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Sarah Lamer

Sarah Lamer
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Denver (20169)

Phone: (865) 974-4797

Keywords: stereotyping, gender, social development, visual perception, race, nonverbal behavior

Research Interests

Research Statement
People are often evaluated on their social group identities, such as their gender, sexual orientation, or race. There are enormous consequences for group-based biases such as these including legal policies that disadvantage certain groups, differences in medical treatments prescribed to patients, and even inequities in hiring and promotion. Indeed, volumes of research in social psychology have established that group biases influence how people evaluate and interact with each other. Yet much less is known about the cultural and social mechanisms by which these biases are learned. My program of research examines how people may develop beliefs about essentialism, stereotypes, and group norms as a function of patterns typical to their social environments. For example, I have examined how patterns of vertical location present in magazines may transmit gender stereotypes (see Lamer & Weisbuch, 2019, & Lamer, Weisbuch, & Sweeny, 2017), how patterns of emotion in Instagram images may transmit race essentialism (see Lamer, Sweeny, Dyer, & Weisbuch, 2018), and how patterns of nonverbal behavior on children's television may transmit beliefs about how girls and boys should behave (Lamer et al., in prep). 

Future work in the Social Perception and Cognition (SPĀC) lab will examine these and other mechanisms of belief transmission in both child and adult samples.  We focus on identifying social-cognitive precursors to inequality and therefore employ a variety of tools to provide clear answers to these questions including psychophysics, reaction-time tasks, eye-tracking, meta-analysis, and statistical modeling.  Please see the SPĀC lab website ( for more information about our research.  

If you are an undergraduate student interested in getting research experience, see  

Dr. Lamer is interested in taking graduate students for Fall 2020.

  • Harry Gollob Research Award for Best Graduate Publication (2018)
    University of Denver
  • Summer Institute for Social and Personality Psychology (2017)
    Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • Diversity Fund Travel Award (2016)
    Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • Department Service Award  (2014 & 2016)
    University of Denver


  • Florence Geis Memorial Award (Fall 2018-Spring 2019)
    APA Division 35 (Psychology of Women)
  • Doctoral Fellowship for Inclusive Engagement (Fall 2013-Spring 2018)
    University of Denver
  • Graduate Research Fellowship (Fall 2014-Summer 2017)
    National Science Foundation
  • Lawrence Miller Memorial Fund Fellowship (Summer 2015)
    University of Denver
  • Partners in Scholarship Summer Research Grant, Mentor (Summer 2014 – Summer 2017)
    University of Denver

Lamer, S. A. & Weisbuch, M. (in press).  Men over women: The social transmission of gender stereotypes through spatial elevation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.  Link

Pauker, K., Brey, E., Lamer, S. A. & Weisbuch, M. (2019). Cultural snapshots: A method to capture cultural contexts in children’s development. In J. Benson (Ed.), Advances in Child Development and Behavior (Vol. 56). New York, NY: Elsevier. Google Book

Lamer, S. A., Sweeny, T. D., Dyer, M. L., & Weisbuch, M. (2018). Rapid visual perception of interracial crowds: Racial category learning from emotional segregation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147, 683-701. doi:10.1037/xge0000443

Lamer, S. A., Weisbuch, M., & Sweeny, T. D. (2017). Spatial cues distort the visual perception of gender. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 1366-1371. doi:10.1037/xge0000339

Weisbuch, M., Lamer, S. A., Treinen, E., & Pauker, K. (2017). Cultural snapshots: Theory and method. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11 (9), 1-21. doi:10.1111/spc3.12334

Chrisler, J.C. & Lamer, S. A. (2016). Gender, Definitions of, in ‘The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies’, edited by Nancy A. Naples, vol. III, 966-968. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. doi:10.1002/9781118663219.wbegss171

Lamer, S. A., Reeves, S. L., & Weisbuch, M. (2015). The nonverbal environment of self-esteem: Interactive effects of facial-expression and eye-gaze on perceivers’ self-evaluations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56, 130-138. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2014.09.010

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