My goal is to conduct top-quality research in close collaboration with students. As a supervisor, I believe it is my role to help students to develop their skills, self-efficacy, and autonomy. I try to create an environment in my lab that is supportive and challenging. Students who work with me get a lot of guidance and feedback - from me and from other students in the lab. I expect students in my lab to be motivated, organized, courteous of others, hardworking, and to have burning intellectual curiosity. Junior students are expected to work with me to develop a shared line of research. Senior students have the flexibility to select their own topic. My research focuses on social justice issues. In general, I am interested in the disparities or inequalities that exist between individuals and groups in terms of status, power, and outcomes (e.g., income). I have multiple lines of research that converge on this issue.
First, I am interested in who is more (vs. less) likely to want to maintain and promote inequality. A lot of my previous research has focused on understanding the nature of prejudice (i.e., racism and sexism) and its ideological bases, which involve dominance motives, conservatism, and feeling that all people are not connected by their humanity. I study both explicit (i.e., deliberate, controllable) and implicit (i.e., automatic, less controllable) prejudice and how and when they lead to discrimination when making outcome allocation decisions (e.g., who should be hired or promoted). Thus, I study how individual differences in prejudice create inequalities.
Second, I am interested in how people make sense of the differences that exist between individuals and groups in society: are they a result of a fairly operating meritocracy, in which the cream rises to the top, or are they a result of injustices, such as discrimination or favoritism? Such different understandings of why inequality exists plays an important role in determining people's reaction to social and organizational policies that are designed to mitigate inequalities like affirmative action or diversity initiatives. My colleagues and I have found that people are more opposed to these programs the more they are prejudiced and the more that they value justice principles like meritocracy and consistency. However, when people who value merit or consistency believe that the current system is biased or discriminatory, then they will support such programs. Thus, prejudice, justice beliefs, and beliefs about the cause of societal inequality affect whether people support programs that aim to reduce inequality.
Third, I study the effects of stereotypes for those who are stigmatized. I have investigated the effects of processes such as "stereotype threat" and "the stigma of incompetence" on women's self-efficacy, and their actual performance for both leadership and math tests. Importantly, I have found that the negative effects of stereotypes depend on the degree to which women hold stereotypical associations about women as incompetent (at the implicit level) and the degree to which they endorse meritocracy as an ideal. Thus, while negative stereotypes can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, which reinforces inequality, they do not inevitable do so. Currently, I am studying the effects of racism on Black men's experience of stress, negative affect, and self-reported health.
Fourth, in my newest line of research, I am investigating how the degree to which people experience of inequality at work (e.g., working in a more or less egalitarian organization) affects their stress, well-being, and performance. Importantly, we believe that how people respond to inequality depends on (a) their relative position in the hierarchy, and (b) their level of social dominance. Thus, I want to study the effects of inequality within organizations.