Social Psychology Research at DePaul

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Faculty, Grad Student, and Affiliates’ Bios & Research Interests


DavisJim Davis (Adjunct Instructor & Lab Affiliate)

“My research focuses on applying attribution theory to intergroup processes as well as to apologies and forgiveness.  I am very interested in how the experiences of social class and status systematically influence the way people of different status perceive and respond to situations. My apologies research focuses on understanding how apologies convey attributions of behavioral stability and influence forgiveness.”

Jim graduated from DePaul in 2012 with a PhD in Experimental Psychology. Jim is also an assistant professor at Chicago State University!

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RalphErber Ralph Erber (Professor)

Major Areas of Interest

  • Self regulation of mood and emotions
  • Ironic processes in mental control
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Holocaust studies

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verena1Verena  Graupmann (Assistant Professor)

Major Areas of Interest:

-Threats to central self motives:

  • Freedom (psychological reactance, control)
  • Consistency (cognitive dissonance)
  • Contuinuity (mortality salience, time perspective)
  • Belonging (social exclusion)

-Unwanted relationships

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joeMikels1 Joseph Mikels (Associate Professor)

Major Areas of interest:

  • Emotion-cognition interactions
  • Aging and adult life-span development
  • Social and emotional development
  • Cognitive development
  • Judgement and decision making

Email | Research | Website | CV

Quinn PicKimberly Quinn (Associate Professor)

Major Areas of Interest:

  • Face processing and social categorization
  • Behavioral synchrony
  • Mentalizing and self–other representation
  • Moral judgment and moral emotion

My research relies on social–cognitive principles and methods to analyze and investigate the social mind.
In much of my past research, I have been interested in the social–cognitive dynamics of face processing and person construal. More specifically, I have been interested in questions such as when we construe individuals in terms of their social group memberships versus personal attributes, and how our knowledge of or familiarity with the individuals in question changes these construals. I have also been investigating cross-race face processing.
I am also interested in how we represent ourselves and others, and how these representations shape and are shaped by social interactions (with individuals and groups). More specifically, I am interested in the implications of behavioral synchrony and its underlying mechanisms for self/other representation and joint versus individual task performance. I am also interested in what happens when the “other” includes the physical spaces (natural and otherwise) that we inhabit.
Finally, I have a burgeoning interest in moral reasoning—for example, in the certainty that tends to accompany moral judgment, as well as the similarities and differences in how we process others’ moral virtue versus vice.

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Reyna profile 2012Christine Reyna (Associate Professor)

Major Areas of Interest

  • The influence of stereotypes on attributional judgments
  • Stereotypes as legitimizing ideologies
  • The influence of stereotypes on political decision-making
  • Attributions and social justice
  • Perceived value violation and political decision making
  • The origins and consequences of moral judgment
  • The use of stereotypes to convey identity
  • The impact of interpersonal goals on impression formation and maintenance

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midgeMIDGE WILSON (Professor Emeritus):

Midge Wilson is a Professor of Psychology (PSY) and Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS), and an Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (LAS) at DePaul University. Within Psychology, Dr. Wilson is an affiliated faculty member of the experimental and community doctoral programs. Her research interests include: 1) how initial impressions formed of African Americans and European Americans are influenced by their perceived overall attractiveness, as well as their body size, skin color variations, and facial features.  Dr. Wilson is also interested in how humor induces attitude change, especially for controversial topics such as gay marriage and universal health care.

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JenZJen Zimmerman (Adjunct Professor)

Major Areas of Interest:
  • Ideological Beliefs
  • Legitimacy
  • System Justification & Resistance
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Justice Issues
Recent Publication: Zimmerman, J. L., & Reyna, C. (2013). The meaning and role of ideology in system justification and resistance for high and low status people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 1-23.

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Graduate Students

psych web picOr’Shaundra (“O.B”) Benson (Graduate Student)

My program of research has broadly focused on understanding the role that stereotypes and social identity play in intergroup relationships and behavior.”


Ellen Lab Photo Ellen Dulaney (Graduate Student)

Major areas of interest:
  •    Essentialist beliefs about the self
  •    Reactions to self-congruent and -incongruent behavior
  •    True self-concept
Fulfillment of existential needs:
  •    Meaning-making and choice of meaning structures
  •    Motivations for authenticity

ali photoAli Omair (Graduate Student)

I am an international student; my name is Ali Hadi Omair, and I am from Saudi Arabia. I am a second year student in the Master of Science program. I work with my adviser Dr. Christine Reyna with an emphasis in social research.

Research Interests:

I focus on analyzing the influence of gender discrimination, stereotyping, ideological beliefs, and predetermined judgments on personality formation, self/social identity, and moral judgment: especially for adolescents and college students. More specifically, I think that modern Saudi generations live in conflict between their conservative cultural heritage and the liberal globalized message, creating an overlap between humanitarian values and consumer-based propaganda. For example, tribe is one of the main social pillars that shape Saudi society; therefore, do the conduct rules and habits that stem from a tribal society that mix with the ideological and political dimensions have an impact upon the individuals of Saudi society? Currently, I work on studies investigating: how gender role stereotypes threat, and the effects of ego identity formation among Saudi Arabian College Students.

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RustyNew Rusty Steiger (Graduate Student)

Major Areas of Interest:

  • Moral emotions
  • Moral values
  • Moral judgment
  • Personality traits as predictors of moral values
  • Contempt and Disgust (as they relate to moral judgment and values)
  • Religious and political ideology as predictors of moral values
  • Morality


stan22Stan Treger (Graduate Student)

In my research, I focus on the foundations of social relationships. Specifically, in much of my work, I have examined the causes and consequences of social connectedness and related phenomena such as relationship initiation and attraction. I am also interested in human sexuality, and have examined topics such as sexual attitudes and reactions to infidelity.
When I’m not doing research, I enjoy the finer things in life, which depends on your definition of “finer.” The things that tickle my fancy are craft beer and coffee, playing music (I’m a loyalist to Fender guitars), traveling (upon my wallet’s ability), and oxford commas.

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Blake PhotoBlake Wareham (Graduate Student)

My primary research interests involve topics within the domain of morality, including moral judgment, moral outrage and moral licensing. Specifically, what are some of the cognitive factors that might influence emotional responses to moral violations? Also, I’m interested in the role that political and religious ideological beliefs play on moral behavior and thought.


jeff Geoffrey Wetherell (Graduate Student)

I am broadly interested in how beliefs and ideologies affect the self and society. I am interested in how stereotypes about social groups affect their treatment in society, and how moral beliefs affect perception, behavior, and support for social policies. Recently, I have become interested in how moral beliefs, as well as actions associated with morality, may be capable of creating a sense of meaningfulness in life.

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Undergraduate Students

Gabby Gabby Iverson

nophoto Olivia Beers

Alumni and Affiliates

Mark1.1Mark Brandt (Alumni)

“The overarching goal of my research program is to understand how ideological and moral beliefs, such as political ideology, religious fundamentalism, and moral conviction, structure attitudes and behaviors.

I try to answer two basic questions with my research program: What are the causes and consequences of ideological and moral beliefs and why do people adopt certain beliefs?”

Mark Brandt graduated from DePaul in 2012 with a PhD in Experimental Psychology. He is currently teaching the Dutch at Tilburg University.

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mikeMichael Brubacher (Alumni)

Major Areas of Interest:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Moral Psychology
  • Ecology

Michael graduated from DePaul in 2014, with a PhD in Experimental Psychology. He is currently doing a post doc in South Africa.



pjcropPJ Henry (Lab Affiliate)

PJ Henry is an associate professor in social psychology at New York University – Abu Dhabi, studying prejudice and intergroup relations with a focus on the effects of prejudice and discrimination on individuals. While prejudice is typically studied in the United States through the lens of the African-American experience, he is ultimately interested in the commonalities across different forms of prejudice, both in its expression and its experience. His current focus is on developing his theory of stigma compensation, which considers the general principles of the psychological consequences of being a victim of prejudice.  PJ’s research has taken him across the world: In addition to his current position in Abu Dhabi, he has held a faculty position at the American University of Beirut and spent a year as a Humboldt research fellow at the University of Bielefeld in Germany. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and Theater from the University of Wisconsin, a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UCLA. In addition he did postdoctoral research at Yale University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. His has been published in a host of professional journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Political Psychology.

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anthony_washburn_picAnthony Washburn (Alumni & Lab Affiliate)

Anthony N. Washburn is a graduate student in Social Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received a B.A. in Psychology/Religion from Greenville College in 2008 and a M.S. in Psychology from DePaul University in 2013. His research examines the psychological and moral underpinnings of the liberal-conservative divide in American politics. In particular, he is interested in understanding how ideologically motivated reasoning influences people’s judgments and decisions, especially in the realms of attributions for behavior and denial of scientific claims. He is also interested in understanding the causes and consequences of holding attitudes with moral conviction. Specifically, his research examines factors that cause individuals to adjust how morally convicted they feel about certain social issues, persons, or situations

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caitlyn yantis Caitlyn Yantis (Alumni)

Caitlyn Yantis is social psychology doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Before starting at UIC, Caitlyn earned a BS with honors in psychology from the University of Mary Washington in 2010 and an MS with distinction in psychology from DePaul University in 2012 working with Dr. Christine Reyna.  Her broad interests involve stereotypes, discrimination, and social justice. At UIC with her advisor, Dr. Courtney Bonam, Caitlyn focuses on the relationship between person-focused and space-focused racial stereotypes and their influence on perceptions and treatment of physical spaces (e.g., homes, schools, neighborhoods).  She is also interested in the role of moral conviction in social justice participation, particularly for issues that are related to one’s racial, ethnic, or gender identity.

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