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Nyla Branscombe Social psychologist

Professor Branscombe’s research has been focused on two related topics within the general area of the psychology of intergroup relations. First, she has addressed how group history affects interpretation and emotional responses to group events in the present. Members of some groups are considerably more advantaged, while members of other social groups are systematically disadvantaged. As a result of such social positioning, different psychological processes—particularly those related to threats to group identity—can be expected to operate. She has pursued for some time how the meaning and consequences of perceived discrimination differs for members of historically disadvantaged groups in comparison to members of historically advantaged groups. This research has led to a deeper understanding of the nature of attributions to prejudice and how the consequences of attributing negative events to discrimination depend on the status position of the group. This work has revealed the importance of group identity for psychological well-being in groups facing pervasive discrimination.

In the second line of research, she has addressed when awareness of group-based inequality will evoke feelings of collective guilt and motivate the making of reparations to the historically disadvantaged group. In an edited volume (Branscombe & Doosje, 2004) reporting on original studies conducted in various countries (e.g., U.S.A., Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Northern Ireland, and the Netherlands), she examined the antecedents of collective guilt, how people psychologically disengage from their group’s historical mistreatment of other social groups and avoid feeling guilt, as well as the social consequences of accepting collective guilt.

Relevant Publications

S. Fernández et al, "Higher moral obligations of tolerance toward other minorities: An extra burden on stigmatized groups," Pers. Soc. Psychol. B., vol. 40, pp. 363-376, 2014.



Senior Fellow Social Interactions, Identity & Well Being


University of KansasDepartment of Psychology


PhD (Social Psychology) Purdue University

MA (Social Psychology) University of Western Ontario

BA (Psychology) York University


United States

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