Research Assistant Opportunities

The Sidanius Lab is always on the lookout for strongly motivated Research Assistants to support its varied research program. Research Assistants (RAs) are welcome either on a volunteer basis, or for course credit (by enrolling in PSY 2570r or 910r). RAs are required to commit to a minimum number of hours per week depending on their enrollment and the lab’s needs. They are also invited to attend and participate in weekly lab meetings in which we discuss the lab’s research. Lab meetings are required for RAs enrolled in 2570r, but are optional for volunteers or those enrolled in 910r. If interested, Research Assistants may be invited to present and receive feedback on their own research ideas. 

Below is a description of ongoing research being conducted in the lab. To apply for a Research Assistant position, contact Rachel Arnett ( with your CV, as well as details on which projects interest you most, and why.

Research Topic: Power and Inequality

Primary Investigator: Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Overview: What are the psychological effects of inequality in society? How sensitive are we to our social status? Jennifer’s research is interested in the effect of being in a group that is given high or low power on how one thinks, feels and behaves. One of her research findings is that merely sharing a group membership with a powerful other can make you behave as if you have power, as seen in greater confidence and risky behavior. On the other hand, Jennifer studies how being primed to feel low in power or social status impairs decision-making and even cognitive performance. Jennifer runs this research program with the use of experiments run in the lab, online, and out in the community.

RA Opportunities: Research assistants will get to provide input to study design, to learn how to create online surveys, to act as lab experimenters or confederates, and to assist in data cleaning and analysis.

Research Topic: Ideology and Inequality

Primary Investigator: Sarah Cotterill

Overview: There is some evidence to suggest that, relative to low-status groups, members of high status groups are more oriented towards preserving the status quo and possess ideological belief systems that better suit their groups' interests. Sarah is interested in when and why this is the case, as well as the implications of these findings for broader efforts to attenuate social inequality. To address these questions, Sarah will commence a lab-based experiment this fall to explore the relationship between individual difference variables like group identification (i.e., the extent to which people think of themselves as members of groups to which they belong) and ideological variables. 

RA Opportunities: RAs are needed to act as lab experimenters, as well as for data processing. Research assistants will also have the opportunity to learn about and participate in preliminary data analysis.

Research Topic: Identity and Intergroup Relationships

Primary Investigator: Rachel Arnett

Overview: How do identities and group memberships affect how we think about ourselves and how we interact with others? This question helps guide Rachel’s research on identity and status. In one project, Rachel will be exploring the effects of stigma relating to high status identities. For example, when and why do the wealthy hide their background? In another project, Rachel is developing a new method for measuring identity conflict, and will be exploring the downstream consequences of identity conflict. For example, how does being conflicted between being Chinese and American lead to better vs. worse decisions? In a third project, Rachel will be developing a new theory about the process of developing a new identity.

RA Opportunities: Rachel is looking forward to getting RAs involved with theory development, literature reviews, study design, study proposals, study creation, study management, and possibly being an experimenter or confederate. In addition, Rachel is looking for a Research Assistant who can help with programming, including Html and Java.

Research Topic: Gendered Prejudice and Outgroup Fear

Primary Investigators: Nour Kteily and Rachel Arnett

Overview: Nour and Rachel are leading an ongoing project that studies how gender relates to fear of outgroups. This study involves several advanced methods, including: psychophysiological measures (galvanic skin responses), implicit tests (the Implicit Association Test), minimal groups, and classical conditioning.

RA Opportunities: This is an excellent opportunity for Research Assistants who are interested in advanced research methods, gaining advanced experience as an experimenter, and basic data scoring.