Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Daphna Oyserman

Daphna Oyserman

  • Media Contact
  • SPN Mentor

My research interests are at the interface of social, cultural and developmental psychology. Broadly speaking, I am interested in understanding how the self-concept (including social identities, such as racial identity, and personal identities. such as possible selves) functions to influence judgment, decision-making and real world behaviors. I term this model "identity-based motivation" and am interested in understanding both the process of identity-based motivation as well as contextual cues of identity.

Questions that interest me include: How does racial-ethnic identity influence the sense individuals make of themselves, others, and social situations? How do cultural frame and self-focus influence thinking more generally? Why do some individuals engage in risky behaviors while others stay in school, do their homework, floss their teeth, eat healthy and so on? How are these decisions influenced by their identities and the social comparisons they make--the successes and failures of similar others? Who volunteers or feels obligated to help? For whom is inter-group conflict intensely personal and chronically salient?

My interest in all of these specific questions stems from my interest in the interplay between self-concept, motivation and cognition as applied to social issues or real world problems, taking into account the ways that race-ethnicity, minority status and culture frame the sense we make of ourselves and others. I am particularly interested in the implications of culture and stigma on goal choice, motivational persistence and preferred cognitive style and understanding how these processes can be cued without conscious awareness.

Primary Interests:

  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Health Psychology
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • Oyserman, D. (2007). Social identity and self-regulation. In A. Kruglanski & T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (2nd ed., pp. 432-453). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Oyserman, D., & James, L. (2008). Possible selves: From content to process. In K. Markman, Klein & Suhr (Eds.), The handbook of imagination and mental stimulation. New York: Psychology Press.

Courses Taught:

  • Seminar in Advanced Social Psychology
  • Seminar in Social Psychology
  • Social Psychological Perspectives on Culture
  • Special Topics in Education: Identity-Based Motivation

Daphna Oyserman
Department of Psychology
University of Southern California
3620 S. McClintock Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90089-1061
United States of America

  • Phone: (213) 740-2219

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