Sarah Townsend

Interim Assistant Vice Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Associate Professor of Management and Organization
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PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara; BA, MA, Stanford University

Sarah Townsend studies the psychological foundations of inequality. Her research reveals the dysfunctional behaviors and physiological costs that can result when individuals’ cultural norms collide with the dominant cultural norms of organizations. She examines how these“cultural divides” are often a hidden source of inequality, but how they can be used to lessen opportunity gaps and fuel greater cross-group understanding. The director of the Culture, Diversity, and Psychophysiology lab (CPD Lab) at USC, Dr. Townsend has received recognition including,being named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science and “Professor of the Week” by Poets & Quants.
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Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend, Lauren Rivera () "The cycle of workplace bias and how to interrupt it ,"  Research in Organizational Behavior  40.
Erika Hall, Sarah Townsend, James Carter () "What's in a Name? The Hidden Historical Ideologies Embedded in the Black and African American Racial Labels ,"  PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE  32, 1720-1730.
Hannah Birnbaum, Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend, MarYam Hamedani () "A Diversity Ideology Intervention: Multiculturalism Reduces the Racial Achievement Gap ,"  SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PERSONALITY SCIENCE  12, 751-759.
Sarah Townsend, Nicole Stephens, MarYam Hamedani () "Difference-Education Improves First-Generation Students' Grades Throughout College and Increases Comfort With Social Group Difference ,"  PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN  47, 1510-1519.
L. Phillips, Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend, Sébastien Goudeau () "Access is not enough: Cultural mismatch persists to limit first-generation students’ opportunities for achievement throughout college. ,"  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  119, 1112-1131.
Andrea Dittmann, Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend () "Achievement is not class-neutral: Working together benefits people from working-class contexts. ,"  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  119, 517-539.
Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend () "Understanding how people detect social class from speech requires taking a cultural psychological perspective ,"  Proceedings of the National Academics of Sciences  116, 23871-23873.
Sarah Townsend, Nicole Stephens, Stephanie Smallets, MarYam Hamedani () "Empowerment through difference: An individually-administered difference-education intervention closes the social class achievement gap ,"  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin  45, 1068-1083.
Nicole Stephens, MarYam Hamedani, Sarah Townsend () "Difference matters: Teaching students a contextual theory of difference can help them succeed ,"  Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend () "The unseen reason working-class students drop out. ,".
Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend, Andrea Dittmann () "Social class disparities in higher education and in the workplace: The role of cultural mismatch. ,"  Current Directions in Psychological Science.
Sarah Townsend, Mindy Truong () "Cultural models of self and social class disparities at organizational gateways and pathways. ,"  Current Opinion in Psychology, 93-98.
Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend () "How you feel about individualism is influenced by your social class ,".
Nicole Stephens, Andrea Dittmann, Sarah Townsend () "Social class and models of competence: How gateway institutions disadvantage working-class Americans and how to intervene ,"  Handbook of competence and motivation (2nd Edition): Theory and application, 27.
Brenda Major, Jonathan Kunstman, Breanna Malta, Pamela Sawyer, Sarah Townsend, Wendy Mendes () "Suspicion of motives predicts minorities' responses to positive feedback in interracial interactions ,"  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology  62, 75-88.
Nicole Stephens, Jessica Cameron, Sarah Townsend () "Lower social class does not (always) mean greater interdependence: Women in poverty have fewer social resources than working-class women. ,"  Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology  45, 1061 –1073.
Sarah Townsend, Heejung Kim, Batja Mesquita () "Are you Feeling what I’m Feeling? Emotional Similarity Buffers Stress ,"  Social Psychological and Personality Science  5, 526-533.
Sarah Townsend, Dina Eliezer, Brenda Major, Wendy Mendes () "Influencing the world versus adjusting to constraints: Social class moderates responses to discrimination ,"  Social Psychological and Personality Science  5, 226-234.
Sarah Townsend, Leigh Thompson () "Implications of the Protestant work ethic for cooperative and mixed-motive teams ,"  Organizational Psychology Review  4, 4-26.
Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend () "How can incentives improve the success of disadvantaged college students? Insights from the Social Sciences ,"  George Washington University,
Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend () "Rank Is Not Enough: Why We Need a Sociocultural Perspective to Understand Social Class ,"  Psychological Inquiry, An International Journal for the Advancement of Psychological Theory  24, 126-130.
Nicole Stephens, Sarah Townsend, Hazel Markus, L. Philips () "A cultural mismatch: Independent cultural norms produce greater increases in cortisol and more negative emotions among !rst-generation college students ,"  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology  48, 1389-1393.
Pamela Sawyer, Brenda Major, Bettina Casad, Sarah Townsend, Wendy Mendes () "Discrimination and the stress response: Psychological and physiological consequences of anticipating prejudice in interracial interaction. ,"  American Journal of Public Health  102, 1020-1026.
Sarah Townsend, Stephanie Fryberg, Clara Wilkins, Hazel Markus () "Being Mixed: Who Claims a Biracial Identity? ,"  Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology  18, 91-96.
Sarah Townsend, Brenda Major, Cynthia Gangi, Wendy Mendes () "From “In the air” to “Under the skin:” Cortisol responses to social identity threat. ,"  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin  37, 151-164.
Sarah Townsend, Brenda Major, Pamela Sawyer, Wendy Mendes () "Can the absence of prejudice be more threatening than its presence? It depends on one’s worldview. ,"  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  99, 933 - 947.
Yukiko Uchida, Sarah Townsend, Hazel Markus, Hilary Bergsieker () "Emotions as within or between people? Cultural variation in lay theories of emotion expression and emotion inference. ,"  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin  35, 1427 - 1439.
Sarah Townsend, Hazel Markus, Hilary Bergsieker () "My choice, your categories: The denial of multiracial identities. ,"  Journal of Social Issues  65, 185 - 204.
Nicole Stephens, Hazel Markus, Sarah Townsend () "Choice as an act of meaning: The case of social class. ,"  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  93, 814 - 830.
Hazel Markus, Yukiko Uchida, Heather Omoregie, Sarah Townsend, Shinobu Kitayama () "Going for the gold: American and Japanese models of Olympic agency. ,"  Psychological Science  17, 103 - 112.