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Sophie Trawalter - Social Psychology, Social Cognition, Intergroup Relations

Social Science
Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Psychology
Supervising Faculty Member: 
Sophie Trawalter
Research Focus: 

In our lab, we study psychological biases that create and maintain social disparities. In the coming year, we will continue research on race/ethnicity and pain perception. In this work, we have found that people assume that Black people feel less pain than do White people, which may lead to racial disparities in healthcare and criminal justice (policing in particular). We will also be doing research on gender and safety. To date, we have found that women feel less safe on Grounds than do men, and that they therefore use less public space (e.g., libraries, labs) at night. We think this might undermine women’s academic engagement, performance, and outcomes. Lastly, we will be doing more research on how social identities such as race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES) affect use of public space and sense of belonging at the University. In our previous work, we have found that lower-SES students do not like and do not use public space on Grounds as much as high-SES students. And these differences matter. We have found that use of public space is associated with feeling “at home” at the University.

Position Description: 

You will be asked to (1) run experiments with human participants, (2) enter data, (3) code data; for example, code nonverbal behavior from videotapes of participant interactions, (4) participate in lab meetings.

Required Skills: 

To do this job, you will need to communicate instructions to participants, follow study protocols, be punctual and professional, and be careful and meticulous. The data you collect must be reliable and trustworthy.

All research assistants will need to complete the CITI human subjects training. You will do this once you begin working in the lab. You need not complete this ahead of time.
What will you learn: 

You will learn how behavioral research is conducted; specifically, you will learn to think about research questions, develop hypotheses, and design studies. More advanced students will also learn to analyze data and interpret results. In addition, you will learn about graduate school (e.g., what it’s like to be a graduate student, what motivates students to go to graduate school, what it takes to get into and go to graduate school). Finally, you will become an educated consumer of behavioral science.

Social Psychology, Social Cognition, Intergroup Relations