Faculty Profile

Sophie Trawalter

Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Psychology

Photo ofSophie  Trawalter
Garrett L004B

I’m an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Psychology. I study phenomena related to social diversity. Specifically, I examine how people navigate intergroup contact and intergroup contexts. I am especially interested in how people develop competencies and learn to thrive in diverse spaces.

In one line of research, I investigate stress and coping responses to interracial contact. Within this line of research, I examine people’s short-term behavioral and physiological responses to interracial contact as well as longer-term, health-relevant physiological changes in response to diversity experiences. Other lines of research explore people’s ability to detect discrimination accurately and the social ecology of privilege. Ultimately, the aim of this work is to develop constructive strategies to cope with the challenges of diversity in organizations, public arenas, and private spaces. In time, such strategies may reduce intergroup tensions and improve outcomes for both traditionally stigmatized and non-stigmatized group members.

Selected Recent Publications

The Invisible Man: Interpersonal Goals Moderate Inattentional Blindness to African Americans

Brown-Iannuzzi, J. L., Hoffman, K. M., Payne, B. K., & Trawalter, S. (2013, January 7). The Invisible Man: Interpersonal Goals Moderate Inattentional Blindness to African Americans. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0031407 read more »

Racial Bias in Perceptions of Others’ Pain

Trawalter S, Hoffman KM, Waytz A (2012) Racial Bias in Perceptions of Others’ Pain. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48546. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048546 read more »

Related News & Events

Safer Grounds: New Research About Women's Safety at U.Va. read more »

As part of UVA Reunions Weekend, Sophie Trawalter, assistant professor of public policy and psychology, will present some of her recent research on space and social identity. No registration required. read more »

New research from the University of Virginia and Ranker suggests that liberals and conservatives are increasingly likely to move to communities that reinforce their political preferences. read more »

KCRW references Sophie Trawalter's research on the racial empathy gap in a discussion of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trail read more »

Slate article cites Sophie Trawalter's research on pain perceptions across races while discussing the trial of George Zimmerman read more »

Sophie Trawalter researches inattentional blindness and how interpersonal goals moderate blindness toward African Americans read more »

Second Leadership Working Group talk in "Can Anyone Lead From Anywhere?" series, Thurs March 21, 12:30-2pm read more »

The University aims to cultivate more female scientists with a five-year, $3 million NSF grant read more »

Race may be the cause of at least a 10 percent handicap for Obama read more »

Block's understanding of research design was honed in Trawalter's class read more »