My research examines how small changes in context can shift mindsets, and so the perceived meaning of behaviors and situations, with large downstream effects on important and consequential outcomes, including health and academic performance. My theoretical and experimental work conceptualizes the underlying processes, which I then translate into real-world interventions.

One line of my work focuses on cultural differences in affect, behavior, and cognition – how people feel, act, and think about themselves and the world around them. A related second line of work focuses on racial, ethnic, and social class gaps in school achievement and health. Throughout my work, I examine how apparently “fixed” differences between groups may in fact mask highly malleable situated processes that can be profoundly influenced through small interventions that shift mindset.

My work involves close collaboration with an interdisciplinary lab group of doctoral students, post-docs, visiting scholars, and colleagues in the USC Dornsife Mind & Society Center. Most of my publications are available using the links above and others are often accessible through my Google Scholar profile. I also regularly update a live version of my CV and resume.


I received a PhD in psychology and social work from the University of Michigan (1987) and served on the faculty of The Hebrew University, Jerusalem before returning to the University of Michigan, where I last held appointments as the Edwin J.Thomas Collegiate Professor of Social Work, Professor of Psychology, and Research Professor in the Institute for Social Research. I am the recipient of a W. T. Grant Faculty Scholar Award, a Humboldt Scientific Contribution Prize of the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and Society for Experimental Social Psychology.

Prospective Students

Interested in joining my lab as a PhD Student or Post Doc? Click here for more information.

Contact Us

My Contact Info

Dean’s Professor, Department of Psychology

Our Lab Manager

Amabel Jeon, PhD Candidate

The Mind & Society Center

An Interdisciplinary Research Center