Undergraduate Degree: B.A. Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2009
Graduate Degree: Ph.D. Social Psychology, Florida State University, 2018
Postdoc in the Mind and Identity in Context Lab: 2018-present
As society becomes increasingly racially diverse, reducing racial tension and prejudice and promoting cooperation among people of different races is more important than ever. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to obtaining this goal. For example, despite an overall reduction in explicit reports of traditional prejudice toward many disadvantaged groups, disparities in education, the justice system, and employment persist, and discrimination continues to be a problem in the United States.
This bias may persist because of individual, institutional, and interpersonal barriers to obtaining equality. The goal of my research is to understand ways to address each of these barriers and is based on two premises: (1) There are multiple responses toward outgroup members that can be targeted in addition to prejudice and (2) Although many people espouse nonprejudiced beliefs, far fewer actively work to combat the deeply entrenched systemic racism that maintains the status quo and makes it difficult to fully address the inequality that disadvantaged group members face. To meet my research goals, I take a social cognitive approach. Broadly, social cognition in intergroup relations can be thought of as the mental processes that allow humans to navigate our complex and diverse social world. My work focuses on four components of social cognition: the types of concerns we have in intergroup contexts, what we attend to in those contexts, how we perceive people and places, and how we see ourselves in the social world. Importantly, my research examines how these components of intergroup social cognition can influence one another and predict people’s behavior in various intergroup contexts. Moreover, my research makes a novel contribution to the literature on intergroup social cognition by examining the relationship between each of these mental processes and people’s intergroup motivations.