Dr. Matthew Weeks: Social Cognition Lab

Research Interests

                Research in the Social Cognition Lab focuses on two areas of social psychology.  First, we investigate aspects of intergroup relations and stereotypes, particularly regarding issues of race and social class.  The implicit confound between racial group membership and social class standing in US society makes a difficult dynamic when making social judgments of others.  Our lab works to tease these effects apart.  Secondly, we study aspects of the implicit cognition of religion, applying experimental research techniques to understand the implicit cognitive effects of religious schemas and religious group membership.

                Examples of current and recent research efforts include:

  • Applying the Shifting Standards Model of stereotype judgments to interpersonal judgments of socioeconomic status.
    • How does an individual’s racial group membership influence others’ judgments of their SES?  For example, does the criteria for judging another person as middle-class or upper middle-class differ based on the individual’s race?
    • How are global judgments of SES influenced, as well as the constituent financial and educational components of SES?  What are moderators of this effect?
  • What empirical evidence is there for an implicit association between specific racial groups and social class/status memberships?
    • If individuals vary in their degree of association/confounding of these social categories, how does one’s strength of association related to other interpersonal judgments?
  • Understanding the complexity of thought on religious vs. nonreligious issues
    • How do different dimensions of religiosity relate to the complexity of thought of religious vs nonreligious issues?  How does considering an implicitly religious topic (i.e., one that could be view from a religious standpoint, but isn’t inherently religious) change based on approaching it from a religious vs. nonreligious vantage point?
  • Applying the Shifting Standards Model of stereotype judgments to interpersonal judgments of morality of individuals different religious affiliations.  
    • Does one’s identification as a Christian influence the behavioral standard you’d have to reach in order to be considered a “moral” person?  Does it matter who’s make the judgment?