Sophie Trawalter headshot
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Sophie Trawalter

Associate Professor
Unit: Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
Department: Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy
Office location and address
Garrett L004B
485 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Education
Ph.D. in Psychological & Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College
M.A. in Psychological & Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College
B.A. in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
B.S. in Mathematics, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Biography

I’m an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology. I study phenomena related to social diversity. Specifically, I examine how people navigate intergroup contact and intergroup contexts. I am especially interested in how people develop competencies and learn to thrive in diverse spaces.

In one line of research, I investigate stress and coping responses to interracial contact. Within this line of research, I examine people’s short-term behavioral and physiological responses to interracial contact as well as longer-term, health-relevant physiological changes in response to diversity experiences. Other lines of research explore people’s ability to detect discrimination accurately and the social ecology of privilege. Ultimately, the aim of this work is to develop constructive strategies to cope with the challenges of diversity in organizations, public arenas, and private spaces. In time, such strategies may reduce intergroup tensions and improve outcomes for both traditionally stigmatized and non-stigmatized group members.

Provost-UVA-ADVANCE IT
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate For Ed. & Human Resources
October 01, 2012 – September 30, 2019
PPOL 3100: Foundations of Behavioral Science
Credits: 3
An overview of the fields of social psychology and behavioral science. We will explore behavioral research in basic social psychology, leadership and organizational behavior, and the ways in which social science methods and research are currently being used in public policy and to solve major societal problems. The ultimate goal is to teach students how to think like behavioral scientists.
LPPL 3100: Foundations of Behavioral Science
Credits: 3
An overview of the fields of social psychology and behavioral science. We will explore behavioral research in basic social psychology, leadership and organizational behavior, and the ways in which social science methods and research are currently being used in public policy and to solve major societal problems. The ultimate goal is to teach students how to think like behavioral scientists.
PPOL 3260: Value and Bias in Public Policy
Credits: 3
This course moves beyond the traditional economic approach to public policy and explores the role of psychological analysis. Decision-making is not always rational, but involves various cognitive biases that can result in mistrust and prejudice, preference for avoidance of loss rather than maximization of gain, and overweighting of short-term outcomes.
LPPL 3260: Value and Bias in Public Policy
Credits: 3
This course moves beyond the traditional economic approach to public policy and explores the role of psychological analysis. Decision-making is not always rational, but involves various cognitive biases that can result in mistrust and prejudice, preference for avoidance of loss rather than maximization of gain, and overweighting of short-term outcomes.
PSYC 3590: Research in Psychology
Credits: 2–3
An original experimental project is undertaken in which each student is responsible for the design and operation of the experiment. S/U grading. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: 14 credits of psychology and instructor permission.
PSYC 4970: Distinguished Major Thesis
A two-semester course in which the student prepares a thesis under the supervision of a departmental faculty member. The thesis may be based on empirical research conducted by the student or a critical review or theoretical analysis of existing findings. Prerequisite: Participants in the Distinguished Majors Program in Psychology. Enrollment Requirement: You are required to register for PSYC 3870.
PSYC 4980: Distinguished Major Thesis
Credits: 6
A two-semester course in which the student prepares a thesis under the supervision of a departmental faculty member. The thesis may be based on empirical research conducted by the student or a critical review or theoretical analysis of existing findings. Prerequisite: Participants in the Distinguished Majors Program in Psychology.
PPOL 4993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–6
Independent study in the field of public policy and leadership.
LPPL 5035: Leading and Managing Diverse Groups
Credits: 3
This course will focus on interpersonal, organizational, and societal factors leaders must negotiate to lead effectively in socially diverse environments. Students will be exposed to cases and empirical research that will enable them to (1) develop well-articulated positions on diversity-related issues and (2) form strategies to promote sustainable settings for productive exchange among diverse groups of individuals.
PSYC 6745: Stigma and Social Disparities
Credits: 3
Introduces classic and contemporary theory and research on the social psychology of stigma, primarily from the perspective of the stigmatized. Topics include stigma's origin and nature, stigma and self-concept, stereotype threat, attributional ambiguity, stigma and social interaction, and implications of stigma for education, health, and life attainment more generally. Provides an overview of this area of psychology and its policy implications.
PSYC 7600: Social Psychology
Credits: 3
Surveys the major empirical and theoretical concepts in social psychology.
LPPP 7993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–6
Student will perform independent projects under close faculty supervision.
PSYC 8998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Thesis
Credits: 1–12
For master's research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.
PSYC 9501: Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
Independent laboratory research undertaken with advisor. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory and can be repeated. Instructor permission required.
PSYC 9502: Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
Independent laboratory research undertaken with advisor. Graded and can be repeated. Instructor permission required.
PSYC 9998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.
PSYC 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.