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Paul H. White, Ph.D.

Paul H. White, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Social Psychology

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Office: 809 BEHS
Phone: 801-585-3998

Research Interests

My research interests can be placed in three "P's" of social psychology: persuasion, prejudice/ethnic issues, and performance. The question we ask can be simplified to "what motivates behavior" in these areas. In this pursuit, the three areas often overlap in our investigations.

For persuasion, the main focal points are what role does ethnicity/stigma play in persuasion and what happens when we are not motivated or able to pay attention to a message. We explore how the characteristics of the source or target of a message (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation) affects the persuasiveness and attention given to the communication. Also, we are investigating the possible differential impact that motivation and ability may have on attitude change. In addition, work is underway to investigate the phenomenon of stealing thunder as a persuasive technique and its possible limitations.

For prejudice, we examine the effects of subtle prejudice via persuasion and stereotype trait paradigms. Our main focal point is the development of models for intergroup relations that include the viewpoint of different stigmatized groups toward themselves and other such groups (e.g., African Americans relationships with Asian Americans). In addition, work is underway to explore how and why certain interactions are labeled as prejudicial.

For performance, we investigate what motivates performance and the factors that may undermine performance. We examine how evaluation by self or others influences affects performance on a task and the impact evaluation has on goal setting. Also, we explore when people may underachieve for social reasons (e.g., not hurt someone's feelings) and the role it may play in group identity/formation. In addition, research is underway to examine the effects of stereotype threat and the impact of its elimination on the performance of those considered not at risk.


Post-doc, Ohio State University (1993-1995)
Ph.D., Northeastern University (1993)
B.A., Berea College (1989)

Selected Publications

Smith, J. L., Sansone, C., & White, P. H. (in press). The stereotyped task engagement process: The role of interest and achievement motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology.

Fleming, M. A., Petty, R. E., & White, P. H. (2005). Stigmatized targets and evaluation: Prejudice as a determinant of attribute scrutiny and polarization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 496-507.

Werner, C. M., Byerly, S., White, P. H., & Kieffer, M. (2004). Validation, persuasion and recycling: Capitalizing on the social ecology of newspaper use. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 26, 183-198.

Smith, J. L., & White, P. H. (2002). An examination of implicitly activated, explicitly activated, and nullified stereotypes on mathematical performance: It's not just a female's issue. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 47, 179-191.

White, P. H., Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Croyle R. T., & Smittipatana, S. (2002). Test of socially motivated underachievement: "Letting up" for others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 162-169.

White, P. H., & Harkins, S. G. (1994). Race of source effects in the elaboration likelihood model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 790-807.

Last Updated: 6/4/21