Anne Wilson is a social psychologist whose research focuses on personal and social identity over time (including gender, ethnicity, religion and nationality) and on the connections people draw between the past, present and future.
Every group has a collective history extending past individual lifespans, and the historical injustices perpetrated by one’s group can be costly to current identity. Wilson is especially interested in the role of motivated reasoning in fostering biased perceptions of time, space, change and other fundamental properties of the world around us. For example, a historical injustice may be perceived as ‘ancient history’ by members of the perpetrator group, but as recent in time by members of the victim group, resulting in very different conclusions about the causal connections between past injustice and current inequality.
In her recent research, Wilson has begun investigating people’s lay beliefs about human capacity for change: those who believe that people (or societies) are malleable think about time very differently than those who believe that people (or societies) are fixed and immutable.
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology, 2007, 2012 (renewal)
Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada, 2014
Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, 2014
Soliman, M., and A.E. Wilson. "Seeing change and being change in the world: The relationship between lay theories about the world and environmental intentions." Journal of Environmental Psychology 50 (2017): 104–11.
Leith, S. et al. “Changing theories of change: Strategic shifting in implicit theory endorsement.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 107 (2014): 597–620.
Leith, S., and A.E. Wilson. “When Size Justifies: Intergroup Attitudes and Subjective Size Judgments of ‘Sacred Space’.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 54 (2014): 122–30.
Bashir, N. et al. “The time for action is now: Subjective temporal proximity enhances pursuit of remote-future goals.” Social Cognition 32 (2014): 83–93.
Gunn, G., and A.E. Wilson. “Acknowledging the skeletons in our closet: The effect of group-affirmation on collective guilt, collective shame, and reparatory attitudes.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 37, no. 11 (2011): 1474–1487.