Victoria Plaut, Professor

Closed (1) Dominance, Diversity & Discrimination

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

The present project examines how self-professed egalitarians leverage diversity logics to produce non-egalitarian outcomes. Specifically, this project examines how egalitarians’ implicit desire for dominance may explain why and how seemingly egalitarian rationales and justifications (e.g., diversity is good) nonetheless undermine justice, inclusion and belonging. Social Dominance Theory (SDT) asserts that societies are organized into group-based hierarchies in which the distribution of limited resources favors dominant groups (e.g., whites, men) at the expense of subordinated groups (e.g., Black people, women). (Pratto et al., 1994) As such, dominant groups derive psychological and material benefits from the privileges they receive in the social hierarchy. This benefit gives dominant group members the psychological motive to maintain the status quo—a social dominance orientation (SDO). Prior research shows that a desire for social dominance is correlated with higher levels of prejudice, greater political conservatism, and decreased support for redistributive policies such as social welfare and affirmative action. Further, Social Dominance Theory asserts that dominant groups are motivated to minimize conflict while still maintaining their position in the hierarchy by minimizing social inequalities through the use of legitimizing myths. These myths can be hierarchy-enhancing, organizing society in ways that sustain dominant group hierarchy, or hierarchy-attenuating, countering group-based dominance. Current constructions of Social Dominance Orientation measure the construct along two dimensions Dominance and Egalitarianism (Ho et. Al., 2015) Existing measures of Social Dominance Orientation suggest that people high in SDO are generally high on the anti-egalitarianism sub-scale and high on the group-based dominance subscale. What happens if a person has tendencies for group-based dominance but is low in anti-egalitarianism? How might one’s implicit preference for dominance impact their support for policy? The present research will develop measures of implicit dominance and its impact more fully.


Undergraduate research apprentices will facilitate in the running and coordination of the project, including coding, data entry and analysis, as well as participate in project meetings.
Apprentices may also take part in other activities within the Culture, Diversity, and Intergroup Relations lab, which is located in the Berkeley School of Law.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Kyneshawau Hurd, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Undergraduate research apprentices are expected to have excellent skills in organization and time management, be detail-oriented, reliable, and able to work well with others. Commitment to the lab for more than one semester is desirable. A number of majors and programs are particularly relevant to this study (e.g., Psychology, Education, African American Studies, Chicana/o Studies); however, we will consider and encourage applications from any major. Time commitment per week is approximately 9-12 hours but can be negotiated.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: All work will take place remotely.
Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/victoria-plaut/

Closed (2) Examining Reactions to University Inclusion Policies and Their Social and Legal Contexts

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

This project seeks to uncover the social psychological underpinnings of the debate around inclusion policies and free speech. As college campuses nationwide have instituted policies designed to promote inclusion (e.g., safe spaces, trigger warnings, hate speech codes, and pronoun usage policies), furor and debate have ignited. On the one hand, proponents argue that inclusion policies foster safe and inclusive environments for individuals from underrepresented groups, or groups that commonly face harassment and discrimination. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that they coddle students and violate the First Amendment. Psychologically this is very rich terrain for empirical investigation. Our research seeks to uncover the psychological correlates of different reactions to inclusion policies and perceptions of free speech violation and test the role of perceptions of group-related threat in attitudes toward inclusion policies. This is important because how people respond to these policies will shape the environments in which people of all backgrounds learn and work.

As part of a research team, undergraduate research apprentices will gain experience primarily in coding qualitative data from national surveys and conducting literature reviews, as well as experimental design, and/or data analysis. They will also gain familiarity with the socio-legal background of this debate. Apprentices will participate in project meetings and may also take part in other activities within the Culture, Diversity, and Intergroup Relations lab, which is located in the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Emily Goldstein, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Undergraduate research apprentices are expected to have excellent skills in organization and time management, be detail-oriented, reliable, and able to work well with others. Commitment to the lab for more than one semester is desirable. A number of majors and programs are particularly relevant to this research (e.g., Psychology, Education, Political Science, Legal Studies, Ethnic studies, Gender studies, Disability Studies, etc.); however, we will consider applications from any major. Time commitment per week is approximately 8-12 hours but can be negotiated.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/culture-diversity-intergroup-relations-lab/
Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/victoria-plaut/

Closed (3) Equity and Diversity Language in Job Advertisements

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

This project examines equity and diversity-related language in job advertisements and how they shape the racial and gender diversity of the applicant pool. Specifically, we are interested in understanding what kinds of language is commonly used and how its presence, absence and/or variation affects applications among underrepresented applicants. Of particular interest is how equity and diversity language may impact the decision-making process of job-seekers with multiple, intersecting, underrepresented identities.

As part of a research team undergraduate research apprentices will play a supporting role to the primary investigators, familiarize themselves with relevant study materials and conduct in depth literature reviews. Apprentices will attend weekly project meetings, and make regular progress reports to the lab manager. As part of the apprentices’ training and mentoring, they will be required to attend weekly lab meetings, but only if meetings do not conflict with scheduled classes.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Lyndsey Wallace, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Undergraduate research apprentices are expected to be organized and practice time management, be detail-oriented and reliable. Apprentices must also communicate with the lab manager regarding absences, tardiness, or inability to fulfill assignments in a timely fashion. Research apprentices are also expected to maintain respectful relationships with other members of their team, and contribute to an inclusive and supportive lab culture.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/culture-diversity-intergroup-relations-lab/
Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/victoria-plaut/

Closed (4) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Within Organizations (Multiple projects)

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

This series of projects examines equity, diversity, and inclusion across various institutional domains (e.g., tech, education, etc.). Some areas of interest include understanding how diversity is perceived by both dominant and non-dominant groups and how this affects belonging, and how people interact with policies that may or may not be inclusive. Additionally, there are projects investigating equity language in job advertisements and on the use of gendered language in the writing of letters of recommendation. We are also currently examining the role of race, ethnicity, class, and political affiliation in how people think about COVID-related racial disparities.



As part of a research team undergraduate research apprentices will play a supporting role to the primary investigators, familiarize themselves with relevant study materials, help with survey building and coding of qualitative data, and conduct in-depth literature reviews. Apprentices will attend project meetings and make regular progress reports to the lab manager. As part of the apprentices’ training and mentoring, they will be required to attend weekly lab meetings, but only if meetings do not conflict with scheduled classes. , Staff Researcher

Qualifications: As members of the Culture, Diversity and Intergroup Relations lab an interest in, and commitment to, understanding the psychological processes related to diversity and inclusion in order to address the challenges of working, living, and learning in diverse environments is essential. Additionally, undergraduate research apprentices are expected to be organized and practice time management, be detail-oriented and reliable. Apprentices must also communicate with the lab manager regarding absences, tardiness, or inability to fulfill assignments in a timely fashion. Research apprentices are also expected to maintain respectful relationships with other members of their team and contribute to an inclusive and supportive lab culture.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: Work will all be done remotely.

Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/culture-diversity-intergroup-relations-lab/
Related website: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/victoria-plaut/