What is your current position and area of research?
I’m Eugene Higgins Professor, Psychology and Public Policy at Princeton University. My lab studies social cognition, how people make sense of each other, as individuals and group members, mostly at the face-to-face level, but also down to neural and up to cultural levels.
What led you to this field/area of research?
It’s a miracle that people develop a coherent impression of each other. We are such complex stimuli, but somehow we infer each other’s intent and capabilities. Originally, I was equally obsessed with how individuals come across to each other in everyday settings, and the role that demographic categories play as shortcuts. I grew up in what I experienced as a stable, racially integrated neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, and then I wondered why other places weren’t like that. Also come from a long line of women’s rights activists, so I was naturally interested in gender as well. But having a father who specialized in psychometric rigor made me realize I had to have the right methodological tools, to be scientifically credible.
Where do you see this field progressing over the next 10 years?
Exciting new directions include more and more policy-relevant and real-world studies (e.g., social media, field experiments), as the same time as more sophisticated analyses of how, when, and why we categorize each other.
What is the best part of being on the BBCSS board?
BBCSS has its collective fingers on the pulse of the latest psychological science and how to make it useful. It’s a gift to our society and fascinating for us as BBCSS members.
What is the worst auto-correct mistake you accidentally sent someone?
Misspelling Fiske auto-corrects to fiasco.