Welcome!

I am located at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol. I conduct social psychological research that examines how and when prejudice and stereotypes develop and emerge across the lifespan.

Because of my focus on the development of intergroup relations and social cognition, my research incorporates aspects of both Social and Developmental Psychology. I take a multi-method approach to address my research questions, administering eye-tracking, reaction-time, behavioural, and questionnaire measures to both adult and child participants. By using a multi-discipline and multi-method approach I hope to advance our theoretical understanding of the automatic components that underlie social cognition, gaining a richer understanding of when and how prejudicial and stereotypical beliefs develop and when these beliefs influence behaviour toward others.

Please use the navigation bar above to learn more about this research and how to get involved.

Amanda Williams, PhD

[EMAIL] [Curriculum vitae]

Amanda Williams is a Lecturer in Psychology in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol. She received her B.A. from the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), Ed.M. from the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, Canada), her Ph.D. from York University (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Amanda has held positions as a postdoctoral researcher in the Interpersonal and Social Perception Lab at the University of Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii, United States) and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University (Sheffield, United Kingdom).

As an avid people-watcher, Amanda is fascinated by how people from diverse backgrounds interact with each other. Her research interests center on how automatically activated associations (implicit attitudes) influence the perceptions of, and subtle behaviour (e.g., visual attention, nonverbal behaviours) toward, diverse others. To gain a better understanding of how these biases emerge across the lifespan, her research incorporates aspects of both Social and Developmental Psychology.

In her spare time, Amanda enjoys experiencing new tastes, sights, and sounds with her husband Nick.

  • In my research I examine how prejudice and stereotypes emerge across (i) childhood, (ii) person perception, and (iii) interactions with diverse others. This includes designing interventions that manipulate contextual cues and personal motivations in order to improve intergroup relations across the lifespan.
  • I. The Development of Implicit Social Cognition in Childhood
  • In my primary area of research, I focus on the development of implicit social cognition in childhood. Broadly, this research has demonstrated that (a) ingroup associations are important for understanding children's implicit racial attitudes and academic stereotypes, (b) implicit racial attitudes and academic stereotypes appear to undergo developmentally-related changes across childhood, and (c) children's implicit racial attitudes are malleable and can be altered by contextual cues.
  • Current Projects: Examining the salience of social and minimal-group categories in middle childhood (Jennifer Steele, Corey Lipman); Examining the psychometric properties of child-friendly implicit measures (Jennifer Steele, Corey Lipman); Examining children's sensitivity to race-related cues; Examining the relationship between children's implicit social cognition and their nonverbal behavior during intergroup interactions.
  • II. Visual Attention During Person Perception
  • In my secondary area of research I focus on visual attention during person perception. Broadly, this research has demonstrated that (a) individuals differentially process ingroup and outgroup faces, with greater attention allocated to the eyes of ingroup faces, (b) visual processing can be altered by perceiver motivations and individual differences (e.g., identification, interdependence), and (c) differential visual processing has important consequences for intergroup relations (e.g., willingness to interact with outgroup members, intergroup trust, emotion detection).
  • Current Projects: The role of perceiver and target group identification in visual attention (Kristin Pauker, Kerry Kawakami, Justin Friesen); The perceptual salience of category cues in middle childhood (Kristin Pauker, Jennifer Steele); The implications of differential visual attention in applied settings.
  • III. Nonverbal Behaviour During Interracial Interactions
  • In my emerging line of research, I investigate the strategies that adults and children use to negotiate social interactions with diverse others (Kristin Pauker, Chanel Meyers). I am interested in whether Whites and non-Whites will endorse similar strategies during these interactions, whether these strategies are successful, and how these strategies relate to individual differences in lay theories and past experiences.

Interested in participating in this research?

Interested student and non-student adults (age 18 or older) in Bristol are invited to participate in our research. If you would like to register to be a member of our participant database, please email Dr. Williams (a.williams@bristol.ac.uk). You will receive an email if you become eligible for one of the research studies. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to contribute to research at the University of Bristol!

Potential Student Supervision

Dr. Williams will be taking on postgraduate dissertation students, PhD students, and research assistants for the 2017-2018 academic year. If you are interested in research collaborations, please email Dr. Williams (a.williams@bristol.ac.uk)

  • Office
  • Helen Wodenhouse Building, 3.09a
  • Mailing Address
  • Amanda Williams
    University of Bristol, Graduate School of Education
    Helen Wodenhouse Building
    35 Berkeley Square
    Bristol, BS8 1JA
  • Phone
  • +44 (0)117 331 4498
  • Email
  • a.williams@bristol.ac.uk

At the recent BPS Developmental and Social section conference in Manchester, I had many conversations with other early career researchers about how much we enjoyed attending the conference. Time and again, my colleagues noted that one of the main draws of attending the annual social section conferences - in addition to the outstanding research - is the supportive environment which offers us a chance to connect with peers and share our experiences. After hearing these themes emerge over and over, Dr Claire Campbell (University of Ulster) and I decided to set up an online community where early career researchers can access support and build resilience that will contribute to our continuing success in academia.

We encourage you to register for our forum (see link below) and post the experiences, challenges, and successes that you have faced when transitioning from being a PhD student to members of the academic community. Our goal is to create a safe space where we can support one another. In particular, we wish to encourage women and individuals from other minority groups to use this online community. An additional aim of this forum is to use your experiences as a foundation for creating professional development events that are tailored to meet the needs of early career women in social psychology.

Please help us in creating a vibrant online space by posting on our forum - either by generating original comments or responding to posts. If you would like to remain anonymous, just use an idiosyncratic user name when creating your account.

Claire and I look forward to seeing you online.

  • Early Career Support Forum