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


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.


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

Skinner, Allison L., et al. “Not Quite Monoracial: Biracial Stereotypes Explored..” Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2019. Epmc, doi:10.1177/0146167219858344. Full Text

Albuja, A. F., et al. “Identity Questioning: Antecedents and Consequences of Prejudice Attributions.” Journal of Social Issues, vol. 75, no. 2, June 2019, pp. 515–37. Scopus, doi:10.1111/josi.12322. Full Text

Gaither, Sarah E., et al. “Thinking about multiple identities boosts children's flexible thinking..” Developmental Science, May 2019. Epmc, doi:10.1111/desc.12871. Full Text Open Access Copy

Gomez, E. M., et al. “Loss and loyalty: Change in political and gender identity among Clinton supporters after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Self and Identity, vol. 18, no. 2, Mar. 2019, pp. 103–25. Scopus, doi:10.1080/15298868.2017.1391873. Full Text

Albuja, A. F., et al. “Psychophysiological Stress Responses to Bicultural and Biracial Identity Denial.” Journal of Social Issues, Jan. 2019. Scopus, doi:10.1111/josi.12347. Full Text

Meyers, C., et al. “Experiences With Microaggressions and Discrimination in Racially Diverse and Homogeneously White Contexts.” Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Jan. 2019. Scopus, doi:10.1037/cdp0000293. Full Text

Gaither, Sarah E., et al. “Exposure to Biracial Faces Reduces Colorblindness..” Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 45, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 54–66. Epmc, doi:10.1177/0146167218778012. Full Text

Gaither, Sarah E., et al. “At face value: Psychological outcomes differ for real vs. computer-generated multiracial faces..” The Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 159, no. 5, Jan. 2019, pp. 592–610. Epmc, doi:10.1080/00224545.2018.1538929. Full Text

Loyd, A. B., and S. E. Gaither. “Racial/ethnic socialization for White youth: What we know and future directions.” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, vol. 59, Nov. 2018, pp. 54–64. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2018.05.004. Full Text

Chen, Eva E., et al. “Learning and Socializing Preferences in Hong Kong Chinese Children..” Child Development, vol. 89, no. 6, Nov. 2018, pp. 2109–17. Epmc, doi:10.1111/cdev.13083. Full Text Open Access Copy


Gaither, S. E., and K. N. Dukes. “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, 2016, pp. 83–98.

Selected Grants

Developmental Social Cognition Replication awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2020

Cross-Group Roommate Experiences on Increasingly Diverse Campuses awarded by Spencer Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019