Social and Personality

About Us
Research interests cover a wide area of Social and Personality Psychology. We are all interested in how individuals perceive and adapt to the pressures of the social environment and social living. Our work involves many levels of analysis including establishing biologically and physiological mechanisms of social behavior, psychological mechanisms of motivation and self-presentation, group-level processes as well as cultural and socio-ecological forces on emotion, thought, and behavior.

Our Approach
We conduct both experimental laboratory research and field and intervention research. Experimental methods range from the measurement of behaviors, the assessment of self-reported attitudes and intentions, the collection of psychophysiological and endocrine responses to the use of neuroimaging techniques. The area is also especially strong in the use of statistical models and techniques including meta-analysis.

Our Research
Research in social and personality psychology at the University of Wisconsin focuses on individual differences in motivation affecting performance in both educational and interpersonal settings, the development of prejudice and discrimination and how to affect reductions in their occurrence, physiological, social and cultural aspects of emotions and emotional information processing, the interplay between cultural contexts and cognitive and emotional processes, and issues in gender and sexual behavior.

The Program
Graduate study in Social and Personality Psychology in Madison is founded upon our commitment to cutting-edge scientific research, and is supported by the faculty offering survey, interdisciplinary and focused seminar courses. Laboratory facilities are available to support each of the types of research described, including computer-driven, psychophysiological, and imaging studies. Students are encouraged to take full advantage of many renowned scholars on the University campus including those in Departments of Sociology, Communication, and Psychiatry, and the Schools of Education, Business, and Human Ecology.


Markus Brauer Group processes, intergroup relations, prejudice, discrimination, diversity, social norms, deviance, reactions to norm transgressions, social power

Nick Buttrick  I study the ways that people, places, and histories work together to make cultures; and how those cultures shape the ways that we can and cannot be in the world.

Patricia Devine I am interested in how people manage the intrapersonal and interpersonal challenges associated with prejudice in our contemporary society.

Demis Glasford Intergroup relations, identity, power, inequality, group-based hierarchy, culture, collective action, the minority experience

Judith Harackiewicz I am interested in human motivation, specifically intrinsic motivation, interest, and achievement motivation. I study how different kinds of performance evaluation and feedback influence an individual’s intrinsic interest in an activity.

Morgan Jerald Racialized and gendered stereotypes, gender and sexual socialization, self-objectification, intersectionality, media use, racial/ethnic identity

Paula Niedenthal Because it focuses on the ways by which individuals represent and process emotional information, my research is best described as crossing the areas of the Social Psychology of Emotion and the Affective Neurosciences.

Carol Ryff Psychological well-being, resilience, biological and brain mechanisms linking psychosocial factors to health, socioeconomic and cultural influences on health

Kristin Shutts Social cognitive development; attitudes and stereotypes; social and cultural learning