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Alison Ledgerwood


  • Ph.D., Social Psychology, New York University, 2008
  • M.A., Psychology, New York University, 2006
  • B.A., Psychology, Amherst College, 2003


In addition to her academic appointment in the Department of Psychology, Alison Ledgerwood is the principal investigator for the Attitudes and Group Identity Lab. Her research centers on the psychological tools that enable humans to move beyond their immediate experience, while her methodological interests focus on promoting methods and practices that can increase the informational value of psychological research. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Hellman Family Foundation. She also serves as an associate editor at Perspectives on Psychological Science and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and Social Cognition.

Research Focus

How do we reach beyond our current experience? One of the most basic challenges that people face in everyday life is how to cross gaps—gaps that separate self from other, now from future, here from there, and us from them. Even the simplest activities, like having a conversation or planning what to do next week, would be impossible if it were not for the human capacity to get unstuck from current experience and relate to other people, future time points, and distant contexts. Professor Ledgerwood’s research centers around the social psychological tools that humans have developed to help them reach across these distances.

In one line of work, she focuses on social influence as one tool that people use to either immerse themselves in the current context or to transcend it. This research seeks to shed light on when and why people are more or less susceptible to different kinds of social influence. In a second line of work, she studies group symbols as tools that people use to communicate group identity across time, space and disparate individuals. This research examines when and why people value group identity symbols, such as group monuments and flags, as well as the role that such symbols can play in conflict escalation and resolution.

Selected Publications

  • Ledgerwood, A., Trope, Y., &  Chaiken, S. (2010). Flexibility now, consistency later: Psychological distance and construal shape evaluative responding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 32-51.
  • Ledgerwood, A.,  Wakslak, C. J., & Wang, M. K. (2010). Differential information use for near and distant decisions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 638-642. 
  • Ledgerwood, A., &  Shrout, P. E. (2011). The tradeoff between accuracy and precision in latent variable models of mediation processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1174-1188. 
  • Ledgerwood, A., &  Callahan, S. P. (2012). The social side of abstraction: Psychological distance increases conformity to group norms. Psychological Science, 23, 907-913. 
  • Ledgerwood, A., &  Boydstun, A. E. (2014). Sticky prospects: Loss frames are cognitively stickier than gain frames. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 376-385.


Professor Ledgerwood has taught courses on Social Psychology, Political Psychology, Academic Writing, Quantitative Methods, and Attitudes and Social Influence.


In 2013, Professor Ledgerwood was elected as a fellow to the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. From 2010 to 2011, she was awarded a Hellman Fellowship at the University of California, Davis, which recognizes “young faculty in the core disciplines who show capacity for great distinction in their research and creative activities.”