skip to main content

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 beliefs are not necessarily rooted in fact and are largely shaped by our cultural context and social identities, yet can have profound impacts on various individual and interpersonal outcomes (e.g., psychological well-being, decision-making, social perceptions, racial biases, and relationship satisfaction). Dr. Rivera takes an interdisciplinary approach to her three primary lines of research. For example, her work on lay beliefs about true selves is informed by insights from existential philosophy and cultural psychology, while her work on lay beliefs about American meritocracy is informed by Africana studies theories and sociological perspectives. Finally, in a third line of research that investigates lay beliefs about the heritability of 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

Courses Taught:

  • PSY 201

Dr. Rivera plans to accept a graduate student for the 2021-2022 academic year.