Cathy Seta

seta@wfu.edu
Professor of Psychology
(336) 758-4876
Greene Hall 221

My research interests are in the area of social psychology. My orientation to research is guided by the interactionistic view that characteristics of the situation interact with characteristic of persons to determine thoughts, affect, and behavior. In particular, I am interested in investigating the nature of processes that underlie this interaction.

One area of interest deals with the processes that underlie prejudice and discrimination. For example, we are interested in how processes that determine the extent to which persons identify with groups affect their group evaluations. We are also interested in how knowledge about other groups affect bias and discrimination. In addition, we also research how persons’ self-esteem levels influence these processes.

I am also interested in ways in which stereotypes are generated and how they are maintained in the face of disconfirming (i.e., inconsistent) information. For example, we have investigated how expectations are generated from social stereotypes and how these expectations affect predictions about the future behavior of group members, perceptions of group members’ behavior, cognitive representations of group members, and memory for the social actions of group members.

An area of research in which I am currently very interested concerns the factors that are responsible for feelings of regret after making poor decisions. In particular, we have developed a consistency-fit model that proposes that the consistency of a decision vis a vis a person’s goals, moods, and/or personality orientation determines that amount of regret felt after a poor decision. I am interested in pursuing this topic from the perspective of a personality X situation interaction.

Another area of research concerns individuals’ perceptions and reactions to life stressors, including social stress and evaluation. Our research in this domain includes measures of physiological reactions (blood pressure) as well as behavioral and perceptual measures. We are currently exploring the role of personality factors on these processes and are expanding this research into the domain of health and the workplace.

Representative Publications:

  • Seta, C., Schmidt, S., & Bookhout, C. (in press). Social identity orientation and social role attributions: Explaining behavior through the lens of the self. Self and Identity.
  • Alter, R.J., & Seta, C.E. (2005). Compensation for inconsistencies: The effects of stereotype strength on expectations of applicants’ job success and satisfaction. Sex Roles, 53, 79-87.
  • Seta, J.J., Seta, C.E., & McElroy, T. (2003). Attributional bias in the service of stereotype maintenance: A schea maintenance throught compensation analysis. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1574-1585.
  • Seta, J.J., McElroy, T., & Seta, C.E. (2001). To do or not to do: Desirability and consistency mediate judgments of regret. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 861-870.