Psychology Prof Named CIFAR Fellow

March 17, 2008 - Campus Bulletin

Psychology professor Leanne Son Hing has been named a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Successful Societies program.

CIFAR funds leading scholars so they can pursue fundamental questions about society, technology and the nature of humanity and the universe.

"As a CIFAR Fellow, Leanne is now part of a very select group of scholars who do frontier work in their field," said Michele Lamont, a Harvard University professor who is co-director of the program. "We chose her after an extensive national search among untenured researchers across a wide range of disciplines. She is very engaged and engaging and helps us connect to a wide range of literatures that move our research agenda in new and unexpected directions. We are very proud of having her on board."

Launched in 2002, the Successful Societies program brings together a diverse group of scholars to work on research projects aimed at understanding the determinants of societal success in order to revolutionize future research and also guide public policy to create more just, efficient and effective societies.

The researchers come from universities across North America and include specialists working in cultural studies, epidemiology, developmental psychology, cultural and political sociology, philosophy, history, economics and political science.

Son Hing was asked to join the program as a scholar in 2005 and this month was promoted to Fellow. This designation is a five-year term with an annual grant of $40,000.

"I am very grateful for this funding because it allows me to continue to study what I am passionate about," said Son Hing.

Her research focuses on social justice issues relevant to organizational settings. Some of the areas she has explored include how people's prejudices influence their discriminatory behaviour, how people in organizational settings come to make unethical decisions, how stereotypes about women negatively affect their work performance, and how people's concerns with justice influence their reactions to diversity initiatives.

"The program itself has been beneficial in that it has taught me to consider the big picture or macro-level processes to understand phenomena. Even though I'm interested in studying the behaviour of individuals, it's important to consider the social systems and contexts they operate in."

As a CIFAR Fellow, Son Hing meets with the selected group members three times a year to discuss the direction of their research as well as her current findings.

Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. She has also co-authored chapters on prejudice and justice. She has also received an Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Psychology.

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