Tri-College Psychology Colloquium Speaker to Examine 'Social Class, Models of Agency, and Choice'

For Immediate Release:  March 30, 2006
Contact:  Marsha Nishi Mullan     
610-328-8535      
http://www.swarthmore.edu/news/

Tri-College Psychology Colloquium Speaker
to Examine 'Social Class, Models of Agency, and Choice'

A Tri-College Colloquium will be presented at Swarthmore College by noted cultural psychologist Hazel Markus of Stanford University on Tuesday, April 18.  The colloquium, "It's a Free Country:  Social Class, Models of Agency, and Choice," will be presented at 4:15 p.m. in the Science Center, Room 101.  The colloquium is sponsored by the Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore College Psychology Departments and is free and open to the public.

Markus will examine the hypothesis that American middle and working class contexts differ in their prevalent models of agency; i.e., in the implicit frameworks of ideas and practices of "how to be" that guide action.  Using surveys, experiments, and analyses of cultural products, Markus will discuss the implications for freedom and choice in education, voting, and health care. 

Hazel Markus is one of the founders and leading figures in a new area of psychological research called "cultural psychology," which examines and documents how cultural influences penetrate and shape the deepest and most fundamental of psychological processes.  Her extensive research on the psychological processes of Westerners and East Asians has had a profound effect on how we think about culture and psychology.  In this talk she will apply the same insights and analytic tools to the investigation of psychological effects of differences in social class.

Markus has been a professor of psychology at Stanford University since 1994.  Prior to that she was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan and was a research scientist at the Institute for Social Research.  She has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals and study sections at both the National Institute of Mental Health and National Science Foundation.  She is a fellow of the American Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association.  She is also a member of the McArthur Research Network on Successful Midlife Development.  She was elected to the National Academy of the Arts and Sciences in 1995 and was named the Davis-Brack Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.