Geoff Cohen is Professor of Psychology and the James G. March Professor of Organizational Studies in Education and Business at Stanford University. He earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University. Much of Dr. Cohen’s research examines processes related to identity maintenance and their implications for social problems. One primary aim of his 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 his 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 his belief that a useful way to understand psychological processes and social systems is to try to change them. Dr. Cohen is also 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 his 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.