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Faculty Directors

Jennifer Eberhardt

Jennifer Eberhardt, Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology, studies stereotyping, prejudice, and stigma. Her recent work examines how people associate race with crime, and how these associations affect criminal justice. For instance, she shows that the more stereotypical a Black American defendant’s facial features, the harsher his sentencing. She also examines the dehumanization of Black Americans in contemporary society and its implications for justice and education. Jennifer leads several SPARQ Special Projects, including Be the Donor and Evaluating PUP. Contact:

Hazel Rose Markus, Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, studies how gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, region, and nation shape—and are shaped by—individual’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, and actions. Her recent studies of first-generation college students, for instance, show how universities’ emphases on middle-class values and practices undermine working-class students’ performance. She is also exploring different correlates of health and wellbeing in the United States and Japan. Contact:

Managing Director

MarYam Hamedani

MarYam Hamedani, Ph.D., studies and puts into practice strategies to help people learn about race, social class, and other forms of difference. As Managing Director and senior research scientist at SPARQ, she leads projects on improving police-community relations, promoting racial literacy, educating people about difference, and designing empowering schools, classrooms, and educational programs for underrepresented students. The former associate director of Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), she is also a Stanford Ph.D. alum in psychology. Contact:

Research Scientists

Rebecca C. Hetey, Ph.D., is a graduate of the Ph.D. program in social psychology at Stanford. She studies race and the criminal justice system. She has spent the last four years working closely with law enforcement agencies across California on research and training initiatives designed to improve police-community relations. Contact:

Sarah Lyons-Padilla

Sarah Lyons-Padilla, Ph.D., is a cultural psychologist whose research examines gender bias, intercultural conflict, and motivations behind terrorism. She earned her doctorate in social and industrial-organizational psychology from the University of Maryland in College Park, where she worked on experimental and field research that brought her to Germany, Japan, and across the US. Contact:

Lucy Bencharit

Lucy Zhang Bencharit got her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 2018. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher studying culture and emotion at Stanford University. She is broadly interested in how cultural factors may subtly and unconsciously shape judgment and decision-making processes. Specifically, Lucy investigates how culture shapes our emotional values and expressions, and how those expressions influence how we are perceived by others in the workplace, in educational settings, and when working collaboratively with others. This research aims to promote positive outcomes for diverse groups in employment and classroom settings. Contact:

Research Associates

Amrita Maitreyi

Amrita Maitreyi, lab manager for Dr. Hazel Markus and Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, also works as a research associate at SPARQ. Amrita graduated from Tufts University and is passionate about chihuahuas. Contact:

Maggie Perry

Maggie Perry received a BS in Marketing with Psychology support from Clemson University. Her interests include racial inequality, implicit bias, and how mindsets affect behavior. In addition to SPARQ, she works as a research coordinator in the Mind & Body Lab at Stanford. Outside of the lab, you can find her playing with puppies, eating sushi, and listening to true crime podcasts. Contact:

Rachel Song

Rachel Song graduated from Pomona College, where she studied psychology and Asian American studies. She is currently SPARQ's research manager. Her research interests include racial bias, diversity, and collective action. Previously, she was a research assistant at Pomona's Social Cognition and Interaction Lab, and an intern at Coursera. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys dancing, reading novels, and playing with her newly adopted cat, Maru. Contact:

Faculty Affiliates

Jennifer Aaker, General Atlantic Professor of Marketing, Stanford Graduate School of Business, is a social psychologist best known for her research on time, money, and happiness. She also studies the transmission of ideas through social networks, the power of story in decision making, and how to build global brands across cultures. She is a coauthor of The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change and The Power of Stories.

Geoffrey Cohen, Professor of Psychology, James G. March Professor in Education and Business,studies how people maintain and protect their identities, and then uses that knowledge to design interventions that help close racial and gender achievement gaps in education. He also examines the psychology of closed-mindedness, discrimination, and intergroup conflict, and the psychological processes that drive people to take risks with their health. Dr. Cohen is the research director of the SPARQ Be the Donor project.

Alia Crum

Alia Crum, Assistant Professor of Psychology, is SPARQ's Director of Health. She studies how changes in subjective mindsets can alter objective reality through behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms. For example, her work explores how placebos elicit healing by changing people's expectations and physiological processes. Dr. Crum aims to understand how mindsets can be consciously and deliberately changed through intervention to improve organizational and individual performance, physiological and psychological wellbeing, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Carol Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, bridges developmental psychology, social psychology, and personality psychology to examine how people construct and use self-conceptions that guide their behavior. Her bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success documents how adopting a so-called “growth mindset” and understanding people as capable of change and growth can drive improvements in education, business, parenting, and relationships.

James J. Gross, Professor of Psychology, is a leading researcher in the areas of emotion and emotion regulation. Dr. Gross has authored over 300 publications, and is a Fellow in the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association.

Ari Y. Kelman, the inaugural holder of the Jim Joseph Professorship in Education and Jewish Studies in the Stanford Graduate School of Education, is the director of the Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies. He holds a courtesy appointment in Religious Studies, and is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and the American Studies Program. His research explores the many ways that people learn to hold deep commitments, both religious and otherwise. Dr. Kelman is the research director of SPARQ's Honeymoon Israel project.

Mark Lepper, Albert Ray Lang Professor of Psychology,studies the strategies and techniques of expert tutors, and applies his findings to the design of educational programs. He is particularly interested in the detrimental effects of superfluous social controls, including rewards, and in strategies for enhancing children’s intrinsic interest in learning. This interest has led him to study cultural differences in the effects of choice and filial piety on academic performance.

Robert MacCoun

Robert MacCoun is a social psychologist and public policy analyst who has published numerous studies on a variety of topics, including illicit drug use, drug policy, judgment and decision-making, citizens’ assessments of fairness in the courts, social influence processes, and bias in the use and interpretation of research evidence by scientists, journalists and citizens.

Dale Miller, Class of 1968/Ed Zschau Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Professor of Psychology, explores the impact of social norms on behavior, the role that justice considerations play in individual and organizational decisions, and the conditions under which individuals and organizations abandon one course of action to pursue another.

Benoît Monin, Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Ethics, Psychology, and Leadership, examines how people address threats to the self in interpersonal situations: How they avoid feeling prejudiced, how they construe other people's behavior to make their own behavior look good, how they affirm a threatened identity, and how they resent the goodness of others when it makes them look bad. He studies these issues in the context of social norms, the self, and morality, broadly defined.

L. Taylor Phillips, Assistant Professor of Management at New York University Stern School of Business, investigates how people think about and respond to inequality, hierarchy, and privilege, and how their beliefs about race and diversity impact behaviors and perceptions during group interactions. She earned her Ph.D. in organizational behavior at Stanford.

Hayagreeva Rao, Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, studies collective action within organizations and in markets. His research and by implication, his teaching, revolves around scaling up mobilization, innovation, and talent in organizations.

Steven O. Roberts, Assistant Professor of Psychology, bridges developmental and social psychology to examine some of the early emerging factors that contribute to social bias. His research focuses on concepts of race, group norms, and social essentialism, and he is particularly interested in how these concepts develop across diverse samples.

Lee Ross, Professor of Psychology, studies the psychological biases that drive interpersonal and intergroup conflict. He has applied his findings in diplomacy and public peace processes in the Middle East, the Caucuses, and Northern Ireland, as well as in discussions about global warming, health care, social security choices, and the academic challenges facing minority students and women in science.

Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering and a Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy) at Stanford. He focuses on evidence-based management, the links (and gaps) between managerial knowledge and organizational action, innovation, and organizational performance.

Jeanne Tsai

Jeanne L. Tsai, Professor of Psychology, researches how our cultural ideas and practices shape our emotions, and the implications for mental health, decision-making, and person perception. She has applied research in how cultural differences in affect expression and perception may influence workplace evaluations.

Gregory Walton, Associate Professor of Psychology, examines the nature of self and identity, often in the context of academic motivation and achievement. He is interested in social factors relevant to motivation, in stereotypes and group differences in school achievement, and in social-psychological interventions to raise achievement and narrow group differences, especially in education. At SPARQ, he serves as Director of Education and helped launch the inaugural Solutions Catalog.

Robb Willer

Robb Willer, Professor of Sociology, Psychology (by courtesy), and Organizational Behavior (by courtesy), studies politics, morality, cooperation, and status. His political research has investigated various topics, including economic inequality, racial prejudice, masculine overcompensation and Americans' views of climate change.

Jami Zaki

Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology, studies emotions in social contexts. In particular, he is interested in why, when, and how people empathize with each other, and the effects that empathy has on social behaviors such as altruism. He is further interested in leveraging psychological insights to improve the way people give, receive, and benefit from empathy.

Philip G. Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, is best known for the Stanford Prison Experiment, which revealed how easily situational forces can push ordinarily “good” people to do evil deeds. He now focuses on this phenomenon’s flipside: what situational forces can drive people to be heroes? He also studies time perspective, shyness, terrorism, madness, and evil.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Nick Camp

Nick Camp is a post-doctoral fellow in social psychology at Stanford. He was drawn to social psychology as a way to take big questions and make them answerable. His research examines the links between the social world and perception--how identities, motives, and environments bleed into how we see and make sense of what's around us.

Doctoral Fellows

Camilla Griffiths

Camilla Griffiths is a doctoral student in social psychology at Stanford. She is interested in how people learn about racial identity and racial bias through their interactions with people and institutions, with a particular focus on policing and education. She grew up living mostly abroad, but completed her bachelor’s degree in political and social thought at the University of Virginia.

Kari Leibowitz

Kari Leibowitz is a doctoral student in social psychology at Stanford. She is interested in understanding how best to promote mindsets that increase psychosocial wellbeing, with a particular emphasis on understanding compassionate mindsets in various populations. Her research with SPARQ focuses on understanding and shaping mindsets about health.

Sal Lempert is a doctoral student in social psychology at Stanford, where she studies how public perceptions of race affect policy decisions. Originally from the Bay Area, she earned her bachelor's degree in neuroscience and behavior from Columbia University.

Catherine Thomas is a doctoral student in social psychology at Stanford and is interested in leveraging social and cultural insights to improve economic development interventions. She studied sociocultural anthropology and basic sciences at Yale University, earning her B.A., after which she earned a master's degree in Global Mental Health from King's College London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Alana Conner

Alana Conner, Ph.D., is the Founding Executive Director of SPARQ, where she continues to serve as a Consulting Research Scientist. Now a product researcher at Instagram, she combines her backgrounds in cultural science, strategy, and storytelling to reduce conflict and increase well-being on the platform. Alana completed a doctorate in cultural psychology at Stanford and a postdoctoral fellowship in psychology and medicine at UCSF. With Hazel Rose Markus, she coauthored the book "Clash! How To Thrive in a Multicultural World."

Rebecca Carey

Rebecca Carey earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Stanford. She is now a postdoctoral fellow with Nicole Stephens at Northwestern University. Her research interests include the sociocultural shaping of relationships. She seeks to understand how culture can shape how people understand and behave in relationships, and how this in turn can help address real world problems and societal issues.

Eleanor Chestnut

Eleanor Chestnut earned her Ph.D. in developmental psychology at Stanford. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at New York University. Broadly, she is interested in how people implicitly communicate information to each other through language. Her work with SPARQ focused on ways to reduce implicit gender bias.

Alyssa Fu, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in social psychology from Stanford. She is now a Data Scientist at Twitter. She examines how culture shapes motivation, wellbeing, and other psychological functions. Her work shows the importance of considering how contexts affect human behavior when addressing real-world questions.

Kyla Haimovitz

Kyla Haimovitz, Ph.D.earned her doctorate in developmental psychology from Stanford. She is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines psychological factors that facilitate learning and achievement. Her work focuses on how parents', teachers', and managers' beliefs and behaviors shape the development of motivation and self-regulation in students and employees.

Lauren Howe

Lauren Howe earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford in 2017. She is now a postdoctoral scholar in the Stanford Mind & Body Lab with Dr. Alia Crum. Lauren works on projects related to improving outcomes in patient-physician interactions, trust in experts, science communication, fear of rejection, and the importance of social connection.

Jason Okonofua

Jason Okonofua, Ph.D., a former postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked with Dr. Gregory Walton and Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt on a project that investigates psychological barriers to reintegration (return to home and school) for juvenile offenders. Jason’s research program emphasizes the on-going interplay between processes that originate among teachers (how stereotyping can influence discipline) and students (how apprehension to bias can incite misbehavior) to examine causes for disproportionate discipline according to race.

Ellen Reinhart

Ellen Reinhart formerly served as SPARQ's research manager and is now a graduate student in Social Psychology at Stanford. She earned her bachelor's degree from Haverford College, where she studied psychology and became interested in social justice.

Shannon Schaubroeck

Shannon Schaubroeck served as SPARQ's social media intern and contributed to the Solutions Catalog. She now works as a Copywriter for Facebook. Before coming to SPARQ she spent a fellowship year in East Africa, where she studied local pop music and its surrounding culture. She earned her B.A. in English and Anthropology from Harvard University.

M. Amedeo Tumolillo

M. Amedeo Tumolillo, MSJ, served as SPARQ's Media Consultant to write, edit, produce multimedia content, and oversee social media. Prior to joining SPARQ, he worked in journalism for more than two decades, with publications that include The New York Times, Spectrum Autism Research News, SupChina, and The Albuquerque Tribune.