Faculty Directory

Contact Information

Salisbury Laboratories, 317B
Phone: +1-508-831-6176
Fax: +1-508-831-5896

Melissa-Sue John

Although much of social psychological research focuses on the negative aspects of human behavior such as aggression, conformity, and discrimination, Professor John’s research focuses on examining ways people foster healthy intergroup relationships (e.g., friendships and collaboration) and explores factors related to virtuous behavior (e.g., altruism, egalitarian behavior, religion, and justice). In addition, rather than emphasize the gaps in achievement, tenure, and promotion of underrepresented groups (e.g., women and minorities in science), her research investigates ways to promote their advancement. In doing so, she recruits students from her courses to participate in her research program, thereby training them in experimental methods, data collection, and analysis.

Her favorite courses to teach are Social Psychology, Introduction to Psychology, and Developmental Psychology. Her teaching philosophy is that students learn best when they are engaged, believe the professor genuinely cares for them, and when the material is relevant. As such, her courses are filled with multiple activities and assessments. She takes the time to know her students’ names and areas of interest. Her favorite part of teaching is being able to watch students interact with new material and begin to understand new perspectives about human behavior and group relationships.

During her spare time, she enjoys word games like Words with Friends, Scrabble, Boggle, and Scattegories. She also enjoys traveling to new countries with friends and family, touring the sights, and learning about different cultures. She is also willing to try new things and not afraid to fall.

Research Interests

  • Academic Achievement
  • Intergroup friendships
  • Virtuous behavior


  • BA, Hunter College, 2004
  • MA, University of Connecticut, 2008
  • PhD, University of Connecticut, 2010

Featured Publications

  • Dovidio, J.F., & John, M.S. (In press). Stereotypes. Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, 2e.
  • Stroebe, K., Dovidio, J.F., Barreto, M., Ellemers, N., & John, M.S. (2011). Is the world a just place? Countering the negative consequences of pervasive discrimination by reaffirming the world as just. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50, 484–500.
  • Dovidio, J.F., Gluszek, A., John, M.S., Ditlmann, R. & Lagunes, P. (2010). Understanding bias toward Latinos:
    Discrimination, dimensions of difference, and experience of exclusion. Journal of Social Issues, 66, 59-78.
  • Stroebe, K., Dovidio, J.F., Barreto, M., Ellemers, N., & John, M.S. (2010). Dealing with discrimination: The relation between pervasiveness and well-being. Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie, 2007, 347-354. ASPO Press.
  • Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., John, M. S., Halabi, S., Saguy, T., Pearson, A. R., & Riek, B. M. (2008). Intergroup Relations for Majority and Minority Group Perspectives: Contact, Representations, Threat, and Trust. In A. Nadler, T. E. Malloy, & J. D. Fisher (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup reconciliation (pp. 227- 254). New York: Oxford Press.
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