Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Group Identity and Social Perception Lab


Jonathan Cook
Associate Professor,
Department of Psychology

Jason Qian
Graduate Student

Samantha Stevens
Graduate Student

Join the Lab

If you are interested in joining the lab as a research assistant or as a postdoctoral researcher, visit the Get Involved page for further information.

News and Events


In a new paper in PSPB led by GISP alumnus, Hyun Joon Park, we assessed undergraduate students' cortisol levels at the beginning and end of four classes around the first exam in a gateway STEM course. Because students reported the class to be stressful, we thought that their cortisol levels might increase in each class and as the exam approached. Instead, cortisol levels declined within classes and across classes. We also thought higher cortisol responses might predict worse performance. Instead, they predicted better performance and a greater likelihood of taking the next course in the sequence - but only for members of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups.

As part of the 2023 APS Annual Convention, Jonathan will be a discussant at the symposium, Fostering Equity, Executive Functions, and Math Conceptual Understanding: A Multi-Year Intervention with Black and Latinx Middle School Students, on Friday, May 26th from 10:30–11:50 AM at the Washington Hilton.

Jonathan gave the keynote address at the Spring 2023 Psychology Department Conference at Connecticut College, speaking on Identifying Psychological Risks to Promote Student Success in Higher Education.

Congrats to Dr. Samantha Stevens, who on May 8, 2023 successfully defended her dissertation, A Longitudinal Inquiry into Ph.D. Student Experiences and How Social-Psychological Interventions Differentially Predict Performance and Psychological Outcomes!

GISP lab manager, Michael Ruiz, is a co-author on an article published in PNAS showing that discipline incidents escalate during the school year among middle school students, with the rate increasing more quickly for Black students, especially in schools that have a high degree of racial disparity early in the year.

Congrats to Kevin Wang, who graduated in May 2023 after having successfully completed an honor's thesis with Jonathan, entitled, Belongingness in Graduate School: The Effect of Belonging on the Relationship Between Advisor Trust and Burnout!

Jonathan presented on January 21st on Inclusion in STEM as part of the American Physical Society’s Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (APS CUWiP) at Penn State!

The GISP Lab welcomes Michael Ruiz, who joins us as our new lab manager!

In a new open-access paper published in PLoS ONE, Samantha, Jonathan, and our collaborators used latent class analysis to identify Ph.D. students experiencing psychological threats at the start of their doctoral education who may be at greater risk of dropping out.

Thanks to all who attended the Psychology Department's virtual info night on 10/12 and joining Jonathan, Samantha, and Nathaniel Schermerhorn who led a discussion about career paths and applying to getting a Ph.D. in social psychology.

A new paper from the GISP lab, led by Hyun Joon and published online-first in the Journal of Social Issues, shows that lower-SES Ph.D. students experience higher amounts of social disconnection in graduate school, both from academic colleagues and from their friends and family of origin.

The GISP lab welcomes Fall 2022 RAs - Taryn Green, Lorin Harris, Kaden Litzinger, Patrick Marquet, Alex Olper, Mariana Rodrigues, & Kevin Wang. We appreciate your contributions to our research!

The GISP lab is excited to work with Kevin Wang, a Schreyer Scholar who will be conducting his undergraduate honors thesis with Jonathan during the 2022-2023 academic year.

Our best wishes and congratulations to former GISP lab member, Mikey Pasek, who is starting this fall as Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Illinois, Chicago!

Congrats to Dr. Hyun Joon Park who became in August 2022 the third member of the GISP lab to earn a Ph.D. We are excited for Dr. Park's transition to his new role as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College.

Congratulations and a fond farewell to Nicole Horner, who is leaving her role as GISP lab manager for the past two years to begin as a Ph.D. student in social psychology at Princeton University! Congrats, Nicole! We'll miss you!

Congrats to Dr. Peter Ruberton, who is leaving his position as a postdoctoral scholar with the GISP lab to start a new role as a behavioral researcher for Edward Jones. We are very appreciative for Peter's scholarship and collegiality and wish him the best of luck moving forward.

Congrats to Hyun Joon who successfully defended his dissertation!

Congrats to Samantha, who passed her comprehensive exam and is now ABD (all but dissertation). We're proud of you!

Samantha received a 2021-2022 Matthew Ryan Serafino Graduate Scholarship from the Psychology Department! The award recognizes outstanding performance by a psychology graduate student. Congrats, Sam!

Congratulations to our graduating undergraduate research assistants, Varun Rajan & Jessica Sunds! Thanks for your work in the lab and good luck in your future careers!

Jonathan contributes a section on practical, theoretical, and methodological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on social stigma in a new article in Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Peter gave the talk, Belonging Intervention Mitigates Daily Psychological Threats Among Female PhD Students, at #SPSP2022 as part of a symposium organized by Jonathan and Peter on the social psychology of doctoral education.

Hyun Joon gave a talk on Academic Integration and Interpersonal Disconnection Among Lower SES Ph.D. Students at #SPSP2022 as part of a symposium organized by Jonathan and Peter on the social psychology of doctoral education.

Jason presented his poster, Concealment Predicts Straight Men’s Honesty Assessments of Sexual Minority Men, co-authored with Jonathan, at #SPSP2022!

Samantha gave a talk on Using Latent Class Analysis to Predict Doctoral Student Attrition Risk at #SPSP2022 as part of a symposium organized by Jonathan and Peter on the social psychology of doctoral education.

Jonathan gave a talk on the Psychology of Incoming Ph.D. Students by Race, Gender, & SES at #SPSP2022 as part of a symposium organized by Jonathan and Peter on the social psychology of doctoral education.

Congrats to Jason on successfully defending his comprehensive exam. You're ABD!