Laurie O’Brien, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor

(504) 862-3320
School of Science & Engineering
Laurie O’Brien

Education & Affiliations

Ph.D., 2002, University of Kansas


As an experimental social psychologist, I am interested in issues related to prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination, and stigma. Two questions central to my research are: (1) How do people from high status and low status groups make judgments about what constitutes prejudice? (2) What are the consequences of perceiving prejudice and discrimination for people from both high and low status groups?


3013 Percival Stern Hall

Selected Publications

O’Brien, L.T., & Merritt, S. (2022). Attributions to discrimination against Black victims in a multiracial society: Isolating the effect of perpetrator group membership. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 48(1), 120-134. 

Merritt, S., Hitti, A., Van Camp, A.R., Shaffer, E., Sanchez, M. & O’Brien, L.T. (2021). Maximizing the impact of exposure to science role models: Testing an intervention to increase science identity among adolescent girls. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 51(7), 667-682  

Moss, A., Fitzpatrick, J., & O’Brien, L.T. (2021). Attributions for atheism: Perceptions that atheism is a choice are associated with prejudice against atheists among Christians, but not Jews or nonbelievers. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 31(2), 102 – 20.  

O’Brien, L.T., Garcia, D.M., Blodorn, A., Adams, G., Gravelin, C., & Hammer, E. (2020a). An educational intervention to improve women’s academic STEM outcomes: Divergent effects on well represented vs. underrepresented minority women. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 26(2), 163–168.        

O’Brien, L.T. Bart, H., & Garcia, D.M. (2020b). Why are there so few minorities in ecology and evolutionary biology?: The roles of challenges to inclusion and sense of belonging. Social Psychology of Education, 23, 449-477.  

Moss, A., Blodorn, A., Van Camp, A., & O’Brien, L.T. (2019). Gender equality, value violations, and prejudice toward Muslims. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 22, 288-301.   

Simon, S., Moss, A., & O’Brien, L.T. (2019a). Pick your perspective: Racial-group membership and judgments of intent, harm, and discrimination. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 22, 215-232.  

Simon, S., Magaldi, M., & O’Brien, L.T. (2019b). Empathy vs. evidence: Does perspective-taking for a discrimination claimant bias judgments of institutional sexism? Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 22, 1109-1123.   

O’Brien, L.T., Hitti, A., Schaffer, E., Van Camp, A., Gilbert, P., & Henry, D.  (2017). Improving girls’ sense of fit in science: Increasing the impact of role models. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 301-309

Courses Taught

Introduction to Social Psychology: PSYC 343

Psychology of Diversity?: PSYC 3470

Social Stigma: PSYC 662

Social Psychology: PSYC 700