My research broadly concentrates on social cognition within an intergroup context. First, I examine affective and behavioral forecasting by investigating the accuracy of predictions regarding one's own reactions to explicit forms of outgroup racism. I also examine how processes related to these reactions differ depending on the racial context. Second, I amexamining the influence of body posture on perceptions of dominance and submissiveness and how these perceptions can be either an advantage or disadvantage for the target depending on their race and the context. I also have two secondary areas of research in which I examine the nature and consequences of contemporary racial colorblindness, and the development of racial attitudes among children.
My primary research focuses on intergroup dynamics, the cues used during processes of social categorization, and their resulting implications, especially those relating to topics of prejudice and stereotyping. Currently, I am studying the impact of “colourblind” strategies in intergroup contexts. Though social norms may advocate avoiding racial labels in order to appear egalitarian, research in our lab has demonstrated that such strategies can lead to increased bias. I am currently exploring the dynamics of these colourblind strategies from a perspective of goal conflict. I am also investigating strategies to minimize these negative outcomes, specifically by determining whether going against such social norms could eradicate the false sense of fulfilled egalitarianism provided by colourblind norms and subsequently result in less prejudice.
Alexandria is a PhD student in Social & Personality Psychology. She works primarily with Dr. Joni Sasaki, but also collaborates with Dr. Kerry Kawakami and Dr. Doug McCann. Alexandria's research focuses on biculturalism, studying how biculturals navigate their cultural worlds and what unique products come out of these experiences. More broadly, her research interests include cultural influences on cognition, self-concept, and subjective experience. Beyond her life at York, Alexandria loves to travel and experience other cultures, and she is also quite the oenophile. Some of her other hobbies include softball, surfing, and entertaining friends.
I am primarily focused on studying intergroup interactions and social cognition. My work focuses on interracial and intraminority friendships, along with relevant perceptual, categorical, and group processes. At the present moment, I am examining the effects of inclusive and malleable mindsets/motivations within two realms. The first examines how motivation can shift perception and subsequent categorization of outgroup members. The second considers how mindsets can benefit and enhance the effects of race-related conversations and intergroup friendships. Another line of research I am pursuing is the development of race and gender biases and respective categorization within children. Through my work I hope to hone in on the mechanisms that promote both positive intergroup relations and contribute to allyship and collective action.
Michael Harmon Szendrei