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Neuberg Lab (Neuberg)

Keywords:  stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination; stigma; fundamental social motives and social cognition; religion and conflict; evolutionary approaches to social behavior; ecology and culture; female sociality; happiness and meaning in life

Lab Research Area:

Welcome to the Neuberg Lab! 

We are currently exploring the following issues, and others like them:

  • Why do stereotypes and prejudices exist? What forms do they take?  Why, in particular, do people possess such strong stereotypes and prejudices based on age, sex, and race? Such stereotypes and prejudices can have profound implications for how individuals are viewed and the opportunities they have.  It’s often presumed that stereotypes and prejudices people are simple, but they are not. Rather, our research has demonstrated that the stereotypes people use to understand others are often quite complex—more complex than can be accounted for by currently dominant theoretical approaches to stereotyping and prejudice.  Understanding this nuance thus has important implications both for creating stronger models of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination processes and for reducing instances of inappropriate stereotyping and discrimination.
  • The environments in which people live can vary greatly—in terms of their predictability, resource availability, presence of dangerous pathogens, numbers of women versus men, etc.  How do such factors shape social behaviors, attitudes, norms, and legal systems? 
  • What leads relatively weak groups to aggress against more powerful groups?  What features of religion might lead weak groups to take on more powerful groups?  More generally, in what ways might religion increase or decrease intergroup conflict?  
  • Female relationships are different than male relationships in some interesting ways.  In what ways are female relationships especially complex, and how do girls and women manage their relationships with one another?
  • How do social goals (e.g., to protect oneself, to find romance, to care for offspring) shape how we perceive and come to understand the individuals around us?
  • Why people frequently audit their life satisfaction? Does life satisfaction serve important functions, or is it merely an end in itself? Is life satisfaction functionally calibrated by progress toward psychologically active and fundamentally important goals?

Our approach is an integrative one, pulling together theory and findings from social psychology, ecological psychology, and evolutionary biology to explore fundamental questions of social cognition and behavior.

Interested in Joining Us?

CONDUCT RESEARCH AND EARN COURSE CREDIT!!  We are looking for motivated, curious, and enthusiastic research assistants to help us investigate research issues like those above. Learn first-hand about research and gain valuable experience for graduate school and the job market. You will collect data, explore the research literature, and perform several other project-related tasks while learning about a wide range of topics in social and evolutionary psychology. In addition to research-related activities during the week, and participation in smaller project meetings, all undergraduate and graduate students working in the lab join Professor Neuberg every Friday afternoon for a two-hour research meeting. During this time, we review the week’s activities, generate new research ideas, design new studies, bring to the group hot-off-the-presses data from studies just completed, discuss new findings in social and evolutionary psychology, and/or relate our research to events in the broader world. We encourage active participation by undergrads and grads alike—the livelier, the better. The vast majority of undergraduate students who work in this lab go on to graduate school—and some are now even running their own lab meetings as professors!

For additional information contact Ahra Ko

Lab Director and Principal Investigator: Steven L. Neuberg, PhD, Foundation Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology

Professor Neuberg earned his undergraduate degree at Cornell University, his graduate degrees at Carnegie Mellon University, and had a NATO Fellowship year at the University of Waterloo, Canada. His research has been published in outlets such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Handbook of Social Psychology, and Perspectives on Psychological Science; has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and Army Research Institute; and has received the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize. He is the recipient of several ASU teaching honors, including the Outstanding Doctoral Mentor Award and the CLAS Outstanding Teaching Award. Curriculum Vitae.

Doctoral Students

Cari Pick, Doctoral Student, Social Psychology, Department of Psychology
Cari's research interests include many facets of evolutionary social psychology. She is particularly interested in studying processes that influence intergroup relations, including stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination. She is also interested in the ways that women and minorities are affected by intergroup conflict and overcome social obstacles. Cari earned her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. Advisor: Neuberg.

Ahra Ko, Doctoral Student, Social Psychology, Department of Psychology
Ahra’s research focuses on the interplay between emotion, motivation, and social cognition. Her research explores (1) the function of life satisfaction, (2) the science of mating motives and mate value, and (3) the role of fundamental social motives and ecology in social cognition. She has examined how life satisfaction is closely intertwined with mating mechanisms, and why and how life satisfaction judgments are made. Ahra earned her B.A. and M.A. under Eunkook Mark Suh at Yonsei University, South Korea. Advisor: Neuberg.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Michael Barlev, Postdoctoral Researcher, Social Psychology, Department of Psychology

Michael Barlev, ASU PhD candidate, Neuberg LabMichael takes an adaptationist approach to his research, which combines foundational insights from the theory of evolution by natural selection and the computational theory of mind. He primarily studies (1) social decision-making (e.g., welfare trade-off theory, physical formidability as a resource in friend and romantic partner choice), (2) how the social ecology calibrates life history, and (3) learning and memory (e.g., how the mind builds concepts that were not the targets of natural selection; e.g., an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and incorporeal God concept). Michael earned his PhD in Psychology and MA in Religious Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and a BS in Psychology and a BA in History from UC Davis.

Lab alums: where are they now?

Former graduate students

 Former undergraduate honors students/research assistants now in relevant fields: (alphabetical by last name)

  • Beth Altringer (Ph.D., Cambridge U.; Director of Desirability Lab, Harvard University)
  • Gretchen Anderson (Research Analyst, American Association of Retired People)
  • Ayesha Boyce (Ph.D. U. Illinois; assistant prof., UNC-Greensboro)
  • Corey Cook (Ph.D., U. Florida; assistant prof., Pacific Lutheran University)
  • Christian Cornelius (Assistant Professor, University of Arizona College of Medicine)
  • Andrew Delton (Ph.D., UC-Santa Barbara; assistant prof., Stony Brook University)
  • Shelli Dubbs (Ph.D., University of Groningen; private business)  
  • Maggie Evavold (Associate Attorney at Gregerson, Rosow, Johnson, & Nilan Ltd.)
  • Laura Hanish (Ph.D., U. Illinois—Chicago; Professor, Arizona State University)
  • Thomas Hanson (Ph.D., U. Pittsburgh;  Arntzen de Besche, Norway)
  • Jonna Hoffman (UCLA Law; her honors thesis was published with related research in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin; practicing attorney)
  • Catherine Kalina, Make A Wish Foundation
  • Christopher Jenkins (Ph.D., U. New Mexico; Instagram)
  • Jennifer Jordan (Ph.D., Yale U.; Professor, IMD Business School)
  • Andreana Kenrick (Ph.D. Princeton U.; Facebook)
  • Zoe Kinias (Ph.D., UC-Santa Barbara; associate prof., INSEAD Singapore)
  • Kody Manke (Ph.D., Stanford U.; assistant prof., Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Madeline Mayer, MSW, currently in law school
  • Jay Meyers (Ph.D., U. Virginia; J.D. Power)
  • Katherine Morse (M.A, George Mason; Department of Psychology award for best honors thesis; honors thesis was published in Personal Relationships; private sector)
  • Deborah Nahom (PhD, University of Washington; currently working in Great Britain)
  • Paige Muellerleile (Ph.D., Syracuse U.; associate prof., Marshall University)
  • Gbolahan (Femi) Olanubi (NSF Predoctoral Fellow, UCLA Psychology)
  • Tatiana Orozco (Ph.D., U. Florida; USVA, Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research)
  • Tess Robertson (Ph.D., UC-Santa Barbara; assistant prof., Stony Brook University)
  • Denise Sekaquaptewa (Ph.D., Ohio State U.; Professor, U. Michigan)
  • Jessica Shropshire (Doctoral student, UCLA Psychology)
  • Arielle Silverman (Ph.D. U. Colorado—Boulder; Project RISE, National Federation of the Blind of Virginia)
  • Kristopher Smith (Doctoral student, University of Pennsylvania Psychology)
  • Zak Tormala (Ph.D., Ohio State U.; Professor, Stanford U.)
  • Matthew Trujillo (Ph.D., Princeton U.; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
  • Joshua Tybur (Ph.D., U. New Mexico; associate prof., Vrij University, Netherlands)
  • Ruth Warner (Ph.D., U. Kansas; associate prof., St. Louis University)
  • Jonathan Weaver (Ph.D., U. South Florida; assistant prof., Michigan State U.)

Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from Dr. Neuberg's research and lab. A more complete listing may be found in Dr. Neuberg's curriculum vitae. * = Student authors 

2018 and in press

Sundie, J. M, Beal, D. J, Neuberg, S. L., & Kenrick, D. T. (in press).  Moving beyond unwise replication practices: The case of romantic motivation.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, online.

*Williams, K. E. G., *Votruba, A. M., Neuberg, S. L., & Saks, M. J. (in press).  Capital and punishment: Resource scarcity increases endorsement of the death penalty.  Evolution and Human Behavior. 

Cohen, A. B., & Neuberg, S. L. (in press). Religious cultures and religious conflict. S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of Cultural Psychology (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.

 *Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E. W., & Kenrick, D. T. (2018). The behavioral ecology of cultural psychological variationPsychological Review, 125, 714-743

Kenrick, D.T., Cohen, A. B., Neuberg, Sl. L., & Cialdini, R. B. (2018).  The science of anti-scientific thinking.  Scientific American, 319, 36-41

Cohen, A. B., & Neuberg, S. L. (in press). Religious cultures and religious conflict. S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of Cultural Psychology (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.


*Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E. W., & Kenrick, D. T. (2017). The crowded life is a slow life: Population density and life history strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, 736-754.

Schaller, M., Kenrick, D.T., Neel, B., & Neuberg, S. L. (2017).  Evolution and human motivation: A fundamental motives framework.  Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11. Online only, DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12319.  

Neuberg, S. L., & Kenrick, A. C. (2017).  Discriminating ecologies: A life history approach to stigma and health.  In B. Major, J. F. Dovidio, & B. G. Link (Eds.), Handbook of stigma, discrimination and health (pp. 125-145).  Oxford, UK:  Oxford University Press.


*Filip-Crawford, G., & Neuberg, S.L. (2016). Homosexuality and pro-gay ideology as pathogens? Implications of a disease-spread lay model for understanding anti-gay behaviors. Personality and Social Psychology Review.

*Krems, J.A., Dunbar, R., Neuberg, S. (2016). Something to talk about: Are conversation sizes constrained by mental modeling abilities? Evolution and Human Behavior.

*Krems, J.A., Neel, R., Neuberg, S.L., Puts, D.A., & Kenrick, D.T. (2016, April). Women selectively guard their (desirable) mates from ovulating women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110(4), 551-573.

Neel, R., Kenrick, D.T., White, A. E., & Neuberg, S.L. (2016). Individual differences in fundamental social motives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110(6), 887-907.

Neuberg, S.L., & Schaller, M. (2016). An evolutionary threat-management approach to predudices. Current Opinion in Psychology7, 1-5.”

*Williams, K.E., *Sng, O., & Neuberg, S. L. (2016). Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,113(2), 310-315.

*Sng, O., *Williams, K. E. G., & Neuberg, S. L. (2016). Evolutionary approaches to stereotyping and prejudice. In C. Sibley & F. K. Barlow (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of the psychology of prejudice (pp. 21-46). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

*Krems, J.A., *Filip-Crawford, G., & Neuberg, S.L., & Kenrick, D.T. (2015). Is she angry? (Sexually desirable) Women ‘see’ anger on female faces. Psychological Science, 26, 1655-1663.

Neuberg, S.L., & Schaller, M. (2014). Evolutionary social cognition. M. Mikulincer & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), APA handbook of personality and social psychology (Vol. 1, Attitudes and social cognition, pp. 3 - 45, E. Borgida & J. A. Bargh [Assoc. Eds.]). Washington, D.C.:  American Psychological Association.

Neuberg, S.L., Warner, C.M., *Mistler, S.A., *Berlin, A., *Hill, E. D., *Johnson, J.D., *Filip-Crawford, G., Millsap, R.E., Thomas, G., Winkelman, M., Broome, B.J., Taylor, T.J., & Schober, J. (2014).  Religion and intergroup conflict:  Findings from the Global Group Relations Project. Psychological Science, 25, 198-206.

*Pirlott, A.G., & Neuberg, S.L. (2014). Sexual prejudice: Avoiding unwanted sexual interest? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 92-101.

Neuberg, S. L., & *Sng, O. (2013).  A life history theory of social perception:  Stereotyping at the intersections of age, sex, and ecology (and race).  Social Cognition, 31, 696–711.

*Kenrick, A. C., *Shapiro, J. R., & Neuberg, S. L. (2013).  Do parental bonds break anti-fat stereotyping? Parental work-ethic ideology and disease concerns predict bias against heavy-weight children. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 723-731.

*Neel, R., *Neufeld, S.L., & Neuberg, S.L. (2013). Would an obese person whistle Vivaldi? Targets of prejudice self-present to minimize the appearance of specific threats. Psychological Science, 24, 678-687.

2012 and earlier
Schaller, M., & Neuberg, S.L. (2012).  anger, disease, and the nature of prejudice(s). J. Olson & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 46, pp. 1 - 55).  Burlington, VT:  Academic Press. [Winner, Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues]

*Neel, R., Becker, D.V., Neuberg, S.L., & Kenrick, D.T. (2012). Who expressed what emotion? Men grab anger, women grab happiness. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 583-586.

Neuberg, S. L., Kenrick, D. T., & Schaller, M. (2011).  Human threat management systems:  Self-protection and disease avoidance. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 1042-1051.



Oliver Sng

Oliver Sng successfully defended his dissertation and is now a Postdoctoral Fellow in Joshua Ackerman’s Evolutionary Social Psychology lab at the University of Michigan. Congrats Oliver! (posted 8/31/16).

Keelah Williams

Doctoral student Keelah Williams rocked 2016! She received a 2016 Faculty Women's Association Distinguished Graduate Student Award, which recognizes Doctoral and Master’s degree candidates who have distinguished themselves through exceptional scholarship, research, creative activities, and noteworthy performance in leadership and service. She also received the 2016 Darwyn and Marie Linder Graduate Fellowship in Social Psychology for demonstrating excellence in research and classroom performance in experimental social psychology. Congratulations Keelah!

Jaimie Krems

Doctoral student Jaimie Krems was selected to receive the prestigious  Philanthropic Education Organization Scholar Award. PEO awards "are one-time, competitive, merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada ...who will make significant contributions in their varied fields of endeavor. Priority is given to women who are well established in their programs, study or research."  Congrats Jaimie!! (posted 4/06/16).

Allison Varley

Allison Varley successfully defended her dissertation on “Values, Goals, and Threat: Value Incompatibilities — More than Dissimilarities — Predict Distinct Prejudices”. Congratulations Allison--whoops… DR. Varley--and best of luck moving forward!

Keelah Williams

Congratulations to Keelah Williams for successfully defending her dissertation on “An Affordance Management, Life History Approach to Perceptions of Criminal Behavior”. In summer of 2017, Dr. Williams is joining the faculty of Hamilton College as an assistant professor in their Department of Psychology.

Jaimie Krems

Following in the steps of her senior academic-sibling, Keelah Williams, doctoral student Jaimie Krems rocked 2017, receiving both the 2017 Faculty Women's Association Distinguished Graduate Student Award and the 2017 Darwyn and Marie Linder Graduate Fellowship in Social Psychology. Congratulations Jaimie!

In the News!

Our recent work on the effects of population density has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyYou can read about it on ASU's Discoveries page and in an article in Scientific American.

More news pick-ups on Krems et al  Ovulation and Mate Guarding from Inside Higher Ed's Today on the Academic Minute 3 May 2016 with Dr. Steven Neuberg.

Understanding prejudice

Our approach to prejudice has been highlighted in “The Outsiders: has evolution programmed us to shun and turn our backs on refugees – even when they might die without our help?Aeon (6/1/16).

"The truth about migration: How evolution made us xenophobes" New Scientist (4/6/16).

Ovulating Women by Krems et al

Hey, Ovulating Women: Stay Away From My Man (New York Magazine, 1/15/16).
Science: Women Instinctively Guard Their Mates From Other Women Who Are Ovulating (KNUE, 1/18/16).
Your girlfriend subconsciously guards you from other ovulating women (Esquire UK, 1/18/16).
Why women keep their partners away from fertile friends (The London Times, 1/20/16).
Too hot to handle (Boston Globe, 1/31/16)
Why Some Women Guard Their Men (And You Should Take it as a Compliment) (Playboy, 2/2/16).

Racial Stereotypes

Rethinking Racial Stereotypes (Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Character and Context, 6/6/2016)
Researchers find that in race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white (ASU Now, 12/28/15).
Researchers Say Racial Stereotypes May Be A Matter Of Class: You May Not Be Racist, But You’re Still Wrong (Medical Daily, 1/30/15)

And more!

How Physicians Deal With Unexpected Medical Emergencies In Public Places (KJZZ, 7/14/15)

Does religion turn weak groups violent? (ASU News, 1/16/14)