Social Cognition Lab


The Social Cognition lab studies how people think about people. We are particularly interested in the factors that influence people’s stereotypes and prejudices towards out group members.

Our first major area of research focuses on people’s implicit prejudices. For example, here are some questions that we are seeking to answer:

  1. Do people have prejudices that they are reluctant to report? If so, how can we devise ways to measures these prejudices? How do these biases influence behavior?

  2. What factors in the environment increase people’s biases? For example, when people play video games that portray women in a sexist manner, does this increase sexist responses?

  3. How do we decide if something is sexist/racist or not? Do majority and minority group members use different information when making this decision?

Our second major area of research examines the positive and negative consequences of being a member of a stereotyped group. Questions that we have tried to address include:

  1. Why do women endorse negative gender stereotypes? Do such stereotypes provide an excuse for failure on a stereotyped task (e.g., math test)? When endorsed after failure, do these stereotypes protect women’s self-esteem?

  2. What are the negative consequences of such stereotype endorsement? How does it impair women’s future performance on the stereotyped task?

  3. Do these effects extend to other stigmatized groups (e.g., racial minorities, older adults, mentally ill)?

We explore these questions using a variety of methods, including behavioral experiments and cognitive priming tasks. To learn more about our current projects, click on the Publications link to download papers from the lab.