I'm interested in how, when, and why we sort the world into social categories. Much of my work has focused on racial and social class categories--asking when children first notice a relationship between social class and race and the impact this recognition has on their subsequent behaviors and beliefs. More recently, I've begun work to better understand cases where our own social categorization is at odds with other people's perceptions of our social category. This work has focused on identity in transgender youth.
In addition to this primary line of work, I have a secondary interest in the origins and development of prosocial behavior. Why and when do we engage in actions that benefit others? This line of work utilizes the methods and theories of behavioral economics, social psychology, and developmental psychology.
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- Dunham, Y., & Olson, K. R. (2008). The importance of origins: Why cognitive development is central to a mature understanding of social cognition. The Open Psychology Journal, 1, 59-65.
- Olson, K.R., Banaji, M. R., Dweck, C. S., & Spelke, E. S. (2006). Children’s bias against lucky vs. unlucky people and their social groups. Psychological Science, 17, 845-846.
- Olson, K. R., Dunham, Y., Dweck, C.S., Spelke, E. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2008). Judgments of the lucky across development and culture. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 757-776.
- Olson, K. R., & Dweck, C. S. (2009). Social cognitive development: A new look. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 60-65.
- Olson, K. R., & Dweck, C. S. (2008). A blueprint for social cognitive development. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 193-202.
- Olson, K. R., Dweck, C. S., Spelke, E. S., & Banaji, M. R. (in press). Children’s responses to group-based inequalities: Perpetuation and rectification. Social Cognition.
- Olson, K.R., Lambert, A. J., & Zacks, J. M. (2004). Graded structure and the speed of category verification: On the moderating effects of anticipatory control for social vs. nonsocial categories. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 239-246.
- Olson, K. R., & Spelke, E. S. (2008). Foundations of cooperation in preschool children. Cognition, 108, 222-231.
- Olson, K. R., & Dunham, Y. (in press). The development of implicit social cognition. In B. Gawronski & B. K. Payne (Eds.), Handbook of Implicit Social Cognition. Guilford Press.
- Contemporary Issues in Psychology: Intensive Cross-Level Analyses
- Instructional Styles in Psychology
- Introduction to Psychology
- Psychology of Race: Theories, Politics, and Controversies
- Social Cognitive Development
- Social Psychology of Gender and Sexual Orientation
Department of Psychology
Seattle, Washington 98103
- Phone: (206)616-1371