University of Pittsburgh

Kevin R. Binning, Ph. D. ill_1

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Download CV

Welcome.

We all spend immense effort trying to understand why people do the things they do. Why did my spouse leave that dish on the table? Why do Democrats support the war in Syria? Why didn’t I do my homework? Social psychologists such as myself seek general answers to the riddles of human behavior. Using formal methods of inquiry such as experimentation, we aim to predict people’s future behavior and, eventually, to try to change that behavior.


Most of my research seeks to change people’s behavior in two domains: politics and education. In the political realm, I study ways of reducing partisanship and conformity. In the education realm, I study ways of improving the academic performance of students who are at risk for underperformance. Through all of my work runs the idea that people’s membership in particular groups (e.g., “Democrat” or “Latino American”) makes them predictable. For example, people feel implicit pressure to go along with salient group norms, even when the norms are wrong or destructive. People are built to have fundamental concerns about belonging and status in their social groups, so much so that going against a group’s norms – which describe and proscribe the appropriate behaviors for group members - can be like going against a part of yourself. My work has sought to use these and other insights about social psychology to change behavior in socially constructive ways.

Publications - Under construction

Sherman, D. K., Hartson, K. A., Binning, K. R., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J., Taborsky-Barba, S., Tomassetti, S., Nussbaum, A. D., & Cohen, G. L. (2013). Deflecting the trajectory and changing the narrative: How self-affirmation affects academic performance and motivation under identity threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/a0031495 Download PDF

Binning, K. R., & Unzueta, M. M. (2013). Perceiving ethnic diversity on campus: Group differences in attention to hierarchical representation. Social and Personality Psychology Science. DOI: 10.1177/1948550612459771 Download PDF

Binning, K. R., & Huo, Y. J. (2012). Understanding status as a social resource. In K. Tornblom and A. Kazemi (Eds.), Handbook of Social Resource Theory, (pp. 133-147). New York: Springer. Download PDF

Unzueta, M. M., & Binning, K. R. (2012). Diversity is in the eye of the beholder: How concern for the ingroup affects perceptions of organizational diversity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 26-38. Download PDF

Binning, K. R., & Sherman, D. K. (2011). Categorization and communication in the face of prejudice: When describing perceptions changes what is perceived. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 321-336. Download PDF

Binning, K. R., Sherman, D. K., Cohen, G. L., & Heitland, K. (2010). Seeing the other side: Reducing political partisanship via self-affirmation in the 2008 presidential election. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 10, 276-292. Abstract Download PDF

Huo, Y. J., Binning, K. R., & Molina, L. E. (2010). Testing an integrative model of respect: Implications for social engagement and well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 200-212. Abstract Download PDF

Huo, Y. J., Molina, L. E., Binning, K. R., Funge, S. (2010). Subgroup respect, social engagement, and well-being: A field study of an ethnically diverse high school. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16, 427-436. Download PDF

Unzueta, M. M., & Binning, K. R. (2010) Which racial groups are associated with diversity? Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16, 443-446. Download PDF

Huo, Y. J., Binning, K. R., & Molina, L. E. (2010). The interplay between fairness and the experience of respect: Implications for group life. In B. Mannix, M. Neale, & E. Mullen (Eds.), Research on Managing Groups and Teams: Fairness in Groups (Vol. 13; pp. 95-120.). Bingley, UK: Emerald. Abstract

Binning, K. R., Unzueta, M. M., Huo, Y. J., & Molina, L. E. (2009). The interpretation of multiracial status and its relation to social engagement and psychological well-being. Journal of Social Issues, 65, 35-49. Abstract Download PDF

Huo, Y. J., & Binning, K. R. (2008). Why the psychological experience of respect matters in group life: An integrative account. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 1570-1585. Abstract Download PDF

Binning, K. R. (2007). "It's us against the world": How distrust in Americans versus people-in-general shapes competitive foreign policy preferences. Political Psychology, 28, 777-799. Abstract Download PDF


*Note: Papers are copyrighted material and may be downloaded for personal use only.