Ph.D., University of California
When seeking to describe how stereotyping and prejudice infects society it is common to characterize them as shaping individuals through biased media depictions and institutions that subjugate some while rewarding others. In contrast, the work done in my lab examines how interpersonal interactions translate culturally held prejudices into individual thoughts and actions. One line of research on social tuning, shows individuals’ prejudices and stereotype-relevant self-views adjust to the apparent views of social interaction partners, without conscious effort or awareness, when they like the other person or feel uncertain. A complementary line of research on implicit homophily shows that perceivers are interpersonally drawn to others whose intergroup attitudes and experiences seem similar to their own, even when those intergroup attitudes are consciously disavowed by perceivers and instead measured implicitly. Taken together these bodies of work suggest people may unknowingly be immersed in social networks characterized by a corresponding degree of intergroup bias. We are in the initial stages of several projects considering the ramifications of this possibility for the health and intellectual performance of members of stigmatized groups.