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The Black Scholar Series: Dr. Sa-kiera “Kiera” Hudson

Dr. Kiera Hudson

We welcome our fourth and final speaker for the 2023-2024 Academic Year, Dr. Sa-kiera “Kiera” Hudson, an Assistant Professor at University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business in the Management of Organizations (MORS) group. She started her journey by completing a BA in Biology and Psychology from Williams College, doing a thesis under the guidance of Dr. Jennifer Randall Crosby on subjective power’s role in predicting the desires of in-group and out-group members. After college, she spent two transformative years as a lab manager for Dr. Jenessa Shapiro in the Social Interaction and Social Stigma Lab at UCLA. She completed her PhD in 2020 in the (social) psychology department at Harvard University under the guidance of Dr. Jim Sidanius, Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, and Dr. Mina Cikara. Before starting her faculty position, she held an NSF postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University working with Dr. Jennifer Richeson and Dr. Michael Kraus.

Kiera studies hierarchies: How hierarchies are formed, how they are maintained, and how they intersect. To answer these questions, she focuses on the role of i) empathic and spiteful emotions in supporting intergroup harm, ii) group stereotypes in the experience and perception of prejudice, and iii) motivated reasoning in justifying unequal societal conditions. In her first line of work, she focuses on emotion as a mechanism for maintaining hierarchy and inequality. Although research examining the importance of emotion in intergroup conflict has primarily centered inducing empathy to promote prosocial intergroup behaviors, lacking empathy is insufficient to motivate deeply harmful intergroup behaviors seen across social conflicts. In her work, she has added feeling schadenfreude (i.e., feeling positively in response to another person’s pain) in conjunction with the absence of empathy as dual contributors to group oppression. Further, she includes social dominance orientation —a measure of the extent to which individuals prefer group-based inequality—as a relevant antecedent to empathy, schadenfreude, and intergroup conflict more broadly.

Her second line of work examines stereotyping as a mechanism of hierarchy maintenance. She examines the nature of descriptive (what groups are like) and prescriptive (what groups should be like) stereotypes at the intersections of multiple social identities. Specifically, her work exposes the role of prototypicality biases—assuming people are male (androcentrism), White (Eurocentrism), and straight (heterocentrism)—on the stereotypes people hold of intersectional targets. Finally, in her third line of work, she examines the hierarchy-reinforcing myth that social progress is a natural and inevitable consequence of the passage of time, which can lead individuals to believe there has been significantly more progress in achieving racial equality than what is supported by evidence. For example, this belief in racial progress leads individuals to underestimate how large the racial income and wealth gaps currently are in the United States.

Kiera also focuses on making psychological and behavioral science more equitable, dedicating time and effort to mentorship and service.


Tuesday, April 16, 2024
11:00 – 12:30 PM CT
Main Lecture: The Divergence Between Descriptive and Normative Expectations for Gay Men and Lesbian Women

Previous research has shown people hold an implicit gender inversion assumption regarding descriptive stereotypes of gay men and lesbian women. More specifically, people believe that the hobbies and preferences of gay men are similar to straight women while lesbian women are similar to straight men. However, what is not well understood is whether gender inversion assumptions also underlie normative perceptions of what gay men and lesbian women should do and be. Across several studies we show a divergence between descriptive and prescriptive stereotypes, as gender inversion does not adequately explain what traits people believed were desired of gay men and lesbian women. The data suggest that individuals do not generally differentiate gay men and lesbian women based on gender the same way gender is used to differentiate straight men and women. Instead, gay men and lesbian women are assumed to exhibit low status, and incompetent, traits and abilities in gendered domains.

12:45 – 1:45 PM CT
Affinity Session: 
The Affinity Session provides the opportunity for Black students, staff, and faculty to come together in community with each other and the visiting scholar to collectively reflect on their realities of being Black and in the field of psychology.

3:00 – 4:00 PM CT
Special Session: Balancing Work and Life In Spaces not Built for You

Today I want to have a conversation about how to pursue our scholarly goals without sacrificing your sense of self. It’s important for all scholars, but it’s even more important when you have to manage these tensions as a minoritized person within academia. I am first going to talk about the difference between approaching work-life balance like juggling or cooking. Next, I am going to talk about barriers to balance, and in particular one big one, imposter syndrome. However, there are two types and we often only hear one form articulated. Then we are going to talk about overcoming barriers to imposter syndrome through rejecting many of the norms of academia that were created for only one type of scholar. Finally, I am going to end with more of a broad overview on how to approach planning.

**Zoom Auto Transcription is provided for virtual attendees. If you require a Live Transcriptionist, please email Dr. Loretta Hsueh ( or Dr. Dennis Sparta (