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Catherine Thomas

My research examines the psychology of poverty and inequality and their remedies. Integrating social psychology, cultural psychology, and behavioral science, I uncover social psychological processes that undermine the economic mobility of people in poverty and simultaneously depress public will to address inequality. Yet, I show how brief social psychological interventions can promote economic mobility and well-being, particularly in the context of anti-poverty policies like universal basic income and cash transfers. In this work, I conduct lab and field experiments in the US and low- and middle-income countries, including in partnership with nonprofits and governments and with interdisciplinary teams of economists and sociologists. 

I am currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in Psychology at Stanford University and have a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University, M.Sc. in Global Mental Health from the University of London, and a B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Yale University. In 2023, I'll be starting as an Assistant Professor in Psychology and Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan.

*For prospective Ph.D. students*  I will be reviewing applications this cycle for grad students interested in joining my lab in Fall 2023. The UM application deadline is Dec 1. You can find more info on the application process here. My lab would be a good fit for people interested in: (1) studying topics like poverty, inequality, social class, and culture, (2) intervention science / behavioral science, (3) interdisciplinary research, and (4) conducting field research.

*Job posting*  Our team at Stanford SPARQ is looking for a full-time Research Assistant to join our Economic Justice initiative to shift cultural narratives around poverty, inequality, and prejudice as well as join Geoff Cohen's team to develop depolarization interventions. The position is full-time from January-August, 2023, with possible extension. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until January 5, 2023. Apply here: http://sscl.stanford.edu/application.


Catherine Thomas

Stanford University, Department of Psychology
450 Jane Stanford Way

Building 420

Stanford, CA 94305

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