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Dr. Jason Okonofua is a social psychologist in the Psychology Department at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Okonofua is interested in science-based and scalable strategies to combat inequity in society. This work spans contexts such as education, criminal justice, and business. It investigates how negative stereotypes can contribute to disparities in life outcomes and how that process can be dismantled. For example, some of his research in education investigates how the effects of one person’s stereotyping and another person’s threat reverberate and escalate over time. He asks how stereotypes about stigmatized children can shape how they interact with teachers, administrators, and police officers. He also develops theory-based psychological interventions that protect teacher-student relationships from the deleterious effects of stigma and bias. Dr. Okonofua's work is situated to inform psychological theory, field experimentation, and public policy.
Research interests: stereotyping, threat, scalable psychological intervention, bias, behavioral science, education, criminal justice.
Department of Psychology
University of California
2121 Berkeley Way West
Berkeley, California 94704
Primary e-mail: email@example.com
Assistant Professor, Psychology Department
University of California, Berkeley, CA 2016-present
Post Doctoral Researcher, Psychology Department
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 2015-2016
Ph.D. in psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Advisers: Dr. Gregory Walton & Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt
B.A. in psychology and African American studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Advisers: Dr. Jennifer Richeson & Dr. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale June 2008
Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 2018
People's Choice Award,
Distinguished Scholar Award,
Stanford University, Vice Provost of Graduate Education, 2015
Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence,
Stanford University, Black Community Services Center, 2015
Graduate Research Opportunity Award,
Stanford University, School of Humanities and Science, 2013
Diversity Travel Award,
Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), 2013
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award,
Stanford University, Psychology One Program, 2011
First Runner-up Graduate Research Poster Award,
Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), 2010
William H. Exum Award for scientific paper,
Northwestern University, Sociology Department, 2008
Northwestern University, Institute for Policy Research, 2007
GRANT AND FELLOWSHIP SUPPORT
New Teacher Center
Research Grant, 2019-present
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Research Grant, 2019-present
Research Grant, 2017-present
Research Grant, 2015-present
Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions, SPARQ
Fellow, 2014 - Present
Research Grant, 2013
Diversity Dissertation Research Opportunity, Stanford Vice Provost for Graduate Education,
Research Grant, 2013-2015
Diversity Dissertation Fellowship Honorable Mention, 2011
Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention, 2010
Diversity Dissertation Fellowship Honorable Mention, 2010
Graduate Fellowship, Stanford University, 2009-2015
MANUSCRIPTS AND PUBLICATIONS
Bookser, B. A.*, Ruiz, M.*, Olu-Odumosu, A.*, Kim, M., Jarvis, S. N.*, & Okonofua, J. A. (2021). Context matters for preschool discipline: Effects of distance learning and pandemic fears. School Psychology.
Okonofua, J. A., Saadatian, K.*, Ocampo, J.*, Ruiz, M.*, & Oxholm, P. D.* (2021). A scalable empathic supervision intervention to mitigate recidivism from probation and parole. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(14).
Okonofua, J. A., Perez, A. D.*, & Darling-Hammond, S.* (2020). When policy and psychology meet: Mitigating the consequences of bias in schools. Science advances, 6(42).
Okonofua, J. A., & Ruiz, M.* (2020). The Empathic-discipline intervention. G. M. Walton & A. J. Crum (Eds.). Handbook of Wise Interventions: How Social Psychology Can Help People Change, Guilford Press: New York.
Jarvis, S. N.*, & Okonofua, J. A. (2020). School deferred: When bias affects school leaders. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 11(4), 492-498.
Goyer, J. P., Cohen, G. L., Cook, J. E., Master, A., Apfel, N., Lee, W., ... Okonofua, J. A. & Walton, G. M. (2019). Targeted identity-safety interventions cause lasting reductions in discipline citations among negatively stereotyped boys. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(2), 229.
Okonofua, J. A. & Eberhardt, J. A. (2015). Two-strikes: Race and disciplinary action in K-12 schooling. Psychological Science.
Okonofua, J. A., Walton, G. M., & Eberhardt, J. A. (2016). A vicious cycle: Racial bias and perceptions of bias interactively perpetuating disproportionate discipline. Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Okonofua, J. A., Paunesku, D., & Walton, G. M. (2016). A brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline halves suspension rates among adolescents. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Segment on Melissa Harris Perry’s Show
Watch interview about my research that shows how large race disparities in school discipline in the United States are, in part, driven by racial stereotypes that can lead teachers to escalate their negative responses to Black students over the course of multiple interpersonal (e.g., teacher-to-student) encounters.
I am currently collaborating with school districts throughout the country to continue to test the efficacy of my "Empathic Discipline" intervention which has been found to cut suspension rates in half and can potentially combat the effects of implicit bias.
I am currently developing a theory-based psychological intervention around reintegration for juvenile offenders.