Dr. Spencer is the Robert K. and Dale J. Weary Chair in Social Psychology. He completed his undergraduate degree at Hope College in Holland, MI and his PhD at the University of Michigan where Claude Steele was his faculty mentor. After brief stints at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Hope College as an Assistant Professor, he was at the University of Waterloo for 19 years. He has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, as the chair of the executive committee of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and won the Gordon Allport Prize for his paper with Greg Walton on Latent Ability.
Dr. Spencer does research on motivation and the self, particularly on how these factors affect stereotyping and prejudice. In examining motivation and the self, he also examines how implicit processes that are outside of people's awareness affect people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In examining stereotyping and prejudice, he studies how threats to the self-concept can lead to stereotyping and prejudice, and how this stereotyping and prejudice affects subsequent feelings about the self. He also examines how being a member of a stereotyped group affects people's self-concept and academic performance.
Spencer, S. J., Logel, C., & Davies, P. G. (2016). Stereotype threat. Annual Review of Psychology, 67, 415-437.
Walton, G. M., Logel, C., Peach, J. M., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2015). Two brief interventions to mitigate a “chilly climate” transform women’s experience, relationships, and achievement in engineering. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107, 468-485.
Walton, G. M., Spencer, S. J., Erman, S. (2013). Affirmative meritocracy. Social Issues and Policy Review, 7, 1-35
Jordan, C. H., Logel, C., Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., Wood, J. P., & Holmes, J. G. (2013). Responsive low self-esteem: Low explicit self-esteem, implicit self-esteem, and reactions to performance outcomes. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 32, 703-732.
Yoshida, E., Peach, J. M., Zanna, M. P., Spencer, S. J., (2012). Not all automatic associations are created equal: How implicit normative evaluations are distinct from implicit attitudes and uniquely predict meaningful behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 694-706
Walton, G. M., Cohen, G. L., Cwir, D., Spencer, S. J. (2012). Mere belonging: the power of social connections. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 513-532.
Cwir, D., Carr, P. B., Walton, G. M., & Spencer, S. J. (2011). Your heart makes my heart move: Cues of social connectedness cause shared emotions and physiological states among strangers. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 661-664.
Walton, G. M., & Spencer, S. J. (2009). Latent Ability: Grades and Test Scores Systematically Underestimate the Intellectual Ability of Negatively Stereotyped Students. Psychological Science, 20, 1132-1139.
Logel, C.,Walton, G. M., Spencer, S. J., von Hippel, W., Bell, A., & Iserman, E. (2009). Interacting with Sexist Men Triggers Social Identity Threat Among Female Engineers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1089-1103.
Strahan, E. J., Lafrance, A., Wilson, A. E., Ethier, N., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2008). Victoria's dirty secret: How sociocultural norms influence adolescent girls and women. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 288-301.
Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., & Fong, G. (2005). Establishing a causal chain: Why experiments are often more effective than mediational analyses in examining psychological processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 845-851.
Hoshino Browne, E., Zanna, A. S., Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., Kitayama, S., & Lackenbauer, S. (2005). On the cultural guises of cognitive dissonance: The case of easterners and westerners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 294-310.
Correll, J., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2004). An affirmed self and an open mind: Self-affirmation and sensitivity to argument strength. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 350-356.
Jordan, C., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P., Hoshino-Browne, E., & Correll, J. (2003). Implicit self-esteem, explicit self-esteem and defensiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 969-978.
Kunda, Z., & Spencer, S. J. (2003). When do stereotypes come to mind and when do they color judgment? A goal-based theory of stereotype activation and application. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 522-544.
Steele, C. M., Spencer, S. J., & Aronson, J. (2002). Contending with bias: The psychology of stereotype and social identity threat. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 34, pp. 277-341. San Diego: Academic Press.
Strahan, E. J., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2002). Subliminal priming and persuasion: Striking while the iron is hot. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 556-568.
Spencer, S. J., & Steele, C. M., & Quinn, D. M. (1999). Stereotype threat and women’s math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 4-28.
Major, B., Spencer, S. J., Schmader, T., Wolfe, C. T., & Crocker, J. (1998). Coping with negative stereotypes about intellectual performance: The role of psychological disengagement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 34-50.
Fein, S., & Spencer, S. J. (1997). Prejudice as self-image maintenance: Affirming the self through negative evaluations of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 31- 44.