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Sam Sommers
Contact Info
Department of Psychology
Tufts University
Psychology Building
Room 227
Medford, MA 02155

Lab Website
Tel: 617-627-5293
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Associate Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2002


Professor Sommers is an experimental social psychologist interested in issues related to stereotyping, prejudice, and group diversity. His research focuses on two general (and often overlapping) topics: 1) race and social perception, judgment, and interaction; 2) the intersection of psychology and law. In other words, he is interested in how race impacts the way people see and interact with the world in a wide range of social settings. In recognition of this work, in 2008 he received the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence from the American Psychology-Law Society. For more details regarding publications, ongoing projects, and media coverage of his research, see his lab website.

At Tufts, Professor Sommers teaches courses in Introduction to Psychology (PSY 1), Social Psychology (PSY 13), Experimental Psychology (PSY 32), and upper-level seminars in social psychology and psychology and law. In 2007 he won the Lerman-Neubauer Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Advising at Tufts; in 2009 he was named Gerald R. Gill Professor of the Year by the Student Senate. His first book, based in large part on his popular PSY 13 course, comes out in December 2011 and is titled Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World.

Professor Sommers received his B.A. from Williams College in 1997 and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2002. He arrived at Tufts in the Fall of 2003 and currently lives in Lexington with his wife and two daughters. As demonstrated by his office decor, he has not succumbed to normative social influence while in Boston, as he continues to be an avid Yankees fan. In his free time he hits lead-off for the vaunted Psychology Department softball team, blogs about the science of everyday behavior for Psychology Today and Huffington Post, and exerts far more effort than he should digitizing Seinfeld clips for his lectures.

The Sommers Lab is always looking for motivated, responsible, and creative students to assist with research projects. Undergraduates in his lab assist with a wide range of duties, including library research, study design, participant recruitment, data collection, data coding/entry, and data analysis. Contact him directly for more information about earning course credit through a research assistant position.

Representative Publications

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