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Anne E. Wilson Social psychologist

Anne Wilson’s research focuses on personal and social identity (including gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality) over time and the connections people draw between the past, present, and future. Every group has a collective history extending past individual lifespans; the historical injustices perpetrated by one’s in-group can be costly to current identity. She 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 and 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, she has begun investigating people’s lay beliefs about human capacity for change: people who believe that people (or societies) are malleable think about time very differently than those who believe people (or societies) are fixed and immutable.


Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Social Psychology, 2007, 2012 (renewal).

Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada, 2014.

Elected Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, 2014.

Relevant Publications

M. Soliman, 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, 104-111, 2017.

S. Leith, C. Ward, M. Giacomin, E. Landau, J. Ehrlinger, & A. E. Wilson, “Changing theories of change: Strategic shifting in implicit theory endorsement.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107, pp. 597-620, 2014.

S. Leith & A. E. Wilson. When Size Justifies: Intergroup Attitudes and Subjective Size Judgments of “Sacred Space” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 54, pp. 122-130, 2014.

N. Bashir, A. E. Wilson, P. Lockwood, A. Chasteen, & S. Alisat, “The time for action is now: Subjective temporal proximity enhances pursuit of remote-future goals.” Social Cognition, 32, pp. 83-93, 2014.

G. Gunn, 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(11), pp. 1474-1487, 2011.



Fellow Successful Societies


Wilfrid Laurier UniversityPsychology Department


PhD (Psychology) University of Waterloo

BA Hon (Psychology and Sociology) Mount Allison University



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