research Projects

    Venting: The good, the bad, and the hormonal underpinnings

    In work published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, I explore the physiological underpinnings of venting, or co-rumination.


    In ongoing work, I am exploring the welfare trade-offs toward those being discussed and who you're venting with. Other work is exploring how the degree of venting within the friendship effects cortisol and progesterone synchrony.

    Close Friends are Hormonal

    Two hormones known to be involved in the stress response and affiliative behaviors are cortisol and progesterone. The goal of this project is to examine if higher levels of hormonal synchronization in cortisol and progesterone between friends is associated with friendship quality and co-rumination.

    Foraging for Social Partners

    I employ a budget allocation paradigm to examine how individuals prioritize different types of relationships (close friends, romantic partners, etc.) across different social contexts. Current studies are examining necessities and luxuries of social relationships.

  • Education 

    Oklahoma State University

    • Ph.D. Expected 2021
    • Masters of Science​
    Funding NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program


    University of North Texas

    Bachelor of Science

    Psychology, Anthropology