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About Me

I am a social psychologist exploring the interdependence between psychological structures and processes and sociocultural environments.  My colleagues and I investigate how self and agency are shaped by engagement with culture-specific meanings, practices, artifacts, and institutions of particular contexts, and, in turn, how psychological tendencies serve to perpetuate these particular cultural contexts.  Our work considers how race, ethnicity, gender, social class, national origin, region, religion, and cohort influence thoughts, feeling, and action. My work spans several categories, including:

  1. Agency, choice, and self. Currently we are focusing on the act of choice—its meanings and consequences, and whether it plays the same key role in psychologies constituted outside middle class, North American contexts. Models of agency and choice across cultures are also a current focus. (Professor Markus’ current research in this area is supported in part by the National Science Foundation.)
  2. Self-schemas and culture: interdependence, independence, and biculturalism. My work examines how models of self vary across cultural contexts, particularly regarding beliefs about the self, others, and how the two relate. I explore how culture constitutes the self, and how selves influence culture, and in turn how both influence beliefs, cognition, and motivation. Current work investigates bicultural phenomena in which individuals may have multiple self-schemas operating simultaneously or may switch between various self-schemas.
  3. Well-being across cultural contexts. I also study how culture impacts beliefs about well-being, including emotional practices and desired well-being outcomes.
  4. Diversity and identity threat / safety. In this work, I explore how race, ethnicity, and class cultures impact identity across settings. Colleagues and I investigate how these identities are threatened or included by models of diversity and identity in institutions, particularly in educational settings. Finally, we investigate how race, ethnicity, and class are thought about and constructed on an everyday basis


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1975
  • B.A., Psychology, California State University at San Diego, 1970