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 Gregory Davis ( with your CV and the brief RA application here or at the bottom of the page.

Please Note: For RAs who are students of Harvard University, attendance of the regular lab meetings for Harvard College undergraduates taking PSY 910a or PSY 2570r is required. For the Spring 2016 semester, the lab meetings will take place Tuesdays, from 2-4pm in the 14th Floor Conference Room of William James Hall (33 Kirkland St.). Students who take either course as a part of being a research assistant receive full credit from research assisting, a final paper, and a final presentation (for 2570r). Please also note that individual researchers in The Sidanius Lab may require research assistants to attend meetings at their discretion to fulfill research needs.

**updated as of February 28th for Spring 2016**



Primary Investigator: Rachel Arnett

Research Topics: Identity, Status, Diversity, Relationships

Research Overview: How do identity and status affect how we express ourselves, how we perceive social interactions, and how we form relationships with others? These questions help guide Rachel’s research on identity, status, and social relationships. Rachel is conducting experiments, surveys, and qualitative studies about how people present and express themselves in social and professional contexts, and what strategies for self-expression successfully foster positive relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.

Research Opportunities: Rachel is looking forward to involving Research Assistants with research design and idea development, background research and literature reviews, study creation and participant recruitment via online platforms, data collection, and qualitative coding. Rachel may also be looking for RAs to be experimenters or confederates in lab studies.

Accepting RAs on this project for the Spring and Summer

Expected Hours: 10-20 hours per week depending on total number of RAs.



Primary Investigator: Sa-kiera Hudson (Kiera)

Research Topics: Power/Dominance; Hierarchy; Intersectionality; Race; Gender; Developmental Psychology; Social Identities

Research Overview: What does it mean on a psychological level to have power and how to we determine who has it? Are race, gender, and sexual orientation power hierarchies and what does this mean for intergroup relations? I have several projects that investigate the broad topics of race, gender, and power. First, when do people start to recognize social power hierarchies? This question will be answered by examining hierarchy identification in children. Second, what are the experiences of discrimination at the nexus of race, gender, and sexual orientation? Third, how does biological individual differences of testosterone levels predict intergroup aggression and perceptions of threat? Fourth and finally, how do higher status groups maintain their privilege and status in society?

Research Assistant Opportunities: I am looking for RAs that are extremely eager to learn about the research process and are flexible with their time. Specifically, I am interested in RAs that want to know how to develop studies by doing extensive background research and literature reviews. We will then create the studies and program them into Qualtrics or develop campus surveys. Other RAs will act as experimenters and confederates in a lab study done in William James Hall, the Decision Sciences Laboratory at the Kennedy School, and/or the Boston Children’s Museum.

Finally, I am interested in RAs that care about social justice and would like to learn more about psychology from the point of view of disadvantaged groups in society.

Accepting RAs on this project for the Spring and Summer

Expected Hours: Flexible, but around 8-10 hours a week for part-time RAs and 16-20 hours a week for full-time RAs.



Primary Investigator: Gregory Davis

Research Topics: Person Perception, Evaluation, Admissions, Law

Research Overview: I study the admissions process, specifically: the social psychological and sociological processes that underlie admissions decisions; the role that arbitrariness and bias may play in admissions decisions, and; how intergroup and intercultural dynamics play out in the application and admissions processes. I also do unrelated research in the areas of law, sexual orientation, sexuality and gender politics, media, and Blackness.

Research Assistant Opportunities: I will require two (2) RAs for the Spring 2016. This first RA should have a primary interest in social psychology, sociology, or higher education, as he or she will assist in my social psychology work on admissions. This will include research reviews, some data review and verification, and running experiments with participants in the lab. The second RA will have more varied responsibilities and will assist me in my non-psychology work. Any interest in law and/or critical theory will be a great asset, as I will need assistance in literature review and theory development with this work. This work should require 10 hours/week. Multiple opportunities for co-authorship available for those willing to do some writing with me as well (which will require more hours per week of work). 

Accepting RAs on this project for the Spring but NOT Summer

Expected Hours: The time commitment will be light as first (5-7 hours per week), but may increase (at most 10 hours per week) over the course of the summer.



Primary Investigator: Lumumba Seegars, PhD Student 

Research Topics: Institutional Fit; Organizational Psychology; Hierarchy; Identity

Research Overview: My research, broadly, explores how organizations change over time as a function of the types of people within the organization as well as how those individuals interact with each other. Currently, I am looking at this question in two different ways: (1) person-organization fit based on individuals’ views concerning hierarchy and inequality, and (2) the negotiation and enactment of multiple identities within individuals and how this “identity work” affects collaboration, innovation, and other outcomes within organizations and broader environments. 

Research Assistant Opportunities: Research assistants will participate in multiple projects and in multiple stages of the research process (e.g. IRB approval, recruitment, conducting literature reviews, programming studies, and managing & running experiments). I am looking for highly motivated and flexible students with strong academic interests. 

NOT Accepting RAs on this project for the Spring or Summer

Expected Hours: 5-10 hours per week



Primary Investigator: Sasha Kimel, PhD

Research Topics: Violent Ethnic Conflict, Genetic Theories, Power/Status, Social Exclusion, Cultural Psychology

Research Overview: What are the consequences of scientific theories about racial categories (e.g. genetics) for violent interethnic conflict? How does an ethnic group's power and status impact relationships between groups? In what ways does the emotional response to being socially excluded vary by ethnicity? I examine these questions using diverse ethnic groups (e.g. Jewish-Americans, Arab-Americans, Palestinians, Asian-Americans) and methodologies. 

Research Assistant Opportunities: Research assistants will participate in multiple projects and in multiple stages of the research process (e.g. IRB approval, recruitment, conducting literature reviews, programming studies, and managing & running experiments). RAs who are interested in collaboration and in developing strong methodological skills are particularly encouraged to apply. I am looking for highly motivated and flexible students with strong academic interests.

Accepting RAs on this project for the Spring

Expected Hours:  5-10 hours per week


Primary Investigator: Mariska Kappmeier

Research Topic: Intergroup conflict, trust and inequality

Research Overview:  How can trust be built between adversarial groups? How does race and inequality impact trust? My research broadly tackles the challenges of diverse societies: How can trust be built between institutions and the diverse ethnic groups they serve? Specifically I investigate the trust relations between the police and local communities, since more than any other institution the police represent the state, while simultaneously being active in the local communities. My upcoming work ask questions such as, does the trust relation between Black and White into the police differ from each other? How does social dominance orientation, the support of hierarchy modify the trust? Do individuals with a higher acceptance of hierarchy also display a higher trust into the police, as a state institution?

Research Assistant Opportunity: I am looking forward to work with an RA, who is interested to be involved in research design and idea development, support in literature review and data collection, which will involve actually pen and paper questionnaire in diverse communities.

Accepting RAs on this project for the Spring and Summer

Expected Hours: 8-10h/ week





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