Research interests: Intergroup bias, emotion, cognitive and affective neuroscience
Mina Cikara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and director of the Intergroup Neuroscience Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Policy from Princeton University in 2010 and completed a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Before arriving to Harvard she was an Assistant Professor of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University (2012-2014).
Professor Cikara studies how the mind, brain, and behavior change when the social context shifts from “me and you” to “us and them.” She focuses primarily on how group membership, competition, and prejudice disrupt the processes that allow people to see others as human and to empathize with others. She uses a wide range of tools—standard laboratory experiments, implicit and explicit behavioral measures, fMRI and psychophysiology—to examine failures of empathy, dehumanization, and misunderstanding between groups. She is equally interested in the behavioral consequences of these processes: discrimination, conflict, and harm. She tweets about psychology and neuroscience @profcikara.