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 Sa-kiera Hudson ( with your CV and the brief RA application here.

Primary Investigator: Rachel Arnett

Research Topics: Identity, Status, and Careers 

Research Overview: How do identity and status affect how we think about ourselves, how we interact in social contexts, and how we make professional decisions? These questions help guide Rachel’s research on identity, status, and careers. In one experimental project, Rachel will be exploring the effects of status differences on interpersonal relationships. For example, when and why do the wealthy hide their background? What implications does this have for intergroup relations? In a separate field study, Rachel is exploring how individuals from low income communities perform in professional contexts, and how psychological interventions can boost performance. Finally, in a set of experimental and qualitative studies, Rachel is exploring how professional identities and decisions are influenced by different human motives, social influences, and gender norms.

Research Opportunities: Rachel is looking forward to getting Research Assistants involved with research design and idea development, background research and literature reviews, study creation and participant recruitment via online platforms, and data collection. Rachel may also be looking for RAs to play the role of Experimenter. 

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

Primary Investigator: Sarah Cotterill

Topics: Status, Hierarchies, Perception 

Research Overview:  Why do people support belief systems that do not always serve their interests? For example, why do the wealthy vote liberal? Why do the poor vote Republican? Sarah will undertake a lab study this fall that aims to address these questions.

Research Assistant Opportunities: Research assistants 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.

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


Primary Investigator: Sa-kiera Hudson

Research Topics: Power, Status, Intersectionality, Race, Gender 

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? Kiera has several projects relating to this question. 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 and gender, particularly for ethnic minority women? Third, how does biological individual differences of testosterone levels predict intergroup aggression and perceptions of threat? Finally, how do higher status groups maintain their privilege and status in society?

Research Assistant Opportunities: Kiera is looking for RAs that are extremely eager to learn about the research process and are flexible with their time. RAs could get involved with research design and idea development, background research and literature reviews, study creation and participant recruitment via online platforms, and data collection. Some RA may be able to be an experimenter and/or confederate. I am looking for RAs who are interested in multiple projects. 

Expected Hours: Flexible, but around 8-10 hours a week.


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 2015. 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). 

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 semester.


Primary Investigator: Milan Obaidi

Research Topics: Intergroup Relations and Intergroup Violence 

Research Overview: Milan works on a project that explores social and psychological factors that contribute to the motivations behind the radicalization of some first, second and third generations of Muslim Europeans with migrant background. In particular, he investigates the extent to which individual psychological needs, feelings and motives pertaining to the management of deprivation, victimization, uncertainty, group threat, and injustice are related to Muslim Europeans’ attitudes towards committing and supporting terrorism in the West.  In addition to theoretical work, he currently addresses his topic using a combination of methods, including questionnaires, large-scale random-sample surveys, vignette and priming experiments, and qualitative interviews.

Research Assistant Opportunities: Research assistants will get to provide input to study design, to learn how to create online surveys, and to assist in data cleaning and analysis.

Expected Hours: TBA but around 6-10 hours per week. 


Primary Investigator: Sasha Kimel, PhD

Research Topics: Violent Ethnic Conflict and Cultural Psychology

Research Overview: Main project focuses on issues of reducing violent conflict and promoting political compromises between Jews and Arabs. 

Research Assistant Opportunities: I am looking for an RA who is well-connected within Jewish or Arab communities. Hebrew or Arabic fluency is a plus! As a research assistant, you will have the opportunity to learn about psychological research, inequality and intergroup conflict in a warm and friendly work environment while getting to work closely with myself, Dr. Sidanius and the rest of the Intergroup Relations Lab. Ideally, you should have an interest in psychological science and an interest in pursuing graduate studies in psychology or a related discipline. You should also be intellectually curious, diligent, and conscientious; be interested in conflict reduction, intergroup relations or cultural psychology; work well with others; and be able to make the requisite time commitment. 

Expected Hours:  3-6 hours per week.


Primary Investigator: Erin Hennes

Research Topics: Ideology, Motivated Cognition, Sustainability, Intergroup Relations 

Research Overview: The contemporary political landscape is characterized by numerous divisive issues. In this research we explore whether this divisiveness can be partly explained by differences in how individuals seek out and process information about their social world. In particular, we study how resistance to change influences how individuals perceive, evaluate, and recall information about issues such as environmental sustainability, equality across racial and ethnic groups, and sexual violence. In addition, we investigate whether polarization on these issues is exacerbated by misinformation transmitted via social media. This research seeks to reduce bias in the public's understanding of complex and emotionally-charged sociopolitical issues. 

Research Assistant Opportunities: Research assistants will participate in many stages of the research process, such as obtaining IRB approval, conducting literature review, programming studies, and managing experiments 

Expected Hours: Flexible, but around 6-10 hours a week.


Primary Investigator: Héctor Carvacho

Research Topics: Social Class, Ideology, and Intergroup Relations. 

Research Overview: What psychological and sociological processes underlie the creation and maintenance of social hierarchies? And specifically, which of these processes are involved in the relationship between social classes? In my research I address these questions by using multiple methods in several related projects, such as secondary data analysis of multinational data, longitudinal analysis, experimental manipulation of subjective social status, and behavioral data. This semester I will concentrate on two issues: the causes and consequences of the awareness of social class membership, and intergroup attitudes in the context of social class relationships.

Research Assistant Opportunities: Research assistants will participate multiple projects, in many stages of the research process. I am interested in a RA willing to engage in collaborative research and quickly develop strong methodological skills (such as design of experiments or data analysis). For the same reason, I look for a highly motivated and flexible person with strong academic interests.

Expected Hours: Flexible, but around 10 hours a week.