Sarah Elizabeth Gaither

Sarah Elizabeth Gaither

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Tufts University 2014

  • M.S., Tufts University 2009

  • B.A., University of California at Berkeley 2007

Overview

Humans are fundamentally social beings, and their interactions represent a core aspect of human nature. My research focuses on how individuals’ social identities and experiences across the lifespan motivate their social perceptions and behaviors particularly in diverse settings.

More specifically I am interested in three main questions:
1) how intergroup contact shapes interracial interaction outcomes for both racial majority and racial minority individuals
2) how having multiple racial or social identities more broadly affects various types of behavior including complex thinking, social behavior, and identity malleability
3) what contexts in particular may influence how people perceive or socially categorize each other across group boundaries

Therefore, the overall goal of my research program is to investigate the attitudinal and behavioral effects stemming from exposure to racial and gender diversity as a means to pinpoint pathways that one can utilize to foster more positive group relations for both adult and child populations. By exploring the developmental origins of social identity and intergroup perceptions we can pinpoint some of the antecedents that predict adult behavior in diverse settings.

Expertise

biracial and social identities, interracial interactions, racial categorizations, social development

Albuja, A. F., et al. “Fluid racial presentation: Perceptions of contextual “passing” among biracial people.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 77, July 2018, pp. 132–42. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2018.04.010. Full Text

Pauker, K., et al. “A review of multiracial malleability: Identity, categorization, and shifting racial attitudes.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass, vol. 12, no. 6, June 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1111/spc3.12392. Full Text

Gaither, S. E., et al. “Resolving racial ambiguity in social interactions.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 76, May 2018, pp. 259–69. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2018.03.003. Full Text

Gaither, S. E., et al. “Mere Membership in Racially Diverse Groups Reduces Conformity.” Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol. 9, no. 4, May 2018, pp. 402–10. Scopus, doi:10.1177/1948550617708013. Full Text

Babbitt, L. G., et al. “The role of gender in racial meta-stereotypes and stereotypes.” Social Cognition, vol. 36, no. 5, Jan. 2018, pp. 589–601.

Dukes, K. N., and S. E. Gaither. “Black Racial Stereotypes and Victim Blaming: Implications for Media Coverage and Criminal Proceedings in Cases of Police Violence against Racial and Ethnic Minorities.” Journal of Social Issues, vol. 73, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 789–807. Scopus, doi:10.1111/josi.12248. Full Text

Gaither, S. E., et al. “Examining the effects of I-sharing for future white-black interactions.” Social Psychology, vol. 47, no. 3, May 2016, pp. 125–35. Scopus, doi:10.1027/1864-9335/a000264. Full Text

Gaither, S. E., et al. “Social belonging motivates categorization of racially ambiguous faces.” Social Cognition, vol. 34, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 97–118. Scopus, doi:10.1521/soco.2016.34.2.97. Full Text

Gaither, S. E. ““Mixed” Results: Multiracial Research and Identity Explorations.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 24, no. 2, Apr. 2015, pp. 114–19. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0963721414558115. Full Text

Gaither, S. E., et al. “Priming White identity elicits stereotype boost for biracial Black-White individuals.” Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, vol. 18, no. 6, Jan. 2015, pp. 778–87. Scopus, doi:10.1177/1368430215570504. Full Text

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