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Curtis Phills

Associate Professor

Psychology | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Social Psychology, Social Cognition, Attitudes, Prejudice, Stereotyping, Discrimination


Ph.D., Psychology, York University 2012

M.A., Psychology, York University, 2006

B.A. (Honors), Psychology, York University, 2004


My program of research is primarily driven by three questions:

  1. What types of biases (including prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination) are present in our society?
  2. How are these biases related to one another?
  3. How can we reduce them?

I am also interested in how biases develop and their impact on people beyond discrimination. For example, how is my self-concept, how I think of myself, affected by the biases people around me have against groups I belong to? How do the biases I have about other groups influence my self-concept? I've used social-psychological, social-cognitive, and psychophysiological methodologies to explore these questions.


Publications & Presentations

West, T. V., Pearson, A. R., Dovidio, J. F., Johnson, B. T., & Phills, C. E. (In Press). Racial Attitudes and Visual Cues in Political Judgments: Support for Obama during the 2008 Presidential Election. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.


Struthers, C. W., Santelli, A. G., Khoury, C., Pang, M., Young, R., Kashefi, Y., Marjanovic, Z., Phills, C. E., Nash, K. & Vasquez, N. A. (In Press). The Role of  Victim Embarrassment in Explaining Why Apologies Affect Reported (But Not actual) Forgiveness. Journal of Language and Social Psychology.


Pearson, A. R., Dovidio, J. F., Phills, C. E., & Onyeador, I. N. (2013). Attitude-goal correspondence and interracial interaction: Implications for executive function and impression formation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 907-914.


Young, R. E., Struthers, C. W., Khoury, C., Muscat, S., Phills, C. E., & Mongrain, M. (2013). Forgiveness and Revenge: The Conflicting Needs of Dependents and Self-Critics in Relationships. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 32, 1095-1115.


Kawakami, K., Phills, C. E., Greenwald, A. G., Simard, D., Pontiero, J., Brnjas, A., Khan, B., Mills, J., & Dovidio, J. F. (2012). In perfect harmony: Synchronizing the self to activated social categories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 562-575.


Brauer, M., Er-rafiy, A., Kawakami, K., & Phills, C. E. (2012). Describing a group in positive terms reduces prejudice less effectively than describing it in positive and negative terms. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 757-761.


Phills, C. E., Kawakami, K., Tabi, E., Nadolny, D. & Inzlicht, M. (2011). Mind the Gap: Increasing Associations Between the Self and Blacks with Approach Behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 197-210.


*Reprinted in Kawakami, K. (Ed.) (2014). The psychology of prejudice. London: Sage Publications.


Phills, C. E., Santelli, A. G., Kawakami, K., Struthers, C. W., & Higgins, E. T. (2011). Reducing Implicit Prejudice: Matching Approach\Avoidance Strategies to Contextual Valence and Regulatory Focus. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 968-973.


McGregor, I. Nash, K., & Mann, N., & Phills, C. E. (2010). Anxious uncertainty and reactive approach motivation (RAM). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 133-147.


Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Dovidio, J. F., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Phills, C. E. (2009). An implicit measure of anti-gay attitudes: Prospective associations with emotion regulation strategies and psychological distress. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1316-1320.


Kawakami, K., Steele, J. R., Cifa, C., Phills, C. E., & Dovidio, J. F. (2008). Approaching math increases math = me and math = pleasant. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 818-825.


Kawakami, K., Phills, C. E., Steele, J. R., & Dovidio, J. F. (2007). (Close) Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Improving Implicit Racial Attitudes and Interracial Interactions Through Approach Behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 957–971.


*Reprinted in Haddock, G. & Maio, G. R. (Eds.) (2012). Psychology of Attitudes. London: Sage Publications.   

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