Kiera is a recent doctoral graduate from the (Social) Psychology department at Harvard University. She completed her BA in Biology and Psychology from Williams College, doing a thesis under the guidance of Dr. Jennifer Randall Crosby on subjective power’s role in predicting the desires of in-group and out-group members. After college, she spent two transformative years as a lab manager for Dr. Jenessa Shapiro in the Social Interaction and Social Stigma Lab at UCLA. She completed her PhD under the guidance of Dr. Jim Sidanius, Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, and Dr. Mina Cikara, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University working with Dr. Jennifer Richeson and Dr. Michael Kraus.
Kiera is interested in two broad questions: What are the psychological and biological roots of power hierarchies and how do these hierarchies intersect to influence experiences and perceptions? In response to the first question, she is interested in the psychological and biological underpinnings of social dominance by exploring the relationship between preferences for hierarchy (i.e. SDO) and (counter-) empathy in situations of competition and threat. She is also examining the origins of social dominance developmentally, asking when and how children come to represent social categories of gender as organized in a specific social hierarchy where men are on top. She studies implicit representations of racial slurs both within minoritized and non-minoritized social groups. Finally, in collaboration with Dr. Richeson, she is investigating the sociocontextual factors underpinning reactions to increasing levels of diversity in America and beliefs regarding racial progress.
To address the second question, she is examining how various social hierarchies such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and class intersect as they relate to expressing and experiencing prejudice. This includes understanding the nature of gender prescriptive stereotypes at the intersection of race and sexual orientation, as well as expanding intersectional theories through an evolutionary psychology lens.
Psychology (Social) PhD, 2020
BA in Biology and Psychology, 2011