Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Laboratory

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Dr. Sheri R. Levy and her research team study factors that cause and maintain prejudice, stigmatization, and negative intergroup relations and factors that can be harnessed to reduce bias, marginalization, and discrimination. Our research focuses on bias based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and immigration. Asthe population of older adults increases worldwide and many modern societies become more youth-centered, our research has increasingly focused on ageism, including factors that influence attitudes toward older adults and aging, self-stereotyping among older adults, and ageism reduction. Dr. Levy, along with Dr. Todd Nelson and Jamie Macdonald (lab member), co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Social Issueson ageism in health and employment contexts (see Progress on Understanding Ageism, Levy & MacDonald, 2016). In 2016, Dr. Levy proposed the PEACE (Positive Education about Aging and Contact Experiences) Model for ageism reduction (see Toward Reducing Ageism: PEACE Model, Levy, 2016). Our research team is also a regular contributor to Psychology Benefits Society, a blog from the American Psychological Association Public Interest Directorate (click here to see our blog posts).

Our research team also studies the pivotal role of people’s lay (everyday) belief systems on social, academic, and health outcomes relevant to ageism, heterosexism, racism, and sexism. Examples of these beliefs systems are entity and incremental theories of personality, essentialism, Protestant work ethic, polyculturalism, multiculturalism, and colorblindness. We also study the key roles that role models and mentors play in facilitating positive social, academic, and health outcomes.

In our research, we consider the potential intersectionality of ageism, heterosexism, racism, and sexism. To obtain a fuller understanding of intergroup processes, our research team studies different age groups in educational and community settings (including children, adolescents, middle-aged and older adults) in several countries (including Colombia, the Philippines, and the United States) and uses a variety of methodologies including relatively brief experimental research in our laboratory, online questionnaire studies, brief surveys in the local community, nationwide telephone surveys and online surveys, cross-sectional longitudinal studies, and daily and weekly diary studies (especially during pivotal transitions, e.g., transition to college). In this research, we examine social, academic, and health outcomes such as stereotyping, prejudice, group identification, diversity orientation, intergroup volunteerism, academic engagement, academic persistence, and psychological well-being. We invite you to look around our website and check out what we do.