Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Kimberly Rios

Kimberly Rios

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  • SPN Mentor

Identities can be derived from many sources, including membership in social categories (e.g., race/ethnicity, religion, gender) and personal characteristics (e.g., opinions, beliefs). The overarching goal of my work is to better understand how individuals respond to threats to social and personal identities, with a particular focus on majority versus minority identity.

I have two primary areas of research within this tradition. In the first, I study the factors that influence majority group members' (e.g., White/European Americans') perceptions of threat from and attitudes toward minority groups, and vice versa. Much of my work in this area examines reasons that majority group members may see multiculturalism - the recognition and celebration of diversity - as threatening, and ways to reduce these feelings of threat. Additionally, I study the causes and consequences of stereotyping/prejudice among religious majorities (e.g., negative stereotypes about Christians' scientific abilities) and minorities (e.g., negative stereotypes about atheists' morality and trustworthiness), both within the U.S. and cross-culturally.

In another area of research, I study people's motives to adopt and express minority versus majority opinions. Although historically, research in social psychology has emphasized tendencies toward conformity, I have examined the circumstances under which individuals seek to distinguish themselves from others, as well as how they do so (e.g., speed of opinion expression, whether they voice their opinions forcefully or in a way that acknowledges opposing views). I am also interested in other expressions of uniqueness beyond minority opinions, such as creative performance.

Primary Interests:

  • 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:

Journal Articles:

  • Cowgill, C. M., Rios, K., & Simpson, A. (2017). Generous heathens? Reputational concerns and atheists’ behavior toward Christians in economic games. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 73, 169-179.
  • 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.
  • Light, A. E., Rios, K., & DeMarree, K. G. (2018). Self-uncertainty and the influence of temptations on self-regulation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44, 24-36.
  • 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., & 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. (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., & Chen, Z. (2014). Experimental evidence for minorities’ hesitancy in reporting their opinions: The roles of optimal distinctiveness needs and normative influence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 819-830.
  • Rios, K., Cheng, Z. H., Totton, R. R., & Shariff, A. F. (2015). Negative stereotypes cause Christians to underperform in and disidentify with science. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6, 959-967.
  • Rios, K., DeMarree, K. G., & Statzer, J. (2014). Attitude certainty and conflict style: Divergent effects of correctness and clarity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 872-883.
  • Rios, K., Goldberg, M., & Totton, R. R. (2018). An informational influence approach to (non)conformity: Perceived knowledgeability increases expression of minority opinions. Communication Research, 45, 241-260.
  • Rios, K., Markman, K. D., Schroeder, J., & Dyczewski, E. A. (2014). A (creative) portrait of the uncertain individual: Self-uncertainty and individualism enhance creative performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1050-1062.
  • 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., & Wynn, A. N. (2016). Engaging with diversity: Framing multiculturalism as a learning opportunity reduces prejudice among high White American identifiers. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 854-865.
  • 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.
  • Simpson, A., & Rios, K. (2016). How Christians and atheists stereotype each other’s moral values. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 26, 320-336.

Courses Taught:

  • Current Issues in Behavioral Research
  • Experimental Social Psychology
  • Psychological Research Methods
  • Psychology of Extremism
  • Psychology of Peace and Cooperation
  • Social Norms
  • Social Psychology of Diversity
  • Social Psychology of Religion
  • The Mind
  • War: Human Response

Kimberly Rios
Department of Psychology
Ohio University
219 Porter Hall
Athens, Ohio 45701
United States of America

  • Phone: (740) 593-1065

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