Emily Balcetis is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University and was on the faculty of Ohio University before moving to NYU in 2009.
Dr. Balcetis is interested in the conscious and nonconscious ways people fundamentally orient to the world. In particular, she focuses on how the motivations, emotions, needs, and goals people hold impact the basic ways people perceive, interpret, and ultimately react to information around them. She advocates for an interactive cognitive system in which psychological states constrain the basic manner in which we perceive and react to our worlds. Her work, then, explores motivational biases in visual and social perception and the consequential effects for behavior and navigation of the social world. In doing so, Dr. Balcetis' research represents an intersection among social psychology, judgment and decision-making, social cognition, and perception.
My research concerns the question of how goals and plans affect cognition and behavior. It spans a number of areas in social psychology, cognition and perception, neuropsychology, and industrial and organizational psychology. Four different theoretical concepts stimulate this research:
1) Mindsets. Deliberating which goals to pursue versus planning the implementation of set goals leads to different cognitive orientations (i.e., deliberative and implemental mindsets, respectively). We observed that the deliberative mindset leads to an accurate and impartial analysis of information that speaks to the feasibility and desirability of possible goals, whereas the implemental mindset promotes an optimistic and partial analysis of such information. Moreover, the deliberative mindset is associated with open-mindedness, whereas the implemental mindset is characterized by closed-mindedness.
2) Implementation Intentions. People can delegate the initiation of goal-directed behavior to environmental stimuli by forming so-called implementation intentions (if-then plans of the format: If situation x is encountered, then I will perform behavior y!). We observed that forming implementation intentions facilitates detecting, attending to, and recalling the critical situation. Moreover, in the presence of the critical situation the initiation of the specified goal-directed behavior is immediate, efficient, and does not need a conscious intent.
We are currently investigating whether forming implementation intentions can be used as an effective self-regulatory tool when it comes to resisting temptations, avoiding to stereotype members of an out-group, blocking unwanted goal pursuits triggered outside the person’s awareness or unwanted implicit perception-behavior effects. Moreover, it is analyzed whether action control via implementation intentions saves a person’s self-regulatory resources. We also ask whether implementation intentions protect a person’s thoughts and actions from unwanted influences of disruptive self-states (such as a good or bad mood, self-definitional incompleteness, feelings of anger or sadness).
Finally, we study whether and how implementation intentions help people meet their health goals (e.g., exercising more, eating less, taking pills regularly), whether people who are known to have problems with action control also benefit from implementation intentions (e.g., frontal lobe patients, schizophrenics, children with ADHD, alcoholics), and whether forming implementation intentions alleviates disruptive influences in negotiations between opposing parties.
3) Self-defining Goals. Committing oneself to a self-defining goal (e.g., becoming a good lawyer, mother, scientist) instigates an enduring striving towards possessing the desired outcome. We currently explore whether and how the self-defining goal of becoming an egalitarian person reduces stereotyping and prejudice, and whether effective suppression of stereotypes via such goals is void of rebound effects (i.e., subsequent stereotype activation). We also test whether sharing one’s behavioral intentions with others reduces the enactment of these intentions, given that such public intending may produce a sense of identity completeness.
4) Nonconscious Goal Pursuits. In a recent line of research we explore whether and how conscious goal pursuits differ from nonconscious goal pursuits. First, various problems of action control that demand flexibility rather than rigidity are identified and it is analyzed whether nonconscious goal pursuits are equally effective in solving these problems as conscious goal pursuits. Second, various cognitive, affective, and behavioral consequences of goal conflicts are identified and it is analyzed whether these can be observed for conscious and nonconscious goal pursuits alike. Third, we explore whether there is dissociation between the variables that determine a strong feeling of intending to reach a goal and the variables that predict successful goal attainment.
My current research is part of a longstanding program of investigation concerning gender stereotypes and how they bias evaluations of women in work settings. There are three separate research interests that currently predominate.
The first concerns the way in which the perceived lack of fit between stereotypes of women and perceptions of the requirements for jobs considered to be male in gender type leads to negative performance expectations, and resulting gender bias in judgments. We have shown, for example, that women, as compared to men, are less likely to be selected for male gender-typed positions, are more likely to have their performance in such positions devalued, and are given fewer opportunities for career advancement. More recently, we have focused on the tenacity of stereotype-based expectations and their resistance to disconfirming information. For example, we have demonstrated a process we call “attributional rationalization”, in which a woman member of a successful team is unlikely to get as much credit for a team’s success as her male counterpart, and she is seen as having been less influential in bringing about the successful outcome. We are currently investigating other ways in which positive performance information about women is distorted so as to maintain gender stereotypes, and are examining the ways in which perceptions of femininity, such as being a mother or being attractive, can exacerbate stereotyped-based bias.
The second research interest concerns the unintended negative effects of preferential selection on those who have been targeted to benefit from it. On the one hand we are interested in the reactions of others to those who are believed to have been preferentially selected through diversity or affirmative action programs. On the other hand, we are interested in how those people who believe they have been preferentially selected for important positions feel about themselves and their work, and how they perform on the job as a consequence. To date, we have demonstrated that a stigma of incompetence is attached to those perceived to have obtained their positions through a preferential selection procedure. We also have demonstrated that preferential selection as compared to merit-based selection can result in a more negative view of self and performance, a greater desire to relinquish a leadership role, a greater incidence of mistreatment of similar others, and an increased choice of undemanding and routine tasks. Current work focuses on the cues people use to infer that preferential selection has in fact occurred.
The third research interest involves gender stereotypic norms, which dictate the ways in which women should behave, and the disapproval and approbation women experience for violating these “shoulds”. We have looked at reactions to actual violations of prescribed behaviors, demonstrating that women who choose not to help others are reacted to far more negatively than males who behave similarly, and are given less credit when they do help. Moreover, we have looked at inferred violations of gender norms, and shown that women are penalized for being successful in domains that are considered to be male, and are disliked and interpersonally derogated as a consequence. We have further probed the dynamics underlying this process, and have considered why women join men in penalizing women for their success, whether men also are subjected to penalties when they are successful in gender inconsistent domains, and the ways in which a woman’s perceived femininity can intensify or ameliorate these effects. In addition, we currently are addressing the question of whether women’s anticipation of being penalized for gender norm violation leads to self-censorship of self advocating behaviors in an effort to stave off negative reactions.
Eric Knowles is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and was formerly on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine. He studies bias, culture, identity, social perception, and ideology.
People dedicate a great deal of conscious and unconscious thought to the groups they're in and the groups they're not in. Dr. Knowles studies how such intergroup thought affects our behavior and attitudes -- with a particular focus on political judgment. For instance, he conducts research examining the extents to which White Americans' political attitudes and behavior are driven by ingroup-focused concerns (e.g., racial identity), outgroup-focused concerns (e.g., prejudice against non-Whites), or ostensibly group-neutral ideology (e.g., conservatism). Dr. Knowles also maintains active interests in religious-group prejudice, interracial interaction, and the interplay of intergroup thinking and Theory of Mind.
My research addresses two broad questions: (1) What self-regulatory strategies can people use to turn their positive fantasies about the future into binding goals, and (2) what self-regulatory strategies can people use to disengage from their goals? The research relates to various areas in social and personality psychology, developmental and educational psychology, as well as health and clinical psychology.
Engagement to goals. Mentally contrasting a desired future with present reality leads to the emergence of binding goals with consecutive goal striving and goal attainment, as long as chances of success are perceived to be high. To the contrary, mentally elaborating either the desired future only (indulging) or the present reality only (dwelling) leads to moderate goal commitment, even if chances of success look promising. These effects were observed in a variety of life domains (e.g., interpersonal relations, academic achievement, professional achievement, health, life management) and with different paradigms (e.g., salience, reinterpretation). Recently, we have discovered the underlying cognitive and motivational processes of mental contrasting and also applied this self-regulatory technique in intervention studies. Finally, we analyzed mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII) as an effective strategy to change bad habits in the achievement, interpersonal, and health domains.
Disengagement from goals. Mentally contrasting a desired future with present reality leads to disengagement from goals, if chances of success are perceived to be low. Mentally elaborating either the desired future only (indulging) or the present reality only (dwelling) to the contrary, maintains goal commitment even when chances of success are perceived as being low. Again, we have demonstrated these effects in various life domains (e.g., interpersonal relations, health) and with different paradigms. Currently, we are using mental contrasting procedures to help people disengage from goals that are not feasible (e.g., from a damaged relationship, from an unattainable professional identity). People simply have to mentally contrast their desired future with present reality. If chances of success are perceived as being low, the disengagement process can begin so that people can move on to more feasible goals.
Committing to approach goals versus avoidance goals. Mental contrasting does not only turn positive fantasies about a desired future into binding approach goals but also turns negative fantasies about an undesired future into binding avoidance goals. More specifically, people must contrast negative fantasies about an undesired, feared future with positive aspects of the current, safe reality, and expectations of successfully avoiding the undesired future have to be high. Using mental contrasting to turn fearful fantasies into constructive avoidance goals should be of particular importance when people have a hard time generating positive fantasies about the future (e.g., in the health domain, or in situations involving prejudice against members of an out-group).
Indulging and the uncontrollable. Can indulging in a positive future have beneficial effects on motivation and well-being? We find that when facing controllable and escapable tasks, people benefit from mentally contrasting fantasy with reality. However, when facing tasks that cannot be mastered or relinquished (e.g., being terminally ill), indulging in positive fantasies should be beneficial, because it allows one to “stay in the field.”
Culture and self-regulatory thought. In the past, I conducted research on how cultural and political factors shape the development of efficacy beliefs, control beliefs, and attributional styles. I now ask the question of how cultural factors influence the development of the three modes of self-regulatory thought (i.e., mental contrasting, indulging, dwelling). For example, we are investigating the prevalence of the three modes of self-regulatory thought in cultures that differ in their degree of norm-orientation.
Coping with stress and interpersonal relations. We also analyze the psychological processes that make people who mentally contrast sensitive to chances of success and make people who indulge and dwell insensitive to chances of success. For example, we ask whether mental contrasting instead of indulging/dwelling promotes differential processing of relevant performance feedback, differential evaluations of critical experiences, and differential ways of coping with failure as well as acute and chronic stress. Another line of research focuses on the interpersonal consequences of mental contrasting versus indulging and dwelling. In comparison to mental contrasting, indulging and dwelling should make people disregard the needs and behaviors of their interaction partners (e.g., romantic partner, child, employee). This insensitivity then might affect the interaction partner’s direct responses as well as his or her long-term thoughts, feelings, and actions (e.g., aspirations, attitudes, decisions).
Jay completed his BA at the University of Alberta, a PhD at the University of Toronto and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Ohio State University before starting as an Assistant Professor at New York University in 2010. Jay is interested in how social identities, values and motivations shape perception and evaluation. His primary line of research takes a multi-level approach to self-categorization and social identity, blending theory and methods from social cognition and cognitive neuroscience to show how the value and contents of our social identities shape virtually all aspects of cognition. Other lines of research explore the processes and implications of moral (versus non-moral) judgment, the structure, antecedents and consequences of hate (versus dislike).
Tessa West is an Assistant Professor at New York University. She has been at NYU since earning her PhD in Social Psychology at University of Connecticut in 2008. Her research focuses on understanding the nature and dynamics of human perception, in particular how we perceive others in cross-race interactions. Tessa's multi-method approach to studying dyadic- and group-level interactions balances real-world validity with the control of experimental settings.
Broadly speaking, Dr. West's research focuses on understanding the nature and dynamics of social perception. Nearly all of her work examines basic processes in person perception at the level of the dyad and group, addressing both theoretical and methodological issues in the study of interpersonal and intergroup relations. Dr. West's general line of research examines how the processes of social perception operate in same- and cross-group interactions, with a specific focus on relations between Whites and racial and ethnic minorities. She uses a multi-method approach to studying dyadic- and group-level interactions. In this line of work, she is focusing on methods of improving communication between Whites and ethnic minorities in laboratory interactions and in daily interactions between college roommates. She also maintains a general theoretical interest in accuracy and bias in person perception and is currently developing new analytical methods for examining these two related perceptual processes.
The primary goal of my research is to identify and clarify the sources of individual differences in political preferences and behaviors. My work tends to utilize genetically informative samples, as well as experimental methods, in order to better understand why some individuals participate in politics while others do not, as well as the types of political acts citizens choose to engage in. My recent work studies these individual differences within and across several developed countries.
Patrick J. Egan is Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Policy at New York University, where he specializes in public opinion, public policy, and their relationship in the context of American politics. Additional research interests include public opinion and the judiciary; lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and politics; and campaigns and elections. He is the author of Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics(Cambridge University Press, 2013). Egan earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. He previously served as an Assistant Deputy Mayor of Policy and Planning in the office of Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell.
Cyrus Samii is Assistant Professor with the Wilf Family Department of Politics, New York University. He writes and teaches on quantitative social science methodology and the evaluation of governance, economic development, and conflict management strategies. He has designed and implemented field studies in Burundi, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Israel, Liberia, and Nepal. He holds a PhD and MA from Columbia University and a BA from Tufts University.
Alexandra Scacco is an Assistant Professor in the Wilf Family Department of Politics at New York University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 2010, and holds a BA in public policy from Princeton University. During the 2009-2010 academic year, she was a fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University.
Professor Scacco studies comparative and ethnic politics, with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Her current book project investigates the micro-dynamics of ethnic conflict in contemporary Nigeria. She is interested in the question of why ordinary people choose to participate in risky forms of collective action. Other ongoing research projects focus on post-conflict peacebuilding, the human costs of partition, electoral manipulation, ethnic identity formation, effective methods for asking sensitive questions, and the costs and benefits of respondent-driven sampling. Professor Scacco's current field projects are located in Nigeria, the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan.
Politics and Russian and Slavic Studies
Joshua A. Tucker is Professor of Politics with an affiliated appointment in the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University (NYU) and an Affiliated Professor of Politics at NYU-Abu Dhabi. Professor Tucker specializes in comparative politics with an emphasis on mass political behavior in East- Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, including elections and voting, the development of partisan attachment, public opinion formation, and mass protest. He is the author of Regional Economic Voting: Russia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, 1990-99 (Cambridge University Press, 2006). His work has appeared in numerous academic journals, including theAmerican Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Politics, and the Annual Review of Political Science, and his opinions have been published in The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera English, and the International Herald Tribune. In 2006, he was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award for the top scholar in the field of Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior within 10 years of the doctorate. He is currently the Vice- President of the Midwest Political Science Association and a Member of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of East European and Eurasian Societies. He is also a co-author of the award winning politics and policy blog The Monkey Cage (www.themonkeycage.org).
Guillermina Jasso is Silver Professor and Professor of Sociology at New York University. She was the founding director of the Methods Workshop at New York University (1991-1997) and the founding director of the Theory Workshop at the University of Iowa (1988-1991), as well as a co-founder of the Life Course Center at the University of Minnesota. She served as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1977-1979) and as Director of Research for the U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy (1979-1980). Professor Jasso received a Ph.D. in sociology from Johns Hopkins University in 1974.
Professor Jasso’s major research interests are basic sociobehavioral theory, distributive justice, status, international migration, inequality, probability distributions, mathematical methods for theory building, and factorial survey methods for empirical analysis. She has published numerous articles in scholarly journals on these topics. Currently she is a Principal Investigator of the New Immigrant Survey, the first national longitudinal survey of immigrants in the United States.
Professor Jasso was elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and to the Sociological Research Association, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1999-2000), is a Research Associate at the Hobby Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston, and is also a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University.
Professor Jasso has served on many advisory boards, including panels advising the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, and currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of DIW Berlin, the Academic Advisory Council of the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences, Humboldt University, and the U.S. Census Scientific Advisory Committee, of which she is Chair. She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Panel on the Demographic and Economic Consequences of Immigration, the Core Research Group of the Binational Study of Migration Between Mexico and the United States, and the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Redesign of the U.S. Naturalization Test. She has served as Deputy Editor of American Sociological Review. She has also served as Chair of four Sections of the American Sociological Association -- the Theory Section, the Rationality and Society Section, the International Migration Section, and the Social Psychology Section -- and currently serves as Chair of the ASA Methodology Section and President of the Research Committee 42 on Social Psychology of the International Sociological Association.
Ann Morning is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University and a faculty affiliate of NYU Abu Dhabi. Trained in economics, political science, and international affairs as well as sociology, her research interests include race, demography, and the sociology of science, especially as they pertain to census classification worldwide and to individuals’ concepts of difference. She is the author of The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (University of California Press 2011), and her many papers have appeared in such journals as American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Science, Sociological Theory, Ethnic & Racial Studies, and Population Research and Policy Review. She was a 2008-09 Fulbright research fellow at the University of Milan-Bicocca and a 2014-15 Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. She is a member of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations and has consulted on racial statistics for the European Commission and the United Nations. Her current projects include a book tentatively entitled The Lens of Race: Conceptualizing Difference in the U.S. and Italy (with Marcello Maneri, U. Milan-Bicocca); an analysis of the generational structure of the U.S. multiracial population (with Aliya Saperstein, Stanford U.) and a study of multiracial activists’ promotion of race-matched bone-marrow transplants (with Jenifer Bratter, Rice U.).
Jeff Manza (Ph.D University of California – Berkeley, 1995) is Professor of Sociology, and the former Chair (2009-12) of the Department of Sociology at New York University. Before coming to NYU, he taught at Penn State (1996-98) and Northwestern (1998-2006). He grew up in Berkeley, California.
Professor Manza is the co-editor of Inequality and Society: Social Science Perspectives on Social Stratification (Norton, 2009), the co-author of Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2008), the co-author of Why Welfare States Persist: The Importance of Public Opinion in Democracies (University of Chicago Press, 2007), the co-editor of Navigating Public Opinion: Polls, Policy, and the Future of American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2002), and the co-author of Social Cleavages and Political Change: Voter Alignment and U.S. Party Coalitions (Oxford University Press, 1999).
Biology and Computer Science
Rich Bonneau is an Associate Professor of Biology and Computer Science at NYU. Professor Bonneau's laboratory is focused on two areas in computational and systems biology: 1) Predicting and designing protein and peptidomimetic structure and 2) Learning dynamic network models automatically from functional genomics data using scalable methods.
In both research areas Professor Bonneau has played key roles in achieving critical field-wide milestones.In the area of structure prediction he was one of the early authors on the Rosetta code, which was one of the first codes to demonstrate accurate and comprehensive ability to predict protein structure in the absence of detectable sequence homology to proteins with known structures. His lab continues to be a core contributor to the Rosetta research community, participating in the recent refactoring of the code and adding several new functionalities.
Professor Bonneau's lab has also made key contributions to the area of genomics data analysis in a systems-biology context. His lab focuses on developing new methods for network inference that simultaneously learn dynamics and topology from data (the Inferelator), and methods that learn condition-dependent co-regulated gene groups from integrations of different genomics data- types (e.g. transcriptomic, proteomic, etc.) using approaches we have developed (cMonkey and multi-species-cMonkey integrative biclustering). In the DREAM3 and DREAM4 blind assessment of network inference methods they were top performers in the network inference category, and are currently contributing to a joint paper resulting from DREAM5 (the most current assessment of network inference methods).
Dr. May Al-Dabbagh is on the faculty of the social sciences at New York University-Abu Dhabi. Formerly she taught at the Dubai School of Government and was the DSG Faculty Chair of the Women and Leadership Development program and a Research Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University.
She earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oxford for her doctoral thesis entitled “Working Women in Saudi Arabia: A Study of Stress and Well-Being.” Dr. Al-Dabbagh spent one year as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford. She earned her B.A. degree from Harvard University, where she graduated in 1999 magna cum laude in Psychology.
Dr. Al-Dabbagh is a member of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology, the International Association for Conflict Management, the Middle East Studies Association of North America, and the Academy of Management. She has publications in Arabic and English and her work has been featured in over 40 local, regional, and international media outlets. In 2010, she was appointed to the board of the Banawi Industrial Group in Saudi Arabia and the board of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) as the Director for the Middle East and Africa region.
Dr. Al-Dabbagh's research interests include cross-cultural and social/organizational psychology; theory and method in assessing the relationship between the self and context; cultural and gender differences in leadership, negotiation, and job-related outcomes.
PJ Henry is an associate professor in social psychology at New York
University – Abu Dhabi, studying those who perpetrate prejudice and
discrimination and those who are victims of it. While prejudice is
typically studied in the United States through the lens of race and
gender, he is ultimately interested in the commonalities across
different forms of prejudice as it is expressed and experienced in its
innumerable forms. His current focus is on developing his theory of
stigma compensation, which considers the general principles of the
psychological consequences of being a victim of prejudice. PJ’s
research has taken him across the world: In addition to his current
position in Abu Dhabi, he has held a faculty position at the American
University of Beirut and spent a year as a Humboldt research fellow at
the University of Bielefeld in Germany. He holds a B.A. in Psychology
and Theater from the University of Wisconsin, a Ph.D. in Social
Psychology from UCLA. In addition he did postdoctoral research at Yale
University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. His
research has been published in a number of professional journals,
including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and