Welcome to the SIIB Lab at Wesleyan University!

The Social Identity and Intergroup Bias Lab is directed by Professor Clara L. Wilkins and run by a team of Wesleyan students.  Our research focuses on social stigma, prejudice and stereotyping. We examine perceptions of bias against high-status groups and how physical appearance shapes stereotyping.

Research Overview

  • High-Status Groups’ Perceptions of Bias

Historically high-status groups have been seen as perpetrators and low status groups as victims of bias, but recently, perceptions of this relationship have shifted. Whites and men increasingly see their groups as victims of discrimination (e.g. Wilkins & Kaiser, 2014; Wilkins, Wellman, Babbitt, Toosi & Schad, 2015). Our research examines both the causes of this shift and the consequences for intergroup relations. We demonstrate that changes to the status hierarchy make some high-status individuals particularly inclined to see their group as a  victim of discrimination. We also show that increasing perceptions of bias against high-status groups lead to attitudes that ultimately perpetuate social disparities.

  • Within-Group Variation in Appearance

Rather than treating groups as homogeneous entities that have similar outcomes, my secondary line of research highlights how differences between members of the same group affect their life experiences. We study how variation in physical appearance shapes perceptions of minorities, their group identification and stereotyping. Specifically, we examine consequences of the degree to which racial or ethnic minorities look like prototypical group members.