Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino

on sabbatical academic year 2021/22

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino is a social psychologist who offers introductory classes in psychology (Intro, Social) as well as courses on a wide range of issues (for example, Psychology of Evil, Positive Psychology, Stereotypes and Prejudice, Gender and the Media, Self and Identity). She hopes her classes help students reflect on their own lives and work, including how course concepts apply to everyday experiences. She has been very active with institutional service, by serving as HPSS department head (2016–20), HPSS concentration coordinator (2011–16), vice president of the Fulltime Faculty Association (2016–present), as well as a member of the Social Equity Action Workgroup and the Taskforce on Faculty Roles and Responsibilities.

Prewitt-Freilino’s primary research explores the power of social identity and role norms generally (and gender and parental status in particular) to powerfully shape how we think about ourselves, behave and speak. Given how memberships in social groups and categories are a central part of people’s understanding of the self, her work has explored how threats to these identifications can have powerful implications for people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. She has also investigated the gendering of language and its link to gender inequality, both in terms of larger language systems as well as how men and women speak in everyday life and how such speech differences may contribute to status hierarchies. She is currently exploring the experience of identity transitions, both in terms of its subjective experience as well as the interpersonal, social and economic/political consequences of shifting from one social identity to another. In addition, she would like to begin new lines of work to explore the role of social media in formation and maintenance of social identity and adherence to group-based norms and ideologies. Her work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Self and Identity, Sex Roles, Group Processes and Intergroup Relations and the Journal of East Asian Studies.

In her free time, she likes to spend time with her best friend and wife, Polly, and their daughter, Lillie. She enjoys traveling, being with friends and cooking/baking.