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Department of Psychology
University of Mississippi

Grace Rivera

Grace Rivera
Experimental Faculty
Assistant Professor

Field: Social and Personality Psychology

Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 2020
B.A., State University of New York at Geneseo, 2015

Dr. Rivera’s research is guided by an interest in how lay-theories (i.e., beliefs people hold about the way the world works) influence the way we approach life and the people around us. Lay theories are not necessarily rooted in fact and are largely shaped by our cultural context and social identities, yet can have profound impacts on individual and interpersonal outcomes (e.g., psychological well-being, decision-making, relationship satisfaction, social perceptions, and racial biases). Dr. Rivera takes an interdisciplinary approach to her three primary lines of research. For example, her work on true self beliefs is informed by insights from existential philosophy and cultural psychology, while her work on beliefs about social inequality is informed by Africana studies theories and sociological perspectives. Finally, in a third line of research that investigates beliefs about virtuous character traits, she draws on philosophical and developmental theories about virtue development, parenting practices, and child-parent relationships.

Research Areas:

  • Psychological and Interpersonal Consequences of lay theories about both individuals and systems
  • Relationships between true self beliefs and psychological well-being, decision-making, social perceptions
  • Meritocracy beliefs and social perceptions, racial biases, biased decision making
  • Heritability beliefs and parenting, parent-child relationships, child outcomes
  • Cultural Psychology
  • Existential Psychology

Google Scholar Link  

Courses Taught:

  • PSY 201 – Introduction to Psychology
  • PSY 321 – Social Psychology
  • PSY 340 – Multicultural Psychology

Dr. Rivera does not plan to accept a graduate student for the 2024-2025 academic year.