Academic Appointments


Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science, Cornell University, Psychology

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Much of my research examines processes related to identity maintenance and their implications for social problems. One primary aim of my research is the development of theory-driven, rigorously tested intervention strategies that further our understanding of the processes underpinning social problems and that offer solutions to alleviate them. Two key questions lie at the core of my research: “Given that a problem exists, what are its underlying processes?” And, “Once identified, how can these processes be overcome?” One reason for this interest in intervention is my belief that a useful way to understand psychological processes and social systems is to try to change them. We also are interested in how and when seemingly brief interventions, attuned to underlying psychological processes, produce large and long-lasting psychological and behavioral change.

The methods that my lab uses include laboratory experiments, longitudinal studies, content analyses, and randomized field experiments. One specific area of research addresses the effects of group identity on achievement, with a focus on under-performance and racial and gender achievement gaps. Additional research programs address hiring discrimination, the psychology of closed-mindedness and inter-group conflict, and psychological processes underlying anti-social and health-risk behavior.

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Loss of institutional trust among racial and ethnic minority adolescents: a consequence of procedural injustice and a cause of life‐span outcomes Child development Yeager, D. S., Purdie‐Vaughns, V., Hooper, S. Y., Cohen, G. L. 2017; 88 (2): 658-676
  • Feeling left out, but affirmed: Protecting against the negative effects of low belonging in college Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Layous, K., Davis, E. M., Garcia, J., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Cook, J. E., Cohen, G. L. 2017; 69: 227-231
  • A values affirmation intervention to improve female residents' surgical performance Journal of graduate medical education Salles, A., Mueller, C. M., Cohen, G. L. 2016; 8 (3): 378-383
  • Changing environments by changing individuals: The emergent effects of psychological intervention Psychological science Powers, J. T., Cook, J. E., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J., Apfel, N., Cohen, G. L. 2016; 27 (2): 150-160
  • The psychology of change: Self-affirmation and social psychological intervention Annual review of psychology Cohen, G. L., Sherman, D. K. 2014; 65: 333-371
  • Educational theory, practice, and policy and the wisdom of social psychology Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J. 2014; 1 (1): 13-20
  • Breaking the cycle of mistrust: Wise interventions to provide critical feedback across the racial divide. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General Yeager, D. S., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J., Apfel, N., Brzustoski, P., Master, A., Hessert, W. T., Williams, M. E., Cohen, G. L. 2014; 143 (2): 804
  • Academic Tenacity: Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Dweck, C. S., Walton, G. M., Cohen, G. L. 2014
  • An identity threat perspective on intervention. Stereotype Threat: Theory, Process, and Application Cohen, G. L., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J. 2012
  • The role of the self in physical health: Testing the effect of a values-affirmation intervention on weight loss Psychological Science Logel, C., Cohen, G. L. 2012; 23 (1): 53-55
  • Chronic threat and contingent belonging: Protective benefits of values affirmation on identity development. Journal of personality and social psychology Cook, J. E., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J., Cohen, G. L. 2012; 102 (3): 479
  • Identity, belief, and bias Ideology, psychology, and law Cohen, G. L. 2012: 385-403
  • A social psychological approach to educational intervention Behavioral foundations of public policy Garcia, J., Cohen, G. 2012: 329-347
  • The effect of values affirmation on race-discordant patient-provider communication Archives of Internal Medicine Havranek, E. P., Hanratty, R., Tate, C., Dickinson, M., Steiner, J. F., Cohen, G., Blair, I. A. 2012; 172 (21): 1662-1667
  • A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students Science Walton, G. M., Cohen, G. L. 2011; 331 (6023): 1447-1451
  • Reducing narcissistic aggression by buttressing self-esteem: An experimental field study Psychological Science Thomaes, S., Bushman, B. J., de Castro, B. O., Cohen, G. L., Denissen, J. J. 2009; 20 (12): 1536-1542
  • Recursive processes in self-affirmation: Intervening to close the minority achievement gap science Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Apfel, N., Brzustoski, P. 2009; 324 (5925): 400-403
  • Identity, belonging, and achievement: A model, interventions, implications Current directions in psychological science Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J. 2008; 17 (6): 365-369
  • Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World: Lessons from Exemplary Leadership Development Programs. School Leadership Study. Final Report. Stanford Educational Leadership Institute Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M., Meyerson, D., Orr, M. T., Cohen, C. 2007
  • Bridging the partisan divide: Self-affirmation reduces ideological closed-mindedness and inflexibility in negotiation. Journal of personality and social psychology Cohen, G. L., Sherman, D. K., Bastardi, A., Hsu, L., McGoey, M., Ross, L. 2007; 93 (3): 415
  • The psychology of self‐defense: Self‐affirmation theory Advances in experimental social psychology Sherman, D. K., Cohen, G. L. 2006; 38: 183-242
  • Peer contagion of aggression and health risk behavior among adolescent males: An experimental investigation of effects on public conduct and private attitudes Child development Cohen, G. L., Prinstein, M. J. 2006; 77 (4): 967-983
  • ' I am us ': negative stereotypes as collective threats. Journal of personality and social psychology Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J. 2005; 89 (4): 566
  • Constructed criteria: Redefining merit to justify discrimination Psychological Science Uhlmann, E. L., Cohen, G. L. 2005; 16 (6): 474-480
  • Teaching cooperative learning: The challenge for teacher education Cohen, E. G., Brody, C. M., Sapon-Shevin, M. Suny Press. 2004
  • Stereotype lift Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Walton, G. M., Cohen, G. L. 2003; 39 (5): 456-467
  • Party over policy: The dominating impact of group influence on political beliefs. Journal of personality and social psychology Cohen, G. L. 2003; 85 (5): 808
  • A barrier of mistrust: How negative stereotypes affect cross-race mentoring Improving academic achievement Cohen, G. L., Steele, C. M. Elsevier. 2002: 303–327
  • When beliefs yield to evidence: Reducing biased evaluation by affirming the self Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Cohen, G. L., Aronson, J., Steele, C. M. 2000; 26 (9): 1151-1164
  • The mentor’s dilemma: Providing critical feedback across the racial divide Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Cohen, G. L., Steele, C. M., Ross, L. D. 1999; 25 (10): 1302-1318
  • Turning Point Adweek Western Edition Garcia, J. 1994; 44 (17): 6-6