Sapna Cheryan

Image of Sapna Cheryan

Sapna Cheryan, Ph.D.

(206) 543-5688
Advising: Possibly accepting new graduate students in 2025-2026, please email with questions.
Interests: Stereotypes, Identity, Culture, Belonging, Group Status


My research investigates how cultural stereotypes cause and perpetuate racial and gender disparities in U.S. society. In one line of work, our lab examines whether current stereotypes of computer scientists preclude women’s interest in the field and how to change these stereotypes to promote a diversity of membership. Our second line of work investigates the health consequences of having an important identity go unrecognized by fellow group members. Our third line of work investigates the negative consequences of positive stereotypes. Together, our work demonstrates that stereotypes – even those that are not overtly negative – contribute to current inequalities and tensions between groups and further suggests how to alter these stereotypes to create a society that is more inclusive and equitable.


Stanford University (2007)

  • Zou, L. X., & Cheryan, S. (2017). Two axes of subordination: A new model of racial position. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, 696-717.
  • Siy, J. O., & Cheryan, S. (2013). When compliments fail to flatter: American individualism and responses to positive stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 87-102.
  • Guendelman, M., Cheryan, S., & Monin, B. (2011). Fitting in but getting fat: Identity threat as an explanation for dietary decline among U.S. immigrant groups. Psychological Science, 22, 959-967.
  • Cheryan, S., Plaut, V.C., Davies, P., & Steele, C.M. (2009). Ambient belonging: How stereotypical environments impact gender participation in computer science. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 1045-1060.