Research and Teaching Focus
My main area of research focuses on using a social cognitive approach to examine how individuals perceive members of different social groups. More specifically, I am interested in how attention is allocated to members of different social groups during categorization and how this might affect later stereotype activation. The social categories I study most often (i.e., race, sexual orientation) are those for whom stereotype activation has been shown to be instrumental in affecting later behavior towards individuals of derogated groups, such as Blacks and homosexuals.
Another line of research I have developed since coming to William & Mary is the examination of factors that influence the confrontation of prejudice against the derogated groups listed above. Specifically, I explore situational and personality variables that affect the behavior of majority group members after witnessing a prejudicial comment. Finally, another area of research I have been actively pursuing is examining how smokers and non-smokers allocate attention to smoking versus non-smoking stimuli, and how an attentional bias is moderated by smoking behavior, craving, and motivation.