P&N Person of the Week: Sarah Gaither

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Throughout her lifetime, Dr. Sarah Gaither has lived in numerous areas of the United States, from California to Massachusetts to Illinois to North Carolina. No matter where she is, Dr. Gaither carries a sense of adventure; she says she is always open to trying new things. Except for skydiving. Never skydiving. And never anything with clowns. She says that they are not to be trusted, with their fake smiles painted on their faces, convincing everyone they're happy when they aren't. 

How many years of service do you have at Duke?

I have been here for a year and a half. Most people think I've been here longer because I have a large lab team (21 undergraduates and 2 graduate students.)

What do you do in P&N?

I am an assistant professor, so I teach two classes a year, primarily undergraduate. Right now I am teaching Intro to Social Psychology; I also teach a class on diversity issues in psychology research. In addition to teaching, I run a full lab. We run studies every day of the year broadly focusing on diversity interactions and how we fell about people who are different than ourselves. I am what people call a "me-searcher" because my research focuses on a subject that is central to my own identity. As someone who is biracial, I have always been hyper-aware of how easy it is to socially categorize everyone we meet on a daily basis. 

What do you love about P&N?

This department is not as area-centric as many other psychology departments in the country. I was hired as a social psychologist, but I also do work with young children. So, I collaborate with people in the developmental area, the cognitive area. The faculty and students here are approachable, easy to get along with, and open to collaboration. I don't think any good science is done when you're not collaborating with people outside of your main discipline. 

What's your favorite memory with P&N?

I try to take an awkward lab photo at our weekly lab meeting. We try to find some random person in the hallway to take a photo of us, which is fun but also awkward. 

Do you have any hobbies or extracurriculars?

I love food. I love trying new foods and cooking! My goal is to go to every restaurant possible in the Triangle-area. In this department, I'm known as the person to go to when you need a suggestion of where to eat this weekend. My favorite restaurant is Mateo; I love their deviled eggs. I also love Saltbox Seafood; it's a Durham staple that everyone should try.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can touch my tongue to my nose! Also, all of my fingers are double-jointed. They used to get stuck when I played basketball in high school. It was definitely my trademark feature. 

In the news:

Who do you think you See?  in Duke Magazine

She's Biracial, And It's Not a Secret on WUNC's  State of Things

The Challenge of Being a Biracial Women in today's economy in Marie Claire

A Racial Imposter Epidemic in NPR's Codeswitch

Negative Portrayals of Shooting Victimes Lead to victim Blaming in Duke Today


Gomez, EM, Young, DM, Preston, AG, Wilton, LS, Gaither, SE, and Kaiser, CR. "Loss and loyalty: Change in political and gender identity among Clinton supporters after the 2016 U.S. presidential election." Self and Identity (October 23, 2017): 1-23. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Remedios, JD, Schultz, JR, Maddox, KB, and Sommers, SR. "Examining the Effects of I-Sharing for Future White-Black Interactions." Social Psychology 47.3 (May 2016): 125-135. Full Text

Gaither, SE, and Dukes, KN. "Young, black, and endangered: Examining the deaths of trayvon martin, michael brown, and tamir rice through a psychological lens." Stereotypes and Stereotyping: Misperceptions, Perspectives and Role of Social Media. January 1, 2016. 83-98.

Gaither, SE, Pauker, K, Slepian, ML, and Sommers, SR. "Social Belonging Motivates Categorization of Racially Ambiguous Faces." Social Cognition 34.2 (April 2016): 97-118. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Remedios, JD, Schultz, JR, and Sommers, SR. "Priming White identity elicits stereotype boost for biracial Black-White individuals." Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 18.6 (November 2015): 778-787. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Remedios, JD, Sanchez, DT, and Sommers, SR. "Thinking Outside the Box." Social Psychological and Personality Science 6.5 (July 2015): 596-603. Full Text

Howell, JL, Gaither, SE, and Ratliff, KA. "Caught in the Middle." Social Psychological and Personality Science 6.4 (May 2015): 373-381. Full Text

Gaither, SE. "“Mixed” Results." Current Directions in Psychological Science 24.2 (April 2015): 114-119. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Cohen-Goldberg, AM, Gidney, CL, Maddox, KB, Gidney, CL, and Gidney, CL. "Sounding Black or White: priming identity and biracial speech." Frontiers in psychology 6 (January 2015): 457-. Full Text

Schultz, JR, Gaither, SE, Urry, HL, and Maddox, KB. "Reframing anxiety to encourage interracial interactions." Translational Issues in Psychological Science 1.4 (2015): 392-400. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Wilton, LS, and Young, DM. "Perceiving a Presidency in Black (and White): Four Years Later." Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy 14.1 (December 2014): 7-21. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Chen, EE, Corriveau, KH, Harris, PL, Ambady, N, and Sommers, SR. "Monoracial and biracial children: effects of racial identity saliency on social learning and social preferences." Child development 85.6 (November 2014): 2299-2316. Full Text

Chen, JM, Moons, WG, Gaither, SE, Hamilton, DL, and Sherman, JW. "Motivation to control prejudice predicts categorization of multiracials." Personality & social psychology bulletin 40.5 (May 2014): 590-603. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Schultz, JR, Pauker, K, Sommers, SR, Maddox, KB, and Ambady, N. "Essentialist thinking predicts decrements in children's memory for racially ambiguous faces." Developmental psychology 50.2 (February 2014): 482-488. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Sommers, SR, and Ambady, N. "When the half affects the whole: Priming identity for biracial individuals in social interactions." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 49.3 (May 2013): 368-371. Full Text

Gaither, SE, and Sommers, SR. "Living with an other-race roommate shapes Whites' behavior in subsequent diverse settings." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 49.2 (March 2013): 272-276. Full Text

Gaither, SE, and Sommers, SR. "Honk if you like minorities: Vuvuzela attitudes predict outgroup liking." International Review for the Sociology of Sport 48.1 (February 2013): 54-65. Full Text

Gaither, SE, Pauker, K, and Johnson, SP. "Biracial and monoracial infant own-race face perception: an eye tracking study." Developmental science 15.6 (November 2012): 775-782.


P&N person of the week profile by Madison Catrett (Trinity '21) 
Have a nomination for P&N person of the week? E-mail psychneuro@duke.edu