News & Events

Department welcomes Dr. Brittany Cassidy

We are delighted to present a profile on Dr. Brittany Cassidy, who has just completed her first semester as a new faculty member in our department.

Dr. Cassidy is an Assistant Professor in the Social Psychology Program. She earned her BA in psychology from Boston University and her PhD in social psychology from Brandeis University, where she was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Following completion of a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Indiana University that was supported by the National Institute on Aging, Brittany joined the department and established the Social Cognition Lab.

Brittany’s research focuses on person perception, with particular emphasis on how people integrate cues from multiple sources (e.g., social categories such as race or gender, appearance-based characteristics like trustworthiness and babyfaceness, actual behaviors) to form impressions of, evaluate, and remember other people. She studies person perception using several methods–traditional behavioral work, eye-tracking, and fMRI. Recent research has been published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, and Social Cognition.

She is also interested in how social-cognitive changes that occur as we grow older influence person perception processes. Her work in this arena led to a grant project funded by Scientific Research Network on Decision Neuroscience and Aging that addresses the question, “Do age differences in associative learning and stimulus generalization lead to age differences in trust?” This project will examine mechanisms of putative reduced sensitivity to negative social cues by older adults, who appear to be less able to update representations of untrustworthy people and are susceptible to excess trust. The grant will enable her to investigate this phenomenon at the behavioral and neural levels.

In her downtime, Brittany enjoys following professional marathoning, watching dog videos online and observing how social psychology concepts play out in everyday life.

Students who are interested in pursuing undergraduate or graduate research opportunities are encouraged to check out the Social Cognition Lab website and contact Dr. Cassidy directly for additional information.