Psychology (2011); Minor in Quantitative Psychology (2008), University of
M.A. Social Psychology, University of Kansas (2007)
B.A. Psychology; Minor in Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004
My research focuses on stereotyping, prejudice, and social judgment with an emphasis on intersections of social categories (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity). In my primary line of work I investigate the effects of prototypical standards of race and gender on social perceptions and judgments of individuals. Specifically I am interested in understanding the processes and outcomes of invisibility as a unique form of discrimination that may characterize groups that do not fit race and gender prototypes – e.g., Black women (Sesko & Biernat, 2010). My work thus far has documented such invisibility, conceptualized as a lack of individuation of or lack of differentiation among group members. Invisibility is evident in perceivers’ treatment of Black women (or similarly situated groups) as interchangeable and indistinguishable, such that their individual voices and faces go unnoticed and unheard, relative to White women, Black men, and White men. My dissertation and current line of research focuses on the antecedents (e.g., non-prototypicality, low power, low numerical status), and consequences of invisibility, and in particular strategies to reduce invisibility.
In some other lines of research I focus on evidentiary standards of judgment, particularly of racism, the language people use to talk about members of stereotyped groups, and interpreters’ translation of this language (Biernat & Sesko, under review), and behavioral indicators of compensatory stereotyping, or tradeoffs between “warmth” and “competence” in evaluations of members of stereotyped groups (Biernat, Sesko, & Amo, 2009). All of these areas reflect my interest in understanding the processes by which stereotypes guide judgment and behavior toward individual members of stereotyped groups. I have additional interests in the study of close relationships, and have examined the role of attachment style on lying and authenticity in relationships (Gillath, Sesko, Shaver, & Chen, 2010) as well as relationship-related regrets (Schoemann, Gillath, & Sesko, under review). I am also a member of the Consortium for Police Leadership and Equity (CPLE; see http://cple.psych.ucla.edu/), a group that brings together police chiefs and social scientists to discuss how social science can inform real-world problems of racial profiling, immigration, and organizational equity. My work with CPLE has focused on organizational equity, and how to assess and improve equity in terms of gender and race representation within police departments.
As a new member of the faculty here at UAS, I am excited to bring my passion and excitement for the field of psychology both in the classroom and to undergraduate research! In my spare time when I am not teaching, analyzing data, or writing, I enjoy running, hiking, camping, and yoga. I am also a huge fan of my dog Shera (the “Princess of Power”).
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)