The Social Cognition of Social Justice Laboratory

Purdue University

Department of Psychological Sciences

703 Third Street

West Lafayette, IN 47907

(765) 494-4833


Please click here for a full list of publications on Dr. Erin Hennes's Google Scholar profile.

The Social Cognition of Social Justice lab is grateful for funding from the following organizations:

Cognitive and Motivated Biases in Information Processing in the Context of Social Justice Issues

We examine cognitive and motivated biases that may interfere with information processing, particularly in the context of contemporary social issues such as environmental sustainability and racial and gender inequality. We examine how basic psychological processes such as perceptual judgment, recall, and evaluation of scientific and media information are influenced by political ideology and preference for progressive vs. restorative change. Our empirical methods include laboratory experimentation, public opinion surveys, focus group interviews, and longitudinal field research to investigate information encoding, elaboration, and dissemination. This line of research is partially funded by a grant from the FACE Foundation in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States, with additional support from the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and the graduate school.

Representative Publications:

Hennes, E. P., Hampton, A. J., Ozgumus, E., & Hamori, T. J. (2019). System-level biases in the production and consumption of information: Implications for system resilience and radical change. In M. Brandt & B. Rutjens (Eds.), Belief systems and perceptions of reality (pp. 29-43). London: Routledge.


Davis, T.*, Hennes, E. P.*, & Raymond, L.* (2018). Cultural evolution of normative motivations for sustainable behaviour. Nature Sustainability, 1, 218-224.


Hennes, E. P., Ruisch, B. C., Feygina, I., Monteiro, C. A., & Jost, J. T. (2016). Motivated recall in the service of the economic system: The case of anthropogenic climate change. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 755-771.


Featured as a Research Highlight: Biased recall is polarizing. Nature Climate Change, 6, 1060. (2016).


Jost, J. T., Hennes, E. P., & Lavine, H. (2013). “Hot” political cognition: Its self-, group-, and system-serving purposes. In D. E. Carlston (Ed.), Oxford handbook of social cognition (pp. 851-875). New York: Oxford University Press.


Hennes, E. P., Nam, H. H., Stern, C., & Jost, J. T. (2012). Not all ideologies are created equal: Epistemic, existential, and relational needs predict system-justifying attitudes. Social Cognition, 30, 669-688.


Examining the Benefits and Unintended Costs of Diversity Interventions

We develop and test the efficacy (and potential unintended consequences) of media-based interventions aimed at addressing bias favoring men and racial and ethnic majority group members in academic settings. Materials for the Boiler Inclusion Project (with Drs. Margo Monteith and Evelyn Carter) can be found here, and materials for Video Interventions for Diversity in STEM (with Drs. Corinne Moss-Racusin and Eva Pietri) can be found here. This line of research is partially funded by a Purdue University Diversity Transformation Award.

Representative Publications:

Pietri, E. S., Hennes, E. P., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Bailey, A. H., Moss-Racusin, C. A., & Handelsman, J. (2019). Addressing unintended consequences of gender diversity interventions on women's sense of belonging in STEM. Sex Roles, 80, 527-547.


Hennes, E. P.*, Pietri, E.*, Moss-Racusin, C. A., Mason, K. A., Dovidio, J., Brescoll, V. L., Bailey, A. H., & Handelsman, J.  (2018). Improving self-efficacy to combat STEM gender bias using a modified Video Intervention for Diversity in STEM (VIDS) intervention. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 21, 788-809.


Moss-Racusin, C. A., Pietri, E., Hennes, E. P., Dovidio, J., Brescoll, V. L., Roussos, G., & Handelsman, J. (2018). Reducing STEM Gender Bias with VIDS (Video Interventions for Diversity in STEM). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24, 236-260.


Developing Improved Methods for Statistical Power Analysis

We develop methods for power analysis utilizing data simulation and innovations in generalizability theory, guided-walk, and machine learning techniques. We also focus on developing guidelines for determining appropriate parameter estimation when information is limited. Training materials and syntax can be found here and here. This work is funded by a National Institutes of Health R01 award. Contact Dr. Hennes for information about statistical consulting and methodological workshops.

Representative Publications:

Lane, S. P., & Hennes, E. P. (2019). Conducting sensitivity analyses to identify and buffer power vulnerabilities in studies examining substance use over time. Addictive Behaviors, 94, 117-123.


Lane, S. P., & Hennes, E. P. (2018). Power struggles: Estimating sample size for multilevel relationships research. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35, 7-31.


Areas of Expertise: social psychology, political psychology, environmental psychology, social justice, climate change, motivated information processing, motivated cognition, motivated reasoning, ideology, system justification theory, intergroup relations, stereotypes and prejudice, diversity interventions, quantitative methods, best practices, replicability, power analysis.