My work focuses on people’s responses to threats to their self-concepts, interpersonal relationships, or group identities. Examples of such threats include being uncertain about oneself or one’s attitudes, being socially excluded, and perceiving an outgroup to threaten the ingroup’s power/resources or fundamental values.
I have two primary areas of research within this tradition. In the first, I study the ways in which different forms of self-concept and relational threat impact individuals' willingness to express and adopt minority (unique) versus majority (common) opinions. Although historically, research in social psychology has emphasized tendencies toward conformity, I have shown that certain threats can trigger behaviors aimed at establishing one’s distinctiveness from others.
In another area of research, I study how perceptions of threat, especially dominant group members’ (e.g., White/European Americans’) perceptions of threat from subordinate groups, affect attitudes toward specific outgroups, as well as toward diversity more generally. Much of my recent work examines reasons that dominant group members may see multiculturalism - the recognition and celebration of diversity - as threatening, and ways to reduce these feelings of threat.
- Attitudes and Beliefs
- Communication, Language
- Culture and Ethnicity
- Group Processes
- Intergroup Relations
- Motivation, Goal Setting
- Organizational Behavior
- Persuasion, Social Influence
- Political Psychology
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Self and Identity
- Social Cognition
Research Group or Laboratory:
- DeMarree, K. G., Morrison, K. R., Wheeler, S. C., & Petty, R. E. (2011). Self-ambivalence and resistance to subtle self-change attempts. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 674-686.
- DeMarree, K. G., & Rios, K. (2014). Understanding the relationship between self-esteem and self-clarity: The role of desired self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 50, 202-209.
- Gray, D. L., & Rios, K. (2012). Achievement motivation as a function of assimilation and differentiation needs. Zeitschrift für Psychologie (Journal of Psychology), 220, 157-163.
- Inesi, M. E., & Rios, K. (2013). Fighting for independence: Significant others' goals for oneself incite reactance among the powerful. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 1168-1176.
- Miller, D. T., & Morrison, K. R. (2009). Expressing deviant opinions: Believing you are in the majority helps. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 740-747.
- Morrison, K. R. (2011). A license to speak up: Outgroup minorities and opinion expression. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 756-766.
- Morrison, K. R., & Chung, A. H. (2011). "White" or "European American"? Self-identifying labels influence majority group members' interethnic attitudes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 165-170.
- Morrison, K. R., Fast, N. J., & Ybarra, O. (2009). Group status, perceptions of threat, and support for social inequality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 204-210.
- Morrison, K. R., & Johnson, C. S. (2011). When what you have is who you are: Self-uncertainty leads individualists to see themselves in their possessions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 639-651.
- Morrison, K. R., Johnson, C. S., & Wheeler, S. C. (2012). Not all selves feel the same uncertainty: Assimilation to primes among individualists and collectivists. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 118-126.
- Morrison, K. R., & Matthes, J. (2011). Socially motivated projection: Need to belong increases perceived opinion consensus on important issues. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 707-719.
- Morrison, K. R., & Miller, D. T. (2008). Distinguishing between silent and vocal minorities: Not all deviants feel marginal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 871-882.
- Morrison, K. R., Plaut, V. C., & Ybarra, O. (2010). Predicting whether multiculturalism positively or negatively influences White Americans' intergroup attitudes: The role of ethnic identification. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1648-1661.
- Morrison, K. R., & Wheeler, S. C. (2010). Nonconformity defines the self: The role of minority opinion status in self-concept clarity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 297-308.
- Morrison, K. R., & Ybarra, O. (2009). Symbolic threat and social dominance among liberals and conservatives: SDO reflects conformity to political values. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 1039-1052.
- Morrison, K. R., & Ybarra, O. (2008). The effects of realistic threat and group identification on social dominance orientation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 156-163.
- Rios, K. (2013). Right-wing authoritarianism predicts prejudice against "homosexuals" but not "gay men and lesbians." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 1177-1183.
- Rios, K. (2012). Minority opinions: Antecedents and benefits of expression. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6, 392-401.
- Rios, K., Wheeler, S. C., & Miller, D. T. (2012). Compensatory nonconformity: Self-uncertainty and low implicit self-esteem increase adoption and expression of minority opinions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1300-1309.
- Rios, K., Ybarra, O., & Sanchez-Burks, J. (2013). Outgroup primes induce unpredictability tendencies under conditions of distrust. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 372-377.
- Communication and Identity
- Current Issues in Behavioral Research
- Intercultural Communication
- Introduction to Organizational Communication
- Psychological Research Methods
- Psychology of Extremism
- Social Norms
- Statistical Applications in Communication I
- The Mind
Department of Psychology
219 Porter Hall
Athens, Ohio 45701
- Phone: (773) 834-1331