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Current Research Topics

"There are two statements about human beings that are true: that all human beings are alike, and that all are different. On those two facts all human wisdom is founded."

                                                                                                                                              -Mark Van Doren, American Poet


In the SCIP Lab, we are interested in understanding how an individual's psychology is shaped by his or her social group memberships. More specifically, we investigate how these social group memberships, such as race and gender, influence individuals' social perception and behavior. Our research seeks to improve scientific understanding of diverse perspectives and provide empirical findings relevant to social issues. Below are a few research questions currently under investigation in the lab. For more in-depth reading, please visit our Publications page.

Social Perception of Others


  • How do individuals categorize people who are racially ambiguous? What social and individual differences influence the racial categories that people readily use?

  • What information do people spontaneously infer from others' faces and single behaviors? What consequences do these inferences have for subsequent interactions?

Social Perception of Groups


  • On what basis do people decide that their groups are diverse, and does their definition of diversity depend on whether they are a majority or minority group member?

  • Why do some minorities approach and others avoid domains in which they are stereotyped?

Social Interaction


  • What factors allow people to excel in achievement contexts, and do these factors differ for majority and minority group members?

  • Are there cultural differences in the ways that people benefit from their close relationships?

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