My primary research interests are stigma and prejudice. I have studied these topics from both the perpetrators' and targets' perspectives. My research focuses on several interrelated topics: how stigma puts individuals at risk for experiencing threats to their social identity, how ideologies that legitimize status differences between groups affect outcomes such as personal entitlement and well-being, and how people perceive prejudice and discrimination both perpetrated by and directed at the self. These three lines of research explore the interface between the self and prejudice. Collectively, they demonstrate how being either a target or perpetrator of prejudice can challenge one’s sense of self-worth.
I am also interested more broadly in the psychology of legitimacy. For example, I have studied how people seek to undermine the legitimacy of parties attempting to change the social hierarchy. From a functional perspective, my various lines of research share a common interest in the processes that create, perpetuate, and legitimize group differences in social status.
- Adams, G., O’Brien, L. T., & Nelson, J. C. (2006). Perceptions of racism in hurricane Katrina: A liberation psychology analysis. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy, 6, 215-235.
- Adams, G., Thomas, T. E. R., & O’Brien, L. T. (2006). The effect of self-affirmation on attributions of racism. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 616-626.
- Blodorn, A., & O’Brien, L.T. (2011). Perceptions of racism in Hurricane Katrina-related events: Implications for collective guilt and mental health among White Americans. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy, 11, 127-140.
- Blodorn, A., O’Brien, L.T., & Kordys, J. (2012). Responding to sex-based discrimination: Gender differences in perceived discrimination and implications for legal decision making. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 15, 409-424.
- Crandall, C. S., Eshleman, A., & O’Brien, L. T. (2002). Social norms and the expression of prejudice: The struggle for internalization. Journal for Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 359-378.
- Hummert, M. L., Garstka, T. A., O’Brien, L. T., Greenwald, A. G., & Mellot, D. S. (2002). Age differences in implicit social perceptions: Analysis and interpretation of response latencies. Psychology and Aging, 17, 482-495.
- Kaiser, C. R., Drury, B., Spalding, K. E., Cheryan, S., & O’Brien, L. T. (2009). The ironic consequences of Obama’s election on support for remedying racial injustice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 556-559.
- Major, B. N., Kaiser, C. K., O’Brien, L. T., & McCoy, S. K. (2007). Fairing well in an unfair world: How worldviews moderate the impact of perceived discrimination on self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1068-1086.
- Major, B. N., & O’Brien, L. T. (2005). The social psychology of stigma. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 393-421.
- O’Brien, L. T., Blodorn, A., Alsbrooks, A., Dube, R., Adams, G., & Nelson, J. C. (2009). Understanding White Americans’ perceptions of racism in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 12, 431-444.
- O’Brien, L. T., & Crandall, C. S. (2005). Perceiving self-interest: Power, ideology, and maintenance of the status quo. Social Justice Research, 18, 1-24.
- O’Brien, L. T., & Crandall, C. S. (2003). Stereotype threat and arousal: Effects on women’s math performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 782-789.
- O’Brien, L. T., Crandall, C. S., Horstman-Reser, A., Warner, R., Alsbrooks, A., & Blodorn, A. (2010). But I’m no bigot: How prejudiced Americans maintain unprejudiced self-images. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 917-946.
- O’Brien, L. T., Garcia, D. G., Crandall, C. S., & Kordys, J. (2010). White Americans’ opposition to affirmative action: Group interest and the harm to beneficiaries objection. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 895-903.
- O'Brien, L. T., & Hummert, M. L. (2006). Self-stereotyping, stereotype threat, and memory performance in middle-aged adults. Social Cognition, 24, 338-358.
- O’Brien, L. T., Kinias, Z., & Major, B. N. (2008). How status and stereotypes impact attributions to discrimination: The stereotype-asymmetry hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 405-412.
- O’Brien, L. T., & Major, B. N. (2005). System justifying beliefs and psychological well-being: The roles of group status and identity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1718-1729.
- O’Brien, L. T., Major, B. N., & Gilbert, P. N. (2012). Gender differences in entitlement: The roles of system justifying beliefs. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34, 136-145.
- O’Brien, L. T., Major, B., & Simon, S. (2012). Why did you choose him over me? Outgroup favoritism and attributions to discrimination. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1225-1233.
- O’Brien, L. T., Mars, D., & Eccleston, C. P. (2011). System justifying ideologies and academic outcomes among first-year Latino college students. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17, 406-414.
Department of Psychology
2007 Percival Stern Hall
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
- Phone: (504) 862-3320
- Fax: (504) 862-8744