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Featured Recent Articles
Cikara, M., Martinez, J., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Moving beyond social categories by incorporating context more deeply in social psychological theory. Nature Reviews Psychology. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). What counts as good science? How the battle for methodological legitimacy affects public psychology. American Psychologist, 76(8), 1323-1333. [PDF]
Matias, J. N., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Hope, E. (2022). US universities are not succeeding in diversifying faculty. Nature Human Behaviour. [PDF]
*Spruill, M., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Legal descriptions of police officers affect how citizens judge them. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 101, 104306. [PDF]
*Tepper, S. J., *Spruill, M. K., *Premachandra, B., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Surveys as conversations between makers and takers: A conversational framework for assessing and responding to community needs. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. [PDF]
Buchanan, E. M., Cuccolo, K., Coles, N. A., Iyer, A., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Peters, K. O., van Berkel, N., van’t Veer, A., … & Vasilev, M. R. (accepted in principle). Measuring the semantic priming effect across many languages. Nature Human Behaviour.
Abstract: Semantic priming has been studied for nearly 50 years across various experimental manipulations and theoretical frameworks. These studies provide insight into the cognitive underpinnings of semantic representations in both healthy and clinical populations; however, they have suffered from several issues including generally low sample sizes and a lack of diversity in linguistic implementations. Here, we will test the size and the variability of the semantic priming effect across ten languages by creating a large database of semantic priming values, based on an adaptive sampling procedure. Differences in response latencies between related word-pair conditions and unrelated word-pair conditions (i.e., difference score confidence interval is greater than zero) will allow quantifying evidence for semantic priming, whereas improvements in model fit with the addition of a random intercept for language will provide support for variability in semantic priming across languages.
Forscher, P. S., Taylor, V. J., Cavagnaro, D., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Moshontz, H., Batres, C., … Chartier, C. (accepted in principle). A Multi-Site Examination of Stereotype Threat in Black College Students Across Varying Operationalizations. Nature Human Behaviour.
Abstract: According to stereotype threat theory, the possibility of confirming a negative group stereotype can evoke feelings of threat, leading people to underperform in domains where they are stereotyped as lacking ability. This theory has immense theoretical and practical implications. However, many studies supporting it include small samples and varying operational definitions of “stereotype threat”. We address the first challenge by leveraging a network of psychology labs to recruit a large Black student sample (N anticipated = 2700) from multiple US sites (N anticipated = 27). We address the second challenge by identifying three threat-increasing and three threat-decreasing procedures that could plausibly affect performance and use an adaptive Bayesian design to determine which operationalization yields the strongest evidence for underperformance. This project has the potential to advance our knowledge of a scientifically and socially important topic: the conditions under which stereotype threat affects current Black students in the United States. [Registered Report Pre-Print]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & *Michalak, N. (registered report accepted in principle). Has Stereotype Threat Dissipated Over Time? A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis. Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
Abstract: Stereotype threat – the psychological threat that arises when one is in a situation or doing something for which a negative stereotype about one’s group applies (Steele, 1997) – has been broadly studied throughout the social sciences over the past two decades (for reviews, see Lewis & Sekaquaptewa, 2016; Steele, 2010). It is a theory that is presumed to explain variance in disparities between those who are negatively stereotyped in certain domains (e.g. racial-ethnic minorities in academics, women in mathematics) and those who are not (e.g. White men in academics; Steele, 2010). Studies on stereotype threat have been conducted hundreds of times, and have yielded mixed findings. Early studies tended to yield “positive” – statistically significant – findings (for meta-analytic review, see Nguyen & Ryan, 2008) whereas more recent reanalysis (Zigerell, 2017) and replication attempts (e.g., Finnigan & Corker, 2016) have failed to replicate initial findings. These conflicting accounts call into question the robustness of the phenomenon and raise two possibilities in our minds: Either the strength of the evidence was weak to begin with, or something has changed over time to reduce our ability to detect stereotype threat effects. We test these possibilities in a pre-registered cross-temporal meta-analysis. [Registered Report Preprint]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Niederdeppe, J. (in press). Experimental Research: Non-Clinical. International Encyclopedia of Health Communication.
Abstract: Health communication scholars are often interested in understanding causal relationships between communication variables, health behaviors, and health outcomes. Experiments offer powerful tools for understanding causal relationships in health communication research, but may or may not be appropriate given the interests of the researcher and the nature of the communication phenomena of interest. This entry begins by distinguishing between true experiments (which involve random assignment) and quasi experiments (which do not). It continues with a discussion of ethical issues to consider when deciding whether or not to use experiments for health communication research. It describes a variety of potential uses of experiments to answer important questions in health communication, including formative research to inform decisions about a campaign, evaluation research to test the effectiveness of a communication intervention, research to understand the relative contribution of communication within larger health interventions, and research to test and refine theories relevant to health communication. It concludes with reflection on a variety of contemporary issues in the use of experiments for health communication research, including difficulty in capturing the complexity of the networked digital information environment, diversity in research participants, replicability and reproducibility, open science, and preregistration.
Pearson, A. R., White, K. E., Nogueira, L., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Green, D. J., Schuldt, J. P., & Edmondson, D. (in press). Climate change and health equity: A research agenda for psychological science. American Psychologist.
Abstract: Climate change poses unique and substantial threats to public health and well-being, from heat stress, flooding, and the spread of infectious disease to food and water insecurity, conflict, displacement, and direct health hazards linked to fossil fuels. These threats are especially acute for frontline communities. Addressing climate change and its unequal impacts requires psychologists to consider temporal and spatial dimensions of health, compound risks, as well as structural sources of vulnerability implicated by few other public health challenges. In this review, we consider climate change as a unique context for the study of health inequities and the roles of psychologists and health care practitioners in addressing it. We conclude by discussing the research infrastructure needed to broaden current understanding of these inequities, including new cross-disciplinary, institutional, and community partnerships, and offer six practical recommendations for advancing the psychological study of climate health equity and its societal relevance. [PDF]
*Ruisch, B., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Ferguson, M. J. (registered report accepted in principle). When are Women are (Dis)Favored in the Hiring Process? Nature Human Behaviour.
Abstract: Decades of research on hiring discrimination has generally found anti-women biases. However, Williams and Ceci (2015A; Hereafter “W&C”) recently challenged this conclusion, finding that, academic hiring, women were favored at a rate of 2 to 1. These findings are puzzling: either gender bias has declined – or even reversed – in recent decades, or something about W&C’s methods produced their anomalous findings. Our four pilot studies (total N = 2,459) suggest two boundary conditions to W&C: pro-woman biases may be limited to 1) exceptionally qualified women and 2) subjective, non-zero-sum outcome measures (e.g., verbal praise rather than resource allocation). Two field experiments – in academia and industry- will provide more ecologically valid tests of these questions in order to shed greater light on the state of gender bias in academia and beyond.
*Bell, M., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Universities claim to value community-engaged scholarship, so why do they discourage it? Public Understanding of Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/09636625221118779
Abstract: With current crises of academic relevance and legitimacy, there is a need for epistemic equity inherent to community-engaged research. Scholars in science communication and science and technology studies have analyzed, advocated for, and conducted public engagement in pursuit of this goal. However, despite desires to celebrate public engagement, US academic institutions and organizations often present barriers to meaningful community-engaged research. From tenure and promotion requirements, to lack of recognition and resources, universities in the American academic landscape are not currently organized to support such work. In this paper, we offer a conceptual framework to examine the complex structural dimensions of academic institutions that have systematically discouraged and devalued faculty participation in community-engaged scholarship. We outline four such structural dimensions, interrogating epistemic biases, neoliberalist tendencies, gendered norms, and colonial-racist defaults. Our goal is to illuminate processes that could inform interventions to bridge the gap between academic aspirations for community-engaged work and current actions in the academy that undermine it. [PDF]
Cikara, M., Martinez, J., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Moving beyond social categories by incorporating context more deeply in social psychological theory. Nature Reviews Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s44159-022-00079-3
Abstract: Across phenomena and areas of inquiry, social psychology often emphasizes social categories as the unit of explanation. In this Perspective we exhort researchers to move beyond categories and incorporate context more deeply into their theorizing. To make this call actionable, we have introduced constructionism, materialism/assemblage, and dynamic systems as alternative frameworks and presented examples of how these frameworks are already appearing in social psychology research over the last several years. Although the work featured here is not an exhaustive review of research emphasizing context in psychological theorizing, we hope that it makes clear the urgent need for integrating alternatives to category-based or pseudo-universal frameworks. More generally, it highlights the generativity and necessity of focusing more on psychological, structural, and material features (rather than classifications), their interconnections, and temporal dynamism in conducting social science that considers context. [PDF]
Ledgerwood, A., Hudson, S. T. J., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Maddox, K., Pickett, C., Remedios, J., Cheryan, S., … & Wilkins, C. (2022). The Pandemic as a Portal: Reimagining Psychological Science as Truly Open and Inclusive. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17(4), 937-959.
Abstract: Psychological science is at an inflection point: The COVID-19 pandemic has already begun to exacerbate inequalities that stem from our historically closed and exclusive culture. Meanwhile, reform efforts to change the future of our science are too narrow in focus to fully succeed. In this paper, we call on psychological scientists—focusing specifically on those who use quantitative methods in the United States as one context for such conversations—to begin reimagining our discipline as fundamentally open and inclusive. First, we discuss who our discipline was designed to serve and how this history produced the inequitable reward and support systems we see today. Second, we highlight how current institutional responses to address worsening inequalities are inadequate, as well as how our disciplinary perspective may both help and hinder our ability to craft effective solutions. Third, we take a hard look in the mirror at the disconnect between what we ostensibly value as a field and what we actually practice. Fourth and finally, we lead readers through a roadmap for reimagining psychological science in whatever roles and spaces they occupy, from an informal discussion group in a department to a formal strategic planning retreat at a scientific society. [PDF]
Ledgerwood, A., Pickett, C., Navarro, D., Remedios, J. D., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). The unbearable limitations of solo science: Team science as a path for more rigorous and relevant research. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 45, e81.
Abstract: Both early social psychologists and the modern, interdisciplinary scientific community have advocated for diverse team science. We echo this call and describe three common pitfalls of solo science illustrated by the target article. We discuss how a collaborative and inclusive approach to science can both help researchers avoid these pitfalls and pave the way for more rigorous and relevant research. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). A plea for better working conditions for young scientists. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.abi6902.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses the need for improving conditions in the scientific workforce to better support young scientists. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). What universities say versus do about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Nature Human Behaviour, 6(5), 610.
Abstract: The stories that US universities tell about diversity, equity and inclusion do not translate to actions, explains Neil A. Lewis, Jr. Instead, their actions disadvantage the people they allegedly support. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). What would make cognitive science more useful? Trends in Cognitive Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2022.07.005
Abstract: What would make cognitive science more useful? In this essay, I argue that the cognitive sciences could advance theories and be more useful to society if they devoted more effort to conducting research in ways that include a more diverse set of participants and stakeholders than they have historically. [HTML]
Matias, J. N., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Hope, E. (2022). US Universities are not succeeding in diversifying faculty. Nature Human Behaviour. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01495-4
Abstract: US universities have made public commitments to recruit and retain faculty of colour. Analysis of three federal datasets shows that at current rates diversity in US faculty will never reach racial parity. Yet, colleges and universities could achieve parity by 2050 by diversifying their faculty at 3.5 times the current pace. [PDF]
*Premachandra, B., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Do We Report the Information that is Necessary to Give Psychology Away? A Scoping Review of the Psychological Intervention Literature 2000-2018. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17(1), 226-238.
Abstract: Psychologists are spending a considerable amount of time researching and developing interventions, in hopes that our efforts can help to tackle some of society’s pressing problems. Unfortunately, those hopes are often not realized—many interventions are developed and reported in our journals but do not make their way into the broader world they were designed to change. One potential reason for this is that there may be a gap between the information reported in our papers, and the information others, such as practitioners, need to implement our findings. We explored this possibility in the current paper. We conducted a scoping review to assess the extent to which the information needed for implementation is reported in psychological intervention papers. Results suggest psychological intervention papers report, at most, 64% of the information needed to implement interventions. We discuss the implications of this for both psychological theories and applying them in the world. [PDF]
Schuldt, J. P., Pearson, A. R., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Jardina, A., & Enns, P. (in press). How inequality and misperceptions of group concerns threaten science and its societal impact. ANNALS of the American Academy of Political & Social Science, 700(1), 195-207.
Abstract: Racial and ethnic minorities and lower-income groups are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards and suffer worse health outcomes than other groups in the United States. Survey research finds that these same groups frequently express greater concern about high-profile global environmental threats, like climate change, relative to Whites and higher-income groups. Yet as we discuss, research also reveals that minority and lower-income Americans are widely misperceived as being less concerned about these issues than White and higher-income Americans. We extend this work by exploring public perceptions of COVID-19 concerns, another global threat marked by substantial racial, ethnic, and class disparities. We find distinct patterns of misperceptions regarding groups’ concerns about COVID-19, and more generally, discuss how such misperceptions constitute a unique form of social misinformation that may undermine cooperation and trust needed to address collective problems, posing a threat to science and its societal impact. [PDF]
Spuill, M., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). How do people come to judge what is “reasonable”? Effects of legal and sociological systems on human psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916221096110
Abstract: How do people decide what is reasonable? We often have to make those judgments, judgments that can influence tremendously consequential decisions—such as whether to indict someone in a legal proceeding. In this paper we take a situated cognition lens to review and integrate findings from social psychology, judgment and decision making, communication, law, and sociology, to generate a new framework for conceptualizing judgments of reasonableness and their implications for how people make decisions, particularly in the context of the legal system. We theorize that differences in structural and social contexts create information asymmetries that shape people’s priors about what is, and is not, reasonable, as well as how they update their priors in the face of new information. We use the legal system as a context for exploring the implications of the framework for both individual and collective decision-making, as well as for considering the practical implications of the framework for inequities in law and social policy. [PDF]
*Spruill, M., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Legal descriptions of police officers affect how citizens judge them. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 101, 104306.
Abstract: How does legal terminology affect our mental representations of police officers? In two experiments (N = 2,001) with jury-eligible Americans, we examined the dual influence of social stratification and legal language on how Americans form judgments of police officers. We manipulated descriptions of officers—using laymen’s terms or legal terms—and assessed how those descriptions differentially affected Americans’ conceptions of officers. Officers described as “objectively reasonable” (a legal term) were judged less negatively and perceived as warmer and more competent than “average” officers or just “officers”. Further, effects of legal language were moderated by race and neighborhood context, consistent with racialized experiences in a stratified nation. Specifically, the priors of Black and white Americans in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas differ significantly at baseline (i.e., in the control condition), but are brought in alignment—in favor of officers—when officers are described as “objectively reasonable”. We discuss the implications of these processes for both psychological theory and legal practice. [PDF] [OSF]
*Tepper, S. J., *Spruill, M., *Premachandra, B., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2022). Surveys as conversations between makers ant takers: A conversational framework for assessing and responding to community needs. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. http://doi.org/10.1111/asap.12326
Abstract: Surveys, commonly employed in the social and behavioral sciences, are practical tools that can be used to assess the needs and attitudes of a given population. If not implemented in thoughtful ways, however, surveys can be inefficient or even harmful. With surveys often informing critical policy decisions, survey administrators must make careful methodological choices in order to obtain meaningful results and make sound decisions. In this paper, we review the social scientific literature on survey construction to aid policymakers, practitioners, and other survey administrators in understanding their position, identifying their participants, and establishing a plan for their surveys. We provide an overarching framework for survey design, guided by the idea that surveys are conversations between administrators and participants, in order to help creators of surveys make better decisions and engage more effectively with the communities they serve. [PDF]
*Xu, Y., **Farkouh, E. K., **Dunetz, C. A., **Varanasi, S. L., **Mathews, S. J., Gollust, S. E., Fowler, E. F., Moore, S. T., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Niederdeppe, J. (2022). Local TV news coverage of racial disparities in COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic. Race and Social Problems. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-022-09372-5
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted health and social outcomes for people of color in the United States. This study examined how local TV news stories attributed causes and solutions for COVID-19-related racial health and social disparities, and whether coverage of such disparities changed after George Floyd’s murder, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. We systematically validated keywords to extract relevant news content and conducted a content analysis of 169 discrete local TV news stories aired between March and June 2020 from 80 broadcast networks within 22 purposefully selected media markets. We found that social determinants of COVID-19 related racial disparities have been part of the discussion in local TV news, but racism as a public health crisis was rarely mentioned. Coverage of racial disparities focused far more attention on physical health outcomes than broader social impacts. Stories cited more structural factors than individual factors, as causes of these disparities. After the murder of George Floyd, stories were more likely to mention Black and Latinx people than other populations impacted by COVID-19. Only 9% of local news stories referenced racism, and stories referenced politicians more frequently than public health experts. [PDF]
*Berry, Z., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Sowden, W. J. (2021). The Double-Edged Sword of Loyalty. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 30(4), 321-326.
Abstract: Loyalty has long been associated with being moral and upstanding, but recent research has begun documenting how loyalty can lead us to do unethical things. Here we offer an integrative perspective that explains when and why loyalty leads to both ethical and unethical outcomes. We suggest that a variety of bottom-up and top-down psychological processes lead us to be loyal to people and organizations we have obligations to, and that these processes operate in ways that reduce the cognitive dissonance that we experience in situations in which our loyalties conflict with other moral principles. In this article, we articulate what loyalty is, describe the typical objects of our loyalty, explain the mental processes involved in navigating loyalty dilemmas, and end by offering an integrative perspective that illuminates why loyalty leads to both ethical and unethical outcomes. [PDF]
Choo, E., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). What we’ve learned from communicating our science during the pandemic. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.abg9111.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for engaging in science communication during uncertain times. [HTML]
Dienlin, T., …, Lewis, N. A., Jr., & de Vreese, C. (2021). An Agenda for Open Science in Communication. Journal of Communication,71(1), 1-26.
Abstract: In the last ten years, many canonical findings in the social sciences have shown to be unreliable. This so-called replication crisis has spurred calls for open science practices, which aim to increase the reproducibility, replicability, and generalizability of findings. Communication research is subject to many of the same challenges that have caused low replicability in other fields. As a result, we propose an agenda for adopting open science practices in Communication research, which includes the following seven points: (1) publish materials, data, and code; (2) preregister studies and submit registered reports; (3) conduct replications; (4) collaborate; (5) foster open science skills; (6) implement Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines; and (7) incentivize open science practices. While in our agenda we focus mostly on quantitative research, we also reflect on open science practices relevant to qualitative research. We conclude by discussing potential objections and concerns to open science practices. [PDF]
Humphreys, L., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Sender, K., & Won, A. S. (2021). Integrating Qualitative Methods and Open Science: Five Principles for More Trustworthy Research. Journal of Communication, jqab06.
Abstract: Recent initiatives towards open science in communication have prompted vigorous debate. In this paper, we draw on qualitative and interpretive research methods to expand the key priorities that the open science framework addresses, namely producing trustworthy and quality research. This paper contributes to communication research by integrating qualitative methodological literature with open communication science research to identify five broader commitments for all communication research: validity, transparency, ethics, reflexivity, and collaboration. We identify key opportunities where qualitative and quantitative communication scholars can leverage the momentum of open science to critically reflect on and improve our knowledge production processes. We also examine competing values that incentivize dubious practices in communication research, and discuss several metascience initiatives to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field and value multiple ways of knowing. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). Can we achieve “equality” when we have different understandings of its meaning? How contexts and identities shape the pursuit of egalitarian goals. Psychological Inquiry, 32(3), 155-164.
Abstract: People in diverse societies often discuss and debate strategies for achieving egalitarian goals, such as achieving equality in their societies. A tacit assumption in these discussions is that all parties must agree on what equality means in order to pursue and achieve it. In this paper, I use the United States as a context to examine whether that assumption is reasonable, given the effects of macro-level structure and culture on individual psychologies. Specifically, I discuss how patterns of social stratification seep into the mind and affect how different groups of people perceive and make meaning of the world around them, including their understanding of concepts like equality. Further, I discuss what those processes mean for differential motivation to pursue egalitarian goals among sub-groups of people within shared, yet segregated, societies. Finally, I end with some considerations about pathways to achieve equality even when people disagree about what that actually means. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). The difficult but important journey from here to equality. Psychological Inquiry, 32(3), 191-196.
Abstract: For a variety of reasons outlined in the target article and commentaries in this issue, it is difficult to pursue equality in a multi-ethnic democracy (Levitsky & Ziblatt, 2018). This article responds to issues raised in the commentaries on the target article, then outlines steps that citizens, scientists, and policymakers can all take on the journey from here to equality. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). What counts as good science? How the battle for methodological legitimacy affects public psychology. American Psychologist, 76(8), 1323-1333.
Abstract: Part of the “boundary work” (Gieryn, 1983) throughout the history of psychology has been to divide the discipline into camps of ‘basic’ and ‘applied’ researchers who take different methodological approaches to construct knowledge. Each ‘side’ has come up with different processes for conceptualizing, constructing, and evaluating the legitimacy of knowledge claims, processes that have implications for applying research insights to practical issues in society. In this paper I review and synthesize research on the history of knowledge construction in both basic and applied psychology, and the implications of their respective methodological practices for their perceived legitimacy. I then discuss how the lessons learned from the past can be leveraged to address the current crisis of confidence in the “credibility revolution” era (Vazire, 2018), as well as the field’s perceived legitimacy to external stakeholders. Finally, I end with recommendations for structural changes to improve the credibility and legitimacy of our field’s findings as well as their relevance for achieving our public psychology goals. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Green, D., Duker, A., & Onyeador, I. (2021). Not seeing eye to eye: Challenges to building ethnically and economically diverse environmental coalitions. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 42, 60-64.
Abstract: Environmental issues are collective action problems that can only be solved with coordinated efforts among diverse groups of people. Whether people are willing to collaborate to solve these problems, however, depends on their perceptions of, and trust in, each other. If people misperceive each other–for instance, due to inaccurate stereotypes about who truly cares about environmental issues–then it becomes difficult to build diverse coalitions to address these collective problems. In this paper we review recent research on factors that lead diverse groups of people to misperceive each others’ environmental concerns and the consequences of these misperceptions for collective action. We then conclude by discussing a more inclusive approach for building diverse coalitions in environmental movements. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., *Kougias, D. G., *Takahashi, K. J., & Earl, A. (2021). The Behavior of Same-Race Others and its Effects on Black Patients’ Attention to Publicly Presented HIV-Prevention Information. Health Communication, 36(10), 1252-1259.
Abstract: Black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010), yet account for 54% of HIV deaths and 44% of new HIV diagnoses. Why do Black Americans die from HIV at such a disproportionate rate? In the current study, we asked whether the presence and behavior of in-group peers in public health settings may influence Black Americans’ attention to HIV information, given the racialized nature of HIV-stigma in Black American communities. In a quasi-experimental field study conducted in a public health clinic (N = 260), we found that Black patients were less likely to pay attention to HIV-prevention information in the presence of other Black patients, unless those patients were also paying attention to the information. In contrast, Black patients’ attention was unaffected by the presence of White patients. We end by discussing the implications of these findings for health communication theories and health practice geared toward reducing racial-health disparities in the United States. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Wai, J. (2021). Communicating What We Know, and What Isn’t So: Science Communication in Psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691620964062
Abstract: The field of psychology has a long history of encouraging researchers to disseminate our findings to the broader public. This trend has continued in recent decades in part due to professional psychology organizations re-issuing calls to “give psychology away.” This recent wave of calls to give psychology away is different, because it has been occurring alongside another movement in the field—the credibility revolution (Vazire, 2018)—in which psychology has been reckoning with meta-scientific questions about what exactly it is that we know. This creates a dilemma for the modern psychologist: how are we to “give psychology away” if we are unsure about what we know, or what we have to give? In the current paper, we discuss strategies for navigating this tension by drawing on insights from the inter-disciplinary fields of science communication and persuasion and social influence. [PDF]
Onyeador, I., Hudson, S. T. J., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). Moving beyond implicit bias training: Policy insights for increasing organizational diversity. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8(1), 19-26.
Abstract: Many organizations are working to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. Organizations frequently use implicit bias to explain disparities and marshal implicit bias training as a solution. These trainings are insufficient, so organizations should move beyond implicit bias trainings in their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Organizations should 1) use trainings as a tool to educate members of their organizations about bias and about organizational efforts to address diversity, equity, and inclusion; 2) prepare for, rather than accommodate, defensive responses from dominant group members; and 3) implement structures that foster organizational responsibility for diversity, equity, and inclusion goals; opportunities for high-quality intergroup contact; affinity groups for underrepresented people; welcoming and inclusive messaging; and processes that bypass interpersonal bias. Although no simple, one-size-fits-all solutions address organizational diversity, organizational leaders have many tools they need to design more effective diversity strategies. [PDF]
*Pinedo, A., *Vossoughi, N., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). Critical pedagogy and children’s beneficial development. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8(2), 183-191.
Abstract: Ongoing controversy debates whether public schools should implement critical pedagogy–curricula centering on the perspectives of marginalized peoples. Despite much contention, students (particularly racially marginalized students) enrolled in courses that employ critical pedagogy demonstrate more school engagement, higher GPAs, and more civic engagement than students who do not. Building on previous reviews, this articles briefly summarizes the history and controversy of critical pedagogy, evaluates the scientific evidence surrounding it, and offers suggestions on how to make the most of critical pedagogy in academic curricula.
Somerville, L. H., Van Bavel, J. J., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Gruber, J., & Cunningham, W. A. (2021). Learn when—and how—to say no in your professional life. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.abe5459
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for saying no to maintain balance in scientific life. [HTML]
*Tepper, S. J., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). When the going gets tough, how do we perceive the future? Social Cognition, 39(4), 526-541.
Abstract: People struggle to stay motivated to work toward difficult goals. Sometimes the feeling of difficulty signals that the goal is important and worth pursuing; other times, it signals that the goal is impossible and should be abandoned. In this paper, we argue that how difficulty is experienced depends on how we perceive and experience the timing of difficult events. We synthesize research from across the social and behavioral sciences and propose a new integrated model to explain how components of time perception interact with interpretations of experienced difficulty to influence motivation and goal-directed behavior. Although these constructs have been studied separately in previous research, we suggest that these factors are inseparable and that an integrated model will help us to better understand motivation and predict behavior. We conclude with new empirical questions to guide future research and by discussing the implications of this research for both theory and intervention practice. [PDF]
**Williams-Ceci, S., **Grose, G. E., **Pinch, A. C., Kizilcec, R. F., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). Combatting sharenting: Interventions to alter parents’ attitudes towards posting about their children online. Computers in Human Behavior, 106939.
Abstract: Sharenting is a recent phenomenon in which parents disclose detailed information about their children online, which can risk their children’s long-term safety and parental relationships. To mitigate these risks and discourage the sharing of inappropriate content, we developed and tested two interventions to deter sharenting in a randomized controlled experiment with 246 parents. Parents watched a video about the dangers of sharenting (Intervention 1) with some assigned to write a summary of this video (Intervention 2) while the remaining participants watched a video unrelated to sharenting (Control). We found that the intervention reduced parents’ willingness to post both inappropriate and appropriate content about children, but only if parents reflected on
the video message in writing. The interventions did not, however, change parents’ attitudes about asking their children for permission before posting. The results advance our understanding of sharenting and offer insights about potential brief and scalable approaches to mitigate sharenting and its consequences. In particular, we demonstrate that a purely informational intervention is not as effective as one that encourages substantive reflection. [PDF]
Yudkin, D. A., Stolier, R. M., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2021). Changing perceptions around nontraditional career trajectories in psychological science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
Abstract: In a tightening job market, early career researchers may consider employment opportunities outside academia. Yet there is the widespread belief that such employment experience is perceived negatively by academic hiring committees. Changing perceptions and practices around this issue would benefit these researchers and the field of psychology as a whole. [HTML]
Bayer, J. B., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & *Stahl, J. L. (2020). Who Comes to Mind? Dynamic Construction of Social Networks. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(3), 279-285.
Abstract: Much remains unknown about moment-to-moment social network cognition – i.e., who comes to mind as we go about our day-to-day lives. Responding to this void, here we describe the real-time construction of cognitive social networks. First, we outline the types of relational structures that comprise momentary networks, distinguishing the roles of personal relationships, social groups, and mental sets. Second, we discuss the cognitive mechanisms that determine which individuals are activated – and which are neglected – through a dynamic process. Looking forward, we contend that these overlooked mechanisms represent a rising consideration for society in light of emerging network technologies. Finally, we chart the next steps for understanding social network cognition across real-world contexts, along with the built-in implications for social resources and intergroup disparities. [PDF]
Carter, E., Onyeador, I., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2020). Developing and Delivering Effective Anti-Bias Training: Challenges and Recommendations. Behavioral Science and Policy, 6(1), 57-70.
Abstract: As organizations invest nearly eight billion dollars annually into ‘diversity training,’ questions have arisen about whether training actually changes attitudes and behavior. The present article reviews the relevant evidence, noting that training should be explicitly anti-bias training, aiming to increase awareness of and concern about bias while providing bias management strategies that attendees can use to change their behavior. After outlining five challenges to developing and delivering training that meets these goals, we provide evidence-based recommendations facilitators can use as a blueprint for creating an anti-bias training that works. We recommend that organizations continue to invest in anti-bias training, along with other diversity and inclusion initiatives, to ensure the eight billion dollars spent each year yields meaningful change. [PDF]
Hall, M. P., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Chandler, J., & Litman, L. (2020). Conducting Longitudinal Research on Amazon Mechanical Turk. In L. Litman & J. Robinson (Eds.). Conducting Online Research on Amazon Mechanical Turk and Beyond (pp. 198-216). SAGE.
Abstract: This research methods chapter outlines research design principles and practices for conducting longitudinal research in online settings. [PDF]
IJzerman, H., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Przybylski, A. K., Weinstein, N. DeBruine, L., Ritchie, S., Vazire, S., Forscher, P. S., Morey, R., Ivory, J. D., & Anvari, F. (2020). Use caution when applying behavioural science to policy. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(11), 1092-1094. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-00990-w
Abstract: Social and behavioural scientists have attempted to speak to the COVID-19 crisis. But is behavioural research on COVID-19 suitable for making policy decisions? We offer a taxonomy that lets our science advance in Evidence Readiness Levels to be suitable for policy. We caution practitioners to take extreme care translating our findings to applications. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2020). Open Communication Science: A Primer on Why and Recommendations for How. Communication Methods and Measures, 14(2), 71-82.
Abstract: Communication scientists devote large amounts of resources to conducting studies to improve our understanding of the social world, in hopes that our efforts contribute to improving people’s life outcomes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the process by which our research is conducted is not always clear in our journal articles or books reporting our research. This lack of process-insight (a) limits our ability to build on each other’s research, (b) limits our holistic understanding of communication processes, and (c) limits the ability of consumers of our research to put it into practice. The current article discusses recent methodological advances designed to address these issues – advances in open science practices. I provide a brief primer on the philosophy behind open science and its relevance for communication research, then provide recommendations for both novice and expert researchers to implement open science practices at multiple steps of the research pipeline. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2020). What I’ve learned about being a Black scientist. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.abd3589.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for improving diversity and inclusion in scientific institutions. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Bravo, M., *Naiman, S., Pearson, A. R., Romero-Canyas, R., Schuldt, J. P., & *Song, H. (2020). Using Qualitative Approaches to Improve Quantitative Inferences in Environmental Psychology. MethodsX, 7, 100943.
Abstract: This article describes the qualitative approach used to generate and interpret the quantitative study reported by Song and colleagues’ (2020) in their article, “What counts as an ‘environmental’ issue? Differences in environmental issue conceptualization across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.” Song and colleagues (2020) describe the results of a survey documenting that, in the United States, White and high-SES respondents perceive environmental issues differently than their non-White and lower-SES counterparts, reflecting structural differences in environmental risks. While Song and colleagues (2020) discuss the survey results in detail, the discussion of the qualitative research that led to the creation of that survey was limited due to space constraints. The current article provides a more holistic account of the methods behind the Song and colleagues (2020) study by discussing the qualitative component of the research in detail. In addition to discussing how the qualitative research complements and critically informs the findings reported by Song et al., we also consider the broader implications and value of integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in environmental psychology. [PDF]
*Song, H., Lewis, N. A., Jr., *Ballew, M., Bravo, M., *Davydova, J., Gao, H. O., Garcia, R., Hiltner, S., *Naiman, S., Pearson, A. R., Romero-Canyas, R., & Schuldt, J. P. (2020). What counts as an “environmental” issue? Differences in environmental issue conceptualization by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 68, 101404.
Abstract: Racial/ethnic minorities and lower-socioeconomic (SES) groups in the U.S. face disproportionate environmental risks, which may hold implications for how these groups construe environmental issues, relative to other segments of the public. We explored this possibility with a diverse sample of 1,191 U.S. adults, hypothesizing that, relative to White and higher-SES respondents, non-White and lower-SES respondents would rate a greater number of pressing societal issues as also “environmental.” Across 18 issues, ranging from ecological issues more traditionally the focus of environmental advocacy and scholarship (e.g., pollution; eco-oriented issues) to issues that also constitute human social determinants and consequences of environmental risk (e.g., poverty; human-oriented issues), non-White and lower-income respondents rated human-oriented issues as more “environmental.” Environmental justice perceptions partially mediated group differences in issue conceptualization. Results hold implications for the measurement of environmental attitudes and efforts to broaden public engagement within racially and economically diverse communities. [PDF]
Van Bavel, J. J., Gruber, J., Somerville, L. H., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2020). How to write a clear, compelling CV. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aba8977.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for writing clear curriculum vitae, as well as “extended CVs” on the web. [HTML]
Cunningham, W. A,. Gruber, J., Van Bavel, J. J., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2019). Conflict in your research group? Here are four strategies for seeking a resolution. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aba2636
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for resolving conflicts in research teams to create more harmonious research environments. [HTML]
Earl, A., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2019). Health in Context: New Perspectives on Healthy Thinking and Healthy Living. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 81(3), 1-4.
Abstract: People do not want to get sick, become disabled, or die young. At the same time, many people have trouble giving up unhealthy lifestyle choices or adopting healthy behaviors or goals. To help people overcome the struggles associated with improving and maintaining good health, researchers and practitioners have developed a variety of health behavior change interventions. Unfortunately, reluctant audiences are often unwilling to enroll or remain in structured, standardized interventions. In addition, behavior change recommendations often have low generalizability outside of the context of the intervention program and recommendations (and health behaviors more broadly) may resonate differently among different sub-groups of the population depending on how they are framed. What can be done to increase the efficacy of health behavior change interventions? Our objective in this special issue was to integrate novel research targeted towards improving health outcomes, while simultaneously improving process models to understand motivation, self-control, and other likely levers for effective behavior change, with examples from laboratory and field-based interventions. In this editorial, we first give an overview of how we operationalize health, and then discuss the role of context in health behavior, including (a) the advantages of systematically examining the role of context, (b) how we, as a field, can study context effects in a way that is generative for theory development and testing, and (c) the implications of studying context for different types of interventions. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2019b). Who Needs to Say What to Whom for an Intervention to Have its Intended Effect? Examining Heterogeneity in Behavioral Science Interventions. LIFE Newsletter, International Max Plank Institute for Human Development, 13(3), 9-12.
Abstract: This article outlines the benefits of studying heterogeneity in behavioral science interventions for improving social scientific theories, and making social science more useful for practice.
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2019a). Studying People in Their Local Environments. APS Observer, 32(3), 29-30.
Abstract: This article discusses how using mobile research laboratories can help psychology achieve its goal of generating more generalizable knowledge about human behavior and mental processes. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Gruber, J., Van Bavel, J. J., & Somerville, L. H. (2019). Three tips for giving a great research talk. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aax7352.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for delivering effective research talks. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Sekaquaptewa, D., & Meadows, L. (2019). Modeling gender counter-stereotypic group behavior: a brief video intervention reduces participation gender gaps on STEM teams. Social Psychology of Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-019-09489-3
Abstract: In STEM project group teams, men speak for more time (Meadows & Sekaquaptewa, 2011) and engage in more active technical participation than women, which can have negative long-term consequences (Cheryan et al., 2017; Lord et al., 2011). In the current study, we tested the effects of a brief counter-stereotypic video intervention on gender gaps in verbal participation on mixed-gender teams of STEM students (N =143). Participants viewed either a control video of an engineering student team behaving in a gender stereotype-consistent way (men talked longer and presented more technical information than women) in a group presentation and group interview, or a gender counter-stereotypic intervention version (roles reversed) prior to engaging in their own STEM group project task in a laboratory setting. Analysis of video footage of the groups showed that men spoke longer than women in the control condition, but men and women spoke for equal time in the intervention condition. This result was corroborated by participants’ self-report of their verbal participation in their group. [PDF] [OSF- Supplemental Materials]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Somerville, L. H., Van Bavel, J. J., Gruber, J., & Cunningham, W. A. (2019). Step back to move forward: Setting new priorities in the new year. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aaw5301.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses setting priorities for the new year and developing actionable plans for goal achievement. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Somerville, L. H., Van Bavel, J. J., & Cunningham, W. A. (2019). Help funders help you: Five tips for writing effective funding applications. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aaz6040.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for writing grants and getting them funded. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Van Bavel, J. J., Gruber, J., Somerville, L. H., & Cunningham, W. A. (2019). School’s (somewhat) out for summer: Five tips to help academics make the most of the season. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aay1342
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for making summer “break” both enjoyable and productive. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Van Bavel, J. J., & Somerville, L. H. (2019). Tips for easing the service burden on scientists from underrepresented groups. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aay1342.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses individual and institutional strategies for creating more equitable working environments for scientists from underrepresented groups. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Yates, J. F. (2019). Preparing Disadvantaged Students for Success in College: Lessons Learned from the Preparation Initiative. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(1), 54-59.
Abstract: This article describes The Preparation Initiative (PI) program and highlights some of its effects on students who have participated in the program. The PI is a learning community that was designed to help students from disadvantaged programs (e.g., low-income, first-generation, racial-ethnic minorities) succeed in their academic pursuits at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Over 300 students have participated in the program since its inception. A recent independent program evaluation revealed that participation in the program substantially increased students’ grades as well as graduation rates. We discuss the implications of this program for research and practice in education as well as policy efforts to reduce education disparities. [PDF]
Somerville, L. H., Cunningham, W. A., Gruber, J., Van Bavel, J. J., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2019). Three keys to launching your own lab. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aaz1327.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists provides advice to new PIs for launching their own research labs. [HTML]
Van Bavel, J. J., Gruber, J., Somerville, L. H., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2019). Three research-based lessons to improve your mentoring. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aax3270.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses scientific principles related to mentoring and makes recommendations for scientists to become better mentors. [HTML]
Van Bavel, J. J., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Cunningham, W. A. (2019). In the tough academic job market, two principles can help you maximize your chances. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.careditaay6941.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for maximizing success on the academic job market. [HTML]
Van Bavel, J. J., Somerville, L. H., Cunningham, W. A., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2019). Ten tips for negotiating job offers. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aba5203.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists discusses strategies for negotiating job offers. [HTML]
Gruber, J., Van Bavel, J. J., Somerville, L. H., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Cunningham, W. A. (2018). Introducing “Letters to Young Scientists,” a new column from Science Careers. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aav2304.
Abstract: This article introduces Letters to Young Scientists, an advice column for early career scientists. [HTML]
Hall, M. P., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Ellsworth, P. C. (2018). Believing in climate change, but not behaving sustainably: Evidence from a one-year longitudinal study. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 56, 55-62.
Abstract: We conducted a one-year longitudinal study in which 600 American adults regularly reported their climate change beliefs, pro-environmental behavior, and other climate-change related measures. Using latent class analyses, we uncovered three clusters of American with distinct climate belief trajectories: (1) the “Skeptical,” who believed least in climate change; (2) the “Cautiously Worried,” who had moderate beliefs in climate change; and (3) the “Highly Concerned,” who had the strongest beliefs and concern about climate change. Cluster membership predicted different outcomes: the “Highly Concerned” were most supportive of government climate policies, but least likely to report individual-level actions, whereas the “Skeptical” opposed policy solutions but were most likely to report engaging in individual-level pro-environmental behaviors. Implications for theory and practice are discussed. [PDF] [Open Science Framework]
Klein, R., Ratliff, K., Vianello, M., …, Lewis, N. A., Jr., … & Nosek, B. (2018). Many Labs 2: Investigating Variation in Replicability Across Sample and Setting. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 1(4), 443-490.
Abstract: We conducted preregistered replications of 28 classic and contemporary published findings with protocols that were peer reviewed in advance to examine variation in effect magnitudes across sample and setting. Each protocol was administered to approximately half of the 125 samples and 15,305 total participants from 36 countries and territories. Using conventional statistical significance (p < .05), fifteen (54%) of the replications provided evidence in the same direction and statistically significant as the original finding. With a strict significance criterion (p < .0001), fourteen (50%) provide such evidence reflecting the extremely high powered design. Seven (25%) of the replications had effect sizes larger than the original finding and 21 (75%) had effect sizes smaller than the original finding. The median comparable Cohen’s d effect size for original findings was 0.60 and for replications was 0.15. Sixteen replications (57%) had small effect sizes (< .20) and 9 (32%) were in the opposite direction from the original finding. Across settings, 11 (39%) showed significant heterogeneity using the Q statistic and most of those were among the findings eliciting the largest overall effect sizes; only one effect that was near zero in the aggregate showed significant heterogeneity. Only one effect showed a Tau > 0.20 indicating moderate heterogeneity. Nine others had a Tau near or slightly above 0.10 indicating slight heterogeneity. In moderation tests, very little heterogeneity was attributable to task order, administration in the lab versus online, and exploratory WEIRD versus less WEIRD culture comparisons. Cumulatively, variability in observed effect sizes was more attributable to the effect being studied than the sample or setting in which it was studied. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2018). Three reminders to help you thrive – not merely survive – in grad school. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aav2586.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists provides advice for those beginning their graduate school journey. [HTML]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Earl, A. (2018). Seeing More and Eating Less: Effects of Portion Size Granularity on the Perception and Regulation of Food Consumption. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114(5), 786-803.
Abstract: Over-eating and resulting obesity is a public health concern in the United States, and portion size is a factor that contributes to these problems (Zlatevska et al., 2014). The present research demonstrates that the granularity of labels used to describe portions also influences food consumption, independent of previously documented portion size effects. Across six studies and seven different food items, we find a robust and reliable effect of portion size granularity labels on consumption intentions and food consumption. Having people think about food using fine-grained labels leads them to decrease their consumption intentions (Study 1, n=80) and ultimately eat less food (Studies 2a, n=79, 2b, n=79). This process operates by shifting people’s perceptions of the size of foods (rather than changing levels of construal) whereby portions described with fine-grained labels (e.g. “15 gummy candies”) are perceived to be bigger than portions described with gross-grained labels (e.g. “one serving”; Study 3, n = 200). In addition, granularity facilitates self-regulation of consumption for individuals with a weight-loss goal both when self-regulation is measured (Study 4, n = 160) and when we manipulate that mediator (Study 5, n = 300). Finally, a high-powered registered report replicated effects of granularity on consumption via shifts in perception and intentions with a diverse community sample (Study 6, n = 323). Implications for theory and practice are discussed. [Final Publication PDF] [Registered Report Accepted in Principle] [Open Science Framework]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., Van Bavel, J. J., Somerville, L. H., & Gruber, J. (2018). A social media survival guide for scientists. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aav9607.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientists provides advice for navigating social media as a modern scientist. [HTML].
Van Bavel, J. J., Gruber, J., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2018). Applying for a Ph.D.? These 10 tips can help you succeed. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aav5461.
Abstract: This Letter to Young Scientist provides advice for students applying to PhD programs in scientific disciplines. [HTML]
Aelenei, C., Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Oyserman, D. (2017). No pain, no gain? Social demographic correlates and identity consequences of interpreting experienced difficulty as importance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 48, 43-55.
Abstract: Community college students are less likely to graduate than university students, perhaps because their difficult life circumstances increase their vulnerability to misinterpreting the identity implications of experienced difficulty with schoolwork. Without guidance, they may fail to take a “no pain, no gain” perspective in which experienced difficulty with schoolwork implies the importance of succeeding in school. Two studies support this prediction: Study 1 (N = 1,035) finds that education is associated with higher likelihood of interpreting experienced difficulty as signaling task importance among adults. This effect is pronounced for racial minorities. Study 2 (N = 293) finds that students who disagreed that experienced difficulty implies impossibility were more certain about attaining their academic possible identities and more willing to sacrifice to attain these identities. Moreover, community college students benefited more than university students from being guided to consider what experienced difficulty might imply or from considering that experienced difficulty implies importance, rather than impossibility. [ResearchGate PDF] [Supplemental Materials]
Oyserman, D., & Lewis, N. A., Jr. (2017). Seeing the destination AND the path: Using identity-based motivation to understand and reduce racial disparities in academic achievement. Social Issues and Policy Review, 11(1), 159-194
Abstract: African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans aspire to do well in school but often fall short of this goal. We use identity-based motivation theory as an organizing framework to understand how macrolevel social stratification factors including minority-ethnic group membership and low socioeconomic position (e.g. parental education, income) and the stigma they carry, matter. Macrolevel social stratification differentially exposes students to contexts in which choice and control are limited and stigma is evoked, shaping identity-based motivation in three ways. Stratification influences which behaviors likely feel congruent with important identities, undermines belief that one’s actions and effort matter, and skews chronic interpretation of one’s experienced difficulties with schoolwork from interpreting experienced difficulty as implying importance (e.g., “it’s for me”) toward implying “impossibility.” Because minority students have high aspirations, policies should invest in de-stigmatizing, scalable, universal, identity-based motivation-bolstering institutions and interventions. [ResearchGate PDF]
Oyserman, D., Lewis, N. A., Jr., Yan, V. X., Fisher, O., O’Donnell, S. C., & Horowitz, E. (2017). An identity-based motivation framework for self-regulation. Psychological Inquiry, 28 (2-3), 139-147. DOI: 10.1080/1047840X.2017.1337406
Abstract: Will you be going to that networking lunch? Will you be tempted by a donut at 4 pm? If, like many people, your responses are based on your gut sense of who you are –shy or outgoing, a treat lover or a dieter, you made three assumptions about identity– that motivation and behavior are identity-based, that identities are chronically on the mind, and that identities are stable. If identities have worth and value then people should make sense of their experiences through the lens of these identities. If identities are stable and chronically on the mind, then no matter the setting, meaning making will be stable and people should be able to use their identities to control and regulate themselves. Many conceptual models are based on these assumptions. But just because these assumptions are common and useful does not mean they are correct. Identity-based motivation theory predicts that identity stability is a useful illusion but that thinking about the self is for doing –identity accessibility and content is flexibly attuned to contextual constraints and affordances. What is stable is not the content or structure of the self or the accessibility of a particular self-content or self-structure, but rather the motivation to use the self to make meaning. This flexibility is a design feature, not a flaw. Identities orient and focus attention on some features of the immediate context and render other features irrelevant or meaningless. Identity-based motivation theory provides a new way to understand self-regulation by focusing on how immediate context shapes which identities and self-concepts are on the mind what identities imply for meaning making. [ResearchGate PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Oyserman, D. (2016). Using Identity-Based Motivation to Improve the Nation’s Health Without Breaking the Bank. Behavioral Science and Policy, 2(2), 25-38.
Abstract: For the first time in two decades, overall life expectancy in the United States is in decline. Perhaps most unsettling, this increase in mortality is largely due to lifestyle-associated diseases such as heart attack and stroke. In the interest of both the nation and individuals, it is imperative to use every behavioral science tool possible to prevent further population health declines. While most people aspire to live healthy lives, many, especially those in lower socioeconomic groups, fail to sufficiently engage in behaviors necessary to achieve or maintain good health. In this paper we define and outline a social psychology theory, identity-based motivation, as a useful framework for healthcare providers and others to use to support uptake and maintenance of healthy lifestyles. We review research demonstrating how small changes in the health care context and in the presentation of health care information can assist at-risk individuals and help them see themselves as partners in health with health care providers, reducing the likelihood that difficulties along the way will be misinterpreted as meaning that health is impossible. We provide health-supporting and disparity-reducing policy recommendations targeting providers, insurers, and public health initiatives. [PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Sekaquaptewa, D. (2016). Beyond Test Performance: A Broader View of Stereotype Threat. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 40-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.05.002
Abstract: Stereotype threat is the “social psychological threat that arises when one is in a situation or doing something for which a negative stereotype about one’s group applies” (Steele, 1999). Although much of the research on stereotype threat has focused on how stereotype threat affects test performance, its original conception described a much broader and more general phenomenon. In this article we review stereotype threat research, taking a broader view on threat beyond the realm of test performance, focusing on its antecedents (e.g. environmental stereotype cues) and consequences (e.g., effects on interracial interactions). Interventions have also focused primarily on improving or preserving test performance, indicating the need for interventions that address the broader consequences of threat. [ResearchGate PDF]
Lewis, N. A., Jr., & Oyserman, D. (2015). When Does the Future Begin? Time Metrics Matter, Connecting Present and Future Selves. Psychological Science, 26, 816-825. DOI: 10.1177/0956797615572231
Abstract: People assume they should attend to the present; their future self can handle the future. This seemingly plausible rule of thumb can lead people astray, in part because some future events require current action. In order for the future to energize and motivate current action, it must feel imminent. To create this sense of imminence, we manipulated time metric – the units (e.g. days, years) in which time is considered. People interpret accessible time metrics in two ways: If preparation for the future is under way (Studies 1 and 2), people interpret metrics as implying when a future event will occur. If preparation is not under way (Studies 3-5), they interpret metrics as implying when preparation should start (e.g. planning to start saving 4 times sooner for a retirement in 10,950 days instead of 30 years). Time metrics mattered not because they changed how distal or important future events felt (Study 6), but because they changed how connected and congruent their current and future selves felt (Study 7). [ResearchGate PDF] [Supplemental Materials] [Statcheck Report] [Altmetric]