Print Overview
Sarah Townsend is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations and Post Doctoral Fellow at the Kellogg Team and Group Research Center. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research primarily focuses on socially and culturally constructed ideologies, such as the American Dream and meritocracy. She studies how these beliefs shape interpersonal interactions, product choice, and group identification. In addition, she uses a multi-method approach that includes behavioral observation and physiological responses (specifically hormonal and cardiovascular responses) to examine these how ideologies influence emotion and motivation. Dr. Townsend’s research has been published in academic journals including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Social Issues. She has presented her findings at the meetings of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Areas of Expertise
Print Vita
Ph.D., 2011, Social Psychology, University of California
M.A., 2007, Psychology, with distinction, University of California
B.A., 2002, Psychology and Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity, Stanford University
M.A., 2002, Psychology, Stanford University

Academic Positions
Visiting Assistant Professor, Management and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2011-present

Print Research
Research Interests
Ideological beliefs about status and inequality; Intergroup relations; The sociocultural shaping of mind and behavior; Diversity in groups and organizations; Psychophysiology and embodiment

Stephens, Nicole and Sarah Townsend. 2013. How can incentives improve the success of disadvantaged college students? Insights from the Social Sciences. Policy brief for a project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the George Washington University.
Stephens, Nicole and Sarah Townsend. 2013. Rank is not enough: Why we need a sociocultural perspective to understand social class. Psychological Inquiry. 24: 126-130.
Eliezer, D., Sarah Townsend, P. J. Sawyer, B. Major and W. B. Mendes. 2011. System-justifying beliefs moderate the relationship between perceived discrimination and resting blood pressure. Social Cognition. 29: 303-321.
Townsend, Sarah, B. Major, C. Gangi and W. B. Mendes. 2011. From “In the air” to “Under the skin:” Cortisol responses to social identity threat. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 37: 151-164.
Townsend, Sarah, B. Major, P. J. Sawyer and W. B. Mendes. 2010. Can the absence of prejudice be more threatening than its presence? It depends on one’s worldview. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 99: 933-947.
Townsend, Sarah, H. R. Markus and Hilary B. Bergsieker. 2009. My choice, your categories: The denial of multiracial identities. Journal of Social Issues. 65: 185-204.
Uchida, Y., Sarah Townsend, H. R. Markus and Hilary B. Bergsieker. 2009. Emotions as within or between people? Cultural variation in lay theories of emotion expression and emotion inference. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 35: 1427-1439.
Townsend, Sarah and Leigh Thompson. 2014. Implications of the Protestant work ethic for cooperative and mixed-motive teams.. Organizational Psychology Review. 4(1): 4-26.
Markus, H. R., Y. Uchida, H. Omoregie, Sarah Townsend and S. Kitayama. 2006. Going for the gold: American and Japanese models of Olympic agency. Psychological Science. 17: 103-112.
Stephens, NM, H. R. Markus and Sarah Townsend. 2007. Choice as an act of meaning: The case of social class. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 93: 814-830.
Book Chapters
Townsend, Sarah, D. Eliezer and B. Major. "Getting to the heart of meaning threats: Cardiovascular threat response and worldview violation." In The Psychology of Meaning, edited by K. Markman, T. Proulx, & M. Lindberg, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Major, B. and Sarah Townsend. 2010. "Coping with bias." In Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination, edited by J. F. Dovidio, M. Hewstone, P. Glick, & V. M. Esses, 410-425. Oaks, CA: Sage.
Major, B. and Sarah Townsend. 2010. "Psychological implications of attitudes and beliefs about status inequality." In Psychology of Attitudes and Attitude Change, edited by J. Forgas, J. Cooper, & W. Crano, 251-264. New York: Psychology Press.
Major, B. and Sarah Townsend. 2009. "Protestant Work Ethic." In Encyclopedia of Human Relationships, edited by H. T. Reis & S. Sprecher, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Fryberg, S. A. and Sarah Townsend. 2007. "The psychology of invisibility." In Commemorating Brown: The Social Psychology of Racism and Discrimination, edited by G. Adams, M. Biernat, N. R. Branscombe, C. S. Crandall, & L. S. Wrightsman, 173-193. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Print Teaching
Teaching Interests
Teams and groups; Managing workforce diversity; Prejudice and discrimination; Research methods and psychophysiology in organizational behavior; Leadership in organizations