Dr. Cohen received her B.A. in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After receiving her Ph.D., she spent two years at Northwestern University as a Visiting Assistant Professor & Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dispute Resolution Research Center at the Kellogg School of Management. In August 2010, Cohen joined the faculty of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University as an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory. In 2012, she was awarded the Xerox Junior Faculty Chair at the Tepper School of Business.
Cohen investigates how personality and situational factors influence unethical and competitive behavior. The two main themes of her work are: (1) understanding the role of moral character traits, such as guilt proneness, in inhibiting selfish and harmful behaviors; and (2) understanding why interactions between groups are characterized by more competition, greed, and fear compared to interactions between individuals. Her work has been published in leading psychology and management journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of Business Ethics. Cohen's 2010 article on guilt and shame in the journal Self and Identity, co-authored with Scott T. Wolf, A. T. Panter, and Chester A. Insko, was awarded "Best Paper of the Year" by the International Society for Self and Identity.
In June of 2011, Cohen was awarded a grant from The Character Project at Wake Forest University and The John Templeton Foundation for a weekly diary study examining how moral character, personality, emotions, and treatment by managers and co-workers affect the frequency with which workers engage in ethical and unethical behavior at their jobs. This research is at the intersection of social/personality psychology and organizational behavior and builds on her prior work on personality, moral emotions, and unethical behavior.