Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend received her B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research primarily focuses on socially and culturally constructed ideologies, such as the American Dream and meritocracy. She studies how these beliefs shape interpersonal interactions, product choice, and group identification. In addition, she uses a multi-method approach that includes behavioral observation and physiological responses (specifically, hormonal and cardiovascular responses) to examine these how ideologies influence emotion and motivation.

Primary Interests:

  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Neuroscience, Psychophysiology
  • Organizational Behavior

Research Group or Laboratory:

Journal Articles:

  • Eliezer, D., Townsend, S. S. M., Sawyer, P. J., Major, B., & Mendes, W. B. (2011). System-justifying beliefs moderate the relationship between perceived discrimination and resting blood pressure. Social Cognition, 29, 303-321.
  • Markus, H. R., Uchida, Y., Omoregie, H., Townsend, S. S. M., & Kitayama, S. (2006). Going for the gold: American and Japanese models of Olympic agency. Psychological Science, 17, 103-112.
  • Stephens, N. M., Markus, H. R., & Townsend, S. S. M. (2007). Choice as an act of meaning: The case of social class. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 814-830.
  • Townsend, S. S. M., Fryberg, S. A., Wilkins, C. L., & Markus, H. R. (2012). Being mixed: Who claims a biracial identity? Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 18, 91-96.
  • Townsend, S. S. M., Major, B., Gangi, C., & Mendes, W. B. (2011). From “In the air” to “Under the skin:” Cortisol responses to social identity threat. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 151-164.
  • Townsend, S. S. M., Major, B., Sawyer, P. J., & Mendes, W. B. (2010). Can the absence of prejudice be more threatening than its presence? It depends on one’s worldview. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 933-947.
  • Townsend, S. S. M., Markus, H. R., & Bergsieker, H. B. (2009). My choice, your categories: The denial of multiracial identities. Journal of Social Issues, 65, 185-204.
  • Uchida, Y., Townsend, S. S. M., Markus, H. R., & Bergsieker, H. B. (2009). Emotions as within or between people? Cultural variation in lay theories of emotion expression and emotion inference. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1427-1439.

Courses Taught:

  • Cultural Psychology
  • Leading and Managing Teams

Sarah Townsend
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California 90089
United States

  • Phone: (213) 740-8420
  • Fax: (213) 821-6000

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