Melissa J. Williams is an Assistant Professor in Organization & Management at Goizueta Business School, Emory University. She previously completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and earned a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Williams studies conscious and nonconscious beliefs and theories about social groups, including racial and ethnic groups, gender groups, and even fictional groups. For example, she has demonstrated that thinking about race as rooted in biology causes people to be less interested in interacting with others outside their own racial group. Other work has shown that East Asians form stronger inferences from social group membership, compared to Westerners.
In her current research, Dr. Williams is incorporating power and status into an exploration of the beliefs people hold about groups. Ongoing projects include investigations of liking of dominant men and women, how power and dominance interact to predict the exploitation of subordinates, and how framing a woman's traditional role in the home as domestic power can reduce her motivation to seek other forms of power (such as power at work).
Dr. Williams is the recipient of the Geis Memorial Award for Dissertation Research from the Association for Women in Psychology, a pre-dissertation prize from the Institute for Labor and Employment at the University of California, and an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award from UC Berkeley. Her work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and Personality and Social Psychology Review, among others.
- Culture and Ethnicity
- Gender Psychology
- Intergroup Relations
- Organizational Behavior
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Self and Identity
- Social Cognition
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- Williams, M. J., & Spencer-Rodgers, J. (2010). Culture and stereotyping processes: Integration and new directions. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4(8), 591-604.
- Williams, M. J., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2008). Biological conceptions of race and the motivation to cross racial boundaries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(6), 1033-1047.
- Spencer-Rodgers, J., Williams, M. J., Hamilton, D. L., Peng, K., & Wang, L. (2007). Culture and group perception: Dispositional and stereotypic inferences about novel and national groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(4), 525-543.
- Spencer-Rodgers, J., Williams, M. J., & Peng, K. (2010). Cultural differences in expectations of change and tolerance for contradiction: A decade of empirical research. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14(3), 296-312.
- Williams, M. J., & Mendelsohn, G. A. (2008). Gender clues and cues: Online interactions as windows into lay theories about men and women. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 30(3), 278-294.
- Hebl, M. R.*, Williams, M. J.*, Sundermann, J., Kell, H., & Davies, P. G. (2012). Selectively friending: Racial stereotypicality and social rejection. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1329-1335. *Authors contributed equally; order is alphabetical.
- Williams, M. J., Paluck, E. L., & Spencer-Rodgers, J. (2010). The masculinity of money: Automatic stereotypes predict gender differences in estimated salaries. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34, 107-120.
- Williams, M. J., & Hebl, M. R. (2005). Warding off the attacker: Self-defense in theory and in practice. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(2), 366-382.
- Goff, P. A., Eberhardt, J. L., Williams, M. J., & Jackson, M. C. (2008). Not yet human: Implicit knowledge, historical dehumanization, and contemporary consequences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(2), 292-306.
- Li, Y. J., Johnson, K. A., Cohen, A. B., Williams, M. J., Knowles, E. D., & Chen, Z. (2012). Fundamental(ist) attribution error: Protestants are dispositionally focused. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(2), 281-290.
- Hebl, M. R., King, E. B., Turchin, J., & Williams, M. J. (2008). The grapefruit race: Demonstrating the influence of competition on gender differences in intimacy. Teaching of Psychology, 35(1), 18-21.
- Spencer-Rodgers, J., Williams, M. J., & Peng, K. (2007). How Asian folk beliefs of knowing affect the investigation of cultural differences. In J. Liu, C. Ward, A. B. I. Bernardo, M. Karasawa, & R. Fischer (Eds.), Casting the individual in societal and cultural contexts: Social and societal psychology for Asia and the Pacific. Seoul, Korea: Kyoyook-Kwahak-Sa Publishing Company.
- Organization & Management
- Statistics & Research Methods
Melissa J. Williams
Goizueta Business School
1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30030
- Phone: 404-727-6693