Posted on 1/2/2017

Jeni Kubota is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and The Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC) at The University of Chicago. Her research interests include social neuroscience, impression formation, stereotyping and prejudice, intergroup decision-making, and discrimination interventions.

Employer: University of Chicago
Job Title:  Assistant Professor
Highest Degree: PhD
Institution Providing Degree: The University of Colorado Boulder

What led you to choose a career in personality and social psychology?

I was fortunate to work in Professor Devine’s lab at Madison as an undergraduate and it was there that I found social neuroscience.  It was the perfect mix of my love of biological science and deep commitment to understanding the factors that promote equity and diversity.


Briefly summarize your current research, and any future research interests you plan to pursue. 

Broadly speaking, my research explores social cognitive and neurocognitive mechanisms involved in impression formation. It also aims to build on social cognitive knowledge to characterize robust and reliable interventions that promote equity and diversity. To characterize these processes, I bridge basic social, cognitive, and neuroscience research with decision-making to test the flexibility of impression formation and the constraints of interventions in producing lasting reductions in inequality.


Why did you join SPSP?

I joined SPSP as an undergraduate to present my honor’s thesis as a poster.  I also wanted to learn more about work in the labs I was planning to apply to for graduate school. 


What is your most memorable SPSP Annual Convention experience?

The first diversity reception I attended.  It was inspirational to be around the other minority faculty and students who had done so much great work.  I still draw upon the network of scholars I met there for support and it gave me a tremendous sense of belonging.


How has being a member of SPSP helped to advance your career?

SPSP and SISPP helped me to connect to other social psychologists and solidify my identity as a social psychologist.  These scholars have inspired my work and remind me that the reason I do this research is to rigorously investigate intergroup dynamics.


Do you have any advice for individuals who wish to pursue a career in personality and social psychology?

Be motivated by your question and always strive to do better science.  The motto we had in the Phelps’ lab as postdocs was: “head down, do good work.” I really believe in that simple strategy. 


Outside of psychology, how do you spend your free time?

Family time, as much as possible.  I love to travel and am currently spending a lot of my free time learning French.