Valerie Jones Taylor


Broadly, my research centers on exploring two sides of an issue that educators and policy makers have struggled to untangle—why and when “diversity” (and with it, greater intergroup and interracial contact) might hurt or help individuals and institutions. Much research has shown the benefits of diversity across domains, in schools, workplaces, and even neighborhoods. However, with increasing diversity and greater contact among individuals with different social identities comes the possibility that people might experience social identity threat—the concern or worry that one may be treated or judged negatively based on one’s social group membership. Thus, as diversity and intergroup contact increases, pressing identity-related questions soon arise.

Addressing this issue, across several lines of research, I seek to answer various identity-related questions, particularly when negative group stereotypes are salient. For example, why are high potential women’s and minorities’ performance undermined in academic and workplace contexts where they are underrepresented and negatively stereotyped? Why do coworkers of different racial backgrounds sometimes have difficult interactions, which can derail their ability to perform well and work effectively together? As our nation continues to diversify, why do negative stereotypes about the spaces occupied by racial group members continue to disadvantage minority neighborhoods and bias policy? And, most importantly, what strategies can be leveraged to reduce the opportunity gap, improve intergroup relations, and promote more equitable policy-making at both the individual and institutional level? In my work, I draw on theories such as social identity threat, and apply frameworks such as models of stress and coping and social cognitive intergroup processes, to answer such questions that loom large for those working to implement successful diversity strategies to reduce inequities and promote positive social change. I also use virtual reality methodology to improve interracial encounters in academic and social contexts. 

I am an experimental social psychologist, and I hold a joint appointment in the Africana Studies Program at Lehigh University. For more information, please see my lab page: and also feel free to email me at


Selected publications

* Indicates equal contribution; authors listed alphabetically.

Taylor, V. J., Yantis, C., Bonam, C. M., & Hart, A. (2021). What do I do? Predicting anticipatory behaviors following ingroup members' stereotypical behaviors in interracial interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47(7), 1084-1100. DOI: 10.1177/0146167220960269

Taylor, V. J., Garcia, R. L., Shelton, J. N., & Yantis, C. (2018). “A Threat on the Ground”: The consequences of witnessing stereotype-confirming ingroup members in interracial interactions. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/cdp0000190

Bonam, C. M., Taylor, V. J., & Yantis, C. (2017). Racialized physical space as cultural product. Social and Personality Psychology Compass11(9), 1-12. DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12340

 *Brannon, T., *Taylor, V. J., Higginbotham, G., & Henderson, K. (2017). Selves in contact: How  integrating perspectives on sociocultural selves and intergroup contact can inform theory and application on reducing inequality. Social and Personality Psychology Compass11(7), 1-15. DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12326

Brannon, T., Markus, H. R., & Taylor, V. J. (2015). ‘Two Souls, Two Thoughts’, Two self-schemas: Adaptive and positive consequences of double consciousness in African-Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108(4), 586-609. DOI: 10.1037/a0038992

Taylor, V. J., & Walton, G. M. (2011). Stereotype threat undermines academic learning. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin37(8), 1055-1067. DOI: 10.1177/0146167211406506





Valerie Jones Taylor
Assistant Professor, Joint appointment in Africana Studies
Chandler-Ullmann room 113
Stanford University, Ph.D., Social Psychology, 2009
The University of Texas at Austin, B.A., Psychology & Ethnic Studies, 2002

Teaching Interests: 

Intergroup and Intragroup Relations
Psychology of Prejudice and Racism
Cultural Psychology
Social Psychology