Erin Cooley

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Erin Cooley

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Department/Office Information

Psychological and Brain Sciences
111C Olin Hall


  • B.S. in Psychology, University of Florida, 2009
  • B.A. in Spanish, University of Florida, 2009
  • M.A. in Social Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011
  • Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a Formal Concentration in Quantitative Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015

My research examines the cognitive, affective, and physiological processes that result from, and contribute to, social inequality. I am particularly focused on understanding implicit biases, prejudice at the intersection of identities (e.g., race, gender, class), and the psychological and physical effects of shifting U.S. racial demographics and rising economic inequality.

*Indicates student author
**Indicates both authors contributed equally

Cooley, E., ** Hester, N., ** Cipolli, W., Rivera, L., Abrams, K., * Pagan, J., Sommers, S., & Payne, B.K. (in press). Racial biases in officers’ decisions to frisk are amplified for Black people stopped among groups leading to similar biases in searches, arrests, and use of force. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Cooley, E., Brown-Iannuzzi, J., Cottrell, D.* (in press). Liberals perceive more racism than conservatives when police shoot Black men—But, reading about White privilege increases perceived racism, and shifts attributions of guilt, regardless of political ideology. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.


Cooley, E., Brown-Iannuzzi, J. L., Lei, R. F., & Cipolli, W. III. (2019). Complex intersections of race and class: Among social liberals, learning about White privilege reduces sympathy, increases blame, and decreases external attributions for White people struggling with poverty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication.


Cooley, E., ** Brown-Iannuzzi, J. L., ** & Boudreau, C. (2019). Shifting stereotypes of welfare recipients can reverse racial biases in support for wealth redistribution. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Brown-Iannuzzi, J. L., Cooley, E., McKee, S. E., & Hyden, C. (2019). Wealthy Whites and poor Blacks: Implicit associations between racial groups and wealth predict explicit opposition toward helping the poor. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology82, 26-34.

Cooley, E., Lei, R., Brown-Iannuzzi, J., & Ellerkamp, T.* (2019). Personal prejudice, other guilt: Explicit prejudice toward Black people predicts guilty verdicts for White officers who kill Black men. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin45(5), 754–766. 

Cooley, E., Lei, R. F., & Ellerkamp, T.* (2018). The mixed outcomes of taking ownership for implicit racial biases. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin44(10), 1424-1434.

Cooley, E., & Payne, B. K. (2018). A group is more than the average of its parts: Why existing stereotypes are applied more to the same individuals when viewed in groups than when viewed alone. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 1368430218756494.

Cooley, E., Winslow, H.,* Vojt, A.,* Shein, J.,* & Ho, J.* (2018). Bias at the intersection of identity: Conflicting social stereotypes of gender and race augment the perceived femininity and interpersonal warmth of smiling Black women. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology74, 43-49.

Cooley, E., Brown-Iannuzzi, J., Agboh, D., Enjaian, B.,* Geyer, R.,* Lue, N.,* & Wu, S.* (2018). The fluid perception of racial identity: The role of friendship groups. Social Psychological and Personality Science9(1), 32-39. doi: 10.1177/1948550617703171

Cooley, E., Brown-Iannuzzi, J, Brown, C.S., & Polikoff, J.* (2018). Black groups accentuate hypodescent by activating threats to the racial hierarchySocial Psychological and Personality Science. doi: 10.1177/1948550617708014

Cooley, E., Payne, B.K., Cipolli, W., Cameron, D, Berger, A.,* & Gray, K. (2017). The paradox of group mind: "people in a group" have more mind than "a group of people."Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(5), 691.

Cooley, E., & Payne, B. K. (2017). Using groups to measure intergroup prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin43(1), 46-59. doi:10.1177/0146167216675331.

Brown-Iannuzzi, J., Dotsch, R., Cooley, E., & Payne, B. K. (2016). The relationship between mental representations of welfare recipients and attitudes toward welfare. Psychological Science, 28(1), 1-12. doi: 10.1177/0956797616674999.

Lai, C. K., Skinner, A. L., Cooley, E., Murrar, S., Brauer, M., Devos, T., Calanchini, J., Xiao, Y. J.,  Pedram, C., Marshburn, C. K., Simon, S., Blanchar, J. C., Joy-Gaba, J. A., Conway, J., Redford, L., Klein, R. A., Roussos, G., Schellhaas, F. M. H., Burns, M., Hu, X., McLean, M. C., Axt, J. R., Asgari, S., Schmidt, K., Rubinstein., R, Marini, M., Rubichi, S., Shin,. J. L., & Nosek, B. A. (2016). Reducing implicit racial preferences: II. Intervention effectiveness across time. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 8, 1001-1016.

Cooley, E., Payne, B.K., Loersch, C., & Lei, R. (2015). Who owns implicit attitudes? Testing a meta-cognitive perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin41(1), 103-115.

Cooley, E., Payne, B.K., & Phillips, J. K.* (2014). Implicit bias and the illusion of conscious ill will. Social Psychological and Personality Science5, 500-507.

Cooley, E., Rea, A. J., Insko, C. A., & Payne, B. K. (2013). Perceived relevance of honesty and agreeableness to situations with non-correspondent and correspondent outcomes: an interdependence perspective. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 593-599.

Payne, B.K., Brown-Iannuzzi, J., Burkley, M., Arbuckle, N., Cooley, E., Cameron, C.D., & Lundberg, K.B. (2013). Intention invention and the affect misattribution procedure: Reply to Bar-Anan and Nosek (2012). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 375-386.

Cooley, E., Brown-Iannuzzi, J., Lei, R., Powell, M.,* Munro, K.,* (under review). Flexible racial identification among Biracial people leads to inferences that they use their race to get ahead. Target Journal: Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Brown-Iannuzzi, J., Cooley, E., Marshburn, C., McKee, S., Lei, R. (under review). Breaking racialized links between laziness and poverty: Consequences of shifting work ethic stereotypes on support for wealth redistribution and the perceived race of welfare recipients. Target Journal: Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Vuletich, H., Kurtz-Costes, B., Cooley, E., Payne, K. (under review). Math and language gender stereotypes: Age and gender differences in implicit attitudes and explicit beliefs. Target Journal: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“Character and Context” blog post for Society for Personality and Social Psychology (June 10, 2019). “Who is to blame when police officers shoot Black men?”

OpEd for Vice (May 7, 2019). “The disturbing thing I learned studying white privilege and liberals.”

“Character and Context” blog post for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (April 15, 2019). “Beliefs that Black people are poor predict opposition toward welfare.”

The Academic Minute: A WMAC National Production (August 31, 2017). “Groups and sympathy”