Sophie Trawalter

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology

Office Address

204B Gilmer Hall

By Appointment Only


I am interested in psychological phenomena related to diversity. I am particularly interested in how people develop competencies for life in diverse spaces.  To that end, I have studied (1) the dynamics of intergroup contact, (2) group-based social cognition, and (3) group-based social ecology.  These three broad areas have allowed me to address important questions; most notably (A) how can we make the lived realities of Black Americans more visible to White Americans?, (B) how can we improve the quality and outcomes of interracial interactions?, and (C) how can we increase historically stigmatized group members’ sense of place in historically discriminatory institutions?  The aim of these lines of research, taken together, is to reduce intergroup tensions and improve the life outcomes of historically stigmatized and non-stigmatized group members.

  • Trawalter, S., Richeson, J.A., & Shelton, J.N. (2009). Predicting behavior during interracial interactions: A stress and coping approach. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 13, 243-268.
  • Trawalter, S., & Richeson, J.A. (2008). Let’s talk about race, baby! When Whites’ and Blacks’ contact experiences diverge. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1214-1217.
  • Richeson, J.A., & Trawalter, S. (2008). The threat of appearing prejudiced and race-based attentional bias. Psychological Science, 19, 98-102.
  • Trawalter, S., & Richeson, J.A. (2006). Regulatory focus and executive attention after interracial interactions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 406-412.
  • Richeson, J.A. & Trawalter, S. (2005). Why do interracial interactions impair executive function? A resource depletion account. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 934-947