I am a social psychologist whose research interests examine thought processes that occur effortlessly and unconsciously, which nonetheless direct how we perceive the world (often without us realizing we have been influenced in any way). A primary focus of this research examines unconscious influences on our impressions of others. For example, the unconscious nature of stereotyping causes people -- even egalitarian-minded people -- to be influenced by stereotypes without them realizing it. This leads to questions regarding how people can control stereotypes from (a) ever entering the mind and (b) influencing evaluations and actions toward others. I also have an interest in more general types of "snap judgments" people make when hearing about, meeting, or observing others. These types of preconscious social judgments lead not only to questions regarding the "automatic" nature of human inferential processes, but the extent to which such unconscious operations can be controlled. My research has also focused on the issue of minority influence, examining how and when a person in the minority can persuade the majority. I also have a continued interest in creativity, especially in how creativity relates to stereotyping and egalitarianism, and the role of consciousness (more precisely, the benefits of removing consciousness) in creative pursuits. This underscores a more general interest in consciousness and how lacking consciousness can often benefit goal pursuit more generally.
Professor and Chair of Psychology