History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences


Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino joined the History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences department at RISD in the fall of 2007, after completing her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Oklahoma. As RISD's first full-time psychology professor, Jennifer’s course offerings include introductory classes in psychology, as well as topics courses on a wide range of issues (e.g., Psychology of Evil, Psychology of Gender, Stereotypes and Prejudice, Gender and the Media). She is actively involved in both curricular and extracurricular initiatives to promote greater awareness of diversity issues (especially those involving gender and sexuality). In her free time, she enjoys cooking, home repair/renovation, and spending time with family.

Academic research/ areas of interest

Jennifer’s primary research explores how memberships in social groups and categories are a central part of people’s understanding of the self, and threats to these identifications can have powerful implications for people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. For example, she has investigated heterosexual men’s reactions to the possibility of being seen as gay and Democrats’ and Republicans’ reactions to the possibility of being mistaken as a member of the other party.Ultimately, she hopes this work will highlight ways to increase people’s behavioral flexibility, by allowing them to act in line with their natural inclinations, rather than rigidly adhering to unfavorable group norms.Other lines of research include investigating the links between narcissism, self-affect, and self-conscious emotions and cross-cultural reactions to social identity threats.Her work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Self and Identity, Sex Roles, and the Journal of East Asian Studies.