Her 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. Her theoretical and experimental work conceptualizes the underlying processes, which she then translates into real-world interventions. One line of 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, she examines 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. Select publications are available at her personal webpage.
Dr. Oyserman 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 she 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. She is 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.
- Dornsife Dean’s Professor, Dean’s Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Psychology, Education, and Communication, 2014/01/01-2016/12/31