Elena Stepanova

Assistant Professor

Dr. Stepanova is accepting applications for Fall 2018.

Research Interests

My broad areas of interest are: social cognition, specifically conceptualization of social categories, effects of alcohol and nicotine on social judgments and effects of discrimination on alcohol cue-reactivity; and cross-cultural research, particularly explicit and implicit ethnic and racial attitudes.


In the conceptualization of social categories line of research, I explore the effects of within-group variability on person perception, implicit and explicit ethnic prejudice and stereotyping, and perceptions of attractiveness. I investigate the link between alcohol-related cues and social biases; this research was supported by ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research. 


In my cross-cultural line of research, I address these effects internationally, examining the moderating role of socio-cultural context. Many of my research projects address applied issues as well (e.g., the reduction of prejudice).

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
  • Social Psychology
  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Senior Capstone

Curriculum Vita

Social Cognition and Behavior Lab

Recent Publications

(*indicates student coauthor)

Patihis, L., Jackson, C. E., Diaz, J. C., Stepanova, E. V. & Herrera, M. E. (accepted). Culture and memory: Black American college students report more memory of love for mothers in childhood than white Students. Psychological Reports

Stepanova, E. V., Bartholow, B. D., & Saults, J. S., Friedman, R.S., *Chi, J. & Hollis, A. M. (in press). Effects of exposure to alcohol-related cues on racial prejudice. Social Psychology.  

Stepanova, E. V. & Brown, A. L. (in press). Alcohol priming and blame attribution in an acquaintance rape vignette. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. doi:10.1177/0886260517744762

Dent, R., Hagiwara, N., Stepanova, E. V., & Green, T. (in press). The role of feature-based discrimination in driving health disparities among Black Americans. Ethnicity and Health. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2017.1398314

Stepanova, E. V., & Strube, M. J. (in press). Attractiveness as a function of skin tone and facial features: Evidence from categorization studies. The Journal of General Psychology. doi: 10.1080/00221309.2017.1394811

Stepanova, E. V., Bartholow, B. D., & Saults, J. S., & Friedman, R.S. (2017). Effects of exposure to alcohol-related cues on racial discrimination. European Journal of Social Psychology. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2325

†Cothran, D. L., †Stepanova, E. V., & Barlow, K. R. (2017). Studying guilt perception in Millennials: Unexpected effects of suspects’ race and attractiveness. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 36 (4), 379–399.  doi: 10.1177/0276236617696718
†shared first authorship. 

Stepanova, E. V. & Hagiwara, N. (2016). Category-Based and Feature-Based Bias: Measurement and Application. In M. Casas, L. Suzuki, C. Alexander, and M. Jackson (Eds.) Handbook of Multicultural Counseling (4th Edition), pp. 249-258.

Dunham, Y., Dotsch, R., Clark, A. R., & Stepanova, E. V. (2016). The development of White-Asian categorization: Contributions from skin color and other physiognomic cues. PLOS ONE, 11(6): e0158211. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158211

Stepanova, E. V., Strube, M. J, *Limes, D., & *Clote, L. E. (2016). Pictorial race activation in priming measures. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 38, 223-239. doi: 10.1080/01973533.2016.1201484

*Gilad, C., & Stepanova, E. V. (2015). The effect of religious priming on attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 20 (4), 188-196.

Dunham, Y., Stepanova, E. V., Dotsch, R., & Todorov, A. (2015). The development of race-based perceptual categorization: skin color dominates early category judgments. Developmental Science 18, 469-483. doi: 10.1111/desc.12228

Stepanova E. V. Cross-ethnicity effect. (2013). In K. Keith (Ed.) The encyclopedia of cross-cultural psychology. (pp. 286-288). Wiley-Blackwell.

Stepanova, E. V., Strube, M. J, & Yablonsky, G. S. (2013). Now one is Russian, now one is not: Ethnic attitudes and categorization effects in the Russian Federation. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation, 2(2), 85-99. doi: 10.1037/a0032339

Stepanova E. V., Bartholow, B. D., Saults, J. S., & Friedman, R.S. (2012). Alcohol-related cues promote automatic racial bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 48, 905-911. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.006

Stepanova E. V. & Strube, M. J (2012). The role of skin color and facial physiognomy in racial categorization: Moderation by implicit racial attitudes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 48, 867-878.doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.019

Stepanova, E. V., & Strube, M. J (2012). What’s in a face? The role of skin tone, facial physiognomy, and color presentation mode of facial primes in affective priming effects. The Journal of Social Psychology. 152 (2), 212-227doi:10.1080/00224545.2011.597797

Stepanova, E. V., & Strube, M. J (2009). Making of a face: Role of facial physiognomy, skin tone, and color presentation mode in evaluations of racial typicality. The Journal of Social Psychology, 149 (1), 66-81. doi: 10.3200/SOCP.149.1.66-81

Stepanova, E. V., Strube, M. J, & Hetts, J. J. (2009). They saw a triple lutz: Bias and its perception in American and Russian newspaper coverage of 2002 Olympic figure skating scandal. Journal of Applied Social Psychology39 (8), 1763–1784. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2009.00503.x

Recent Presentations 

(*indicates student coauthor)

*Chi, J., *Henley, T., & Stepanova, E. V. (November, 2017). Emotional Reactions to Past and Present Racial Injustices and Corresponding Charity Donation Behaviors. Data blitz presented at the 2017 meeting of the Society for Southeastern Social Psychologists (SSSP), Atlantic Beach, FL  

*Miller, C., & Stepanova, E. V. (September, 2017). The Effect of Alcohol Priming on Adult Aggression toward Children. Poster presented at the 66th Annual Convention of the Mississippi Psychological Association, Biloxi, MS

Stepanova, E. V., *Rex, M., Dunham, Y., & Hagiwara, N. (March, 2017). What Drives Racial Attitudes in Elementary School Children: Skin Tone, Facial Features, or both? Poster presented at the second biennial International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), Vienna, Austria.

Bekafigo, M., Stepanova, E. V., & Noguchi, K. (January, 2017). Love him or Hate him: The Effect of Group Polarization on Support for Donald Trump. Talk  presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA

Gibson, S., Campbell, H., Brown A., & Stepanova, E. V. (January, 2017). A Content Analysis of Reactions to an Acquaintance Rape Vignette. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX.  

*Coutu, J., Stadthagen-Gonzalez, H., Stepanova, E. V. (September, 2016). Implicit and Explicit Attitudes toward Military Veterans. Poster to be presented at the 67th Annual Convention of the Mississippi Psychological Association, Bay St. Louis, MS

Stepanova, E. V., & Hagiwara, N. (July-August, 2016). Feature-Based Biases in Black Americans: Evidence from Focus Groups. Poster presented at the 23rd Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP), Nagoya, Japan

Stepanova, E. V., Strube, M. J., Perhson, K. D., & Hagiwara, N. (July, 2016). Attractiveness as a Function of Skin Color and Facial Features: Evidence from Categorization and Affective Priming Studies. Talk presented at the 31st International Congress of Psychology (ICP2016), Yokohama, Japan.

Hagiwara, N. & Stepanova, E. V. (July, 2016). The Within-Race Effect of Feature Based Biases in Black Americans. Talk presented at the 31st International Congress of Psychology (ICP2016), Yokohama, Japan.

Stepanova, E. V., Drobes, D. J., Echevarria, D. J., *Collier, A. D., & *Cruz, C. S. (January, 2016). Discrimination, Stress and Reactivity to Alcohol Cues. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA

Gilad, C. & Stepanova, E. V. (January, 2016). The Effect of Religious Priming on Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology - Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Preconference, San Diego, CA

Brown, A. L., & Stepanova E. V. (June, 2015). Alcohol Priming and Victim Blame in an Acquaintance Rape Vignette. Poster session presented at the 38th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting, San Antonio, TX.

Stepanova, E. V. Effects of Nicotine Priming on Performance in the Weapons Identification Task. (February, 2015). Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Long Beach, CA.

*Younes, N., & Stepanova, E. V. (February, 2015). Structuring a Social Psychology Course around Current Events: The Shooting of Michael Brown. Talk presented at the annual Educators Connect Conference, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

Stepanova, E.V. Social Categorization and Biases: All Roads Lead to Rome. (September, 2014). Invited talk presented at the Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Stepanova, E. V., Bartholow, B. D., Saults, J. S., Friedman, R. S., *Benjamin, B., *Gilad, C., *Kovacs, S., *Rand R. , & *Rager, A. (July, 2014). Effects of Alcohol-related Cues on Racial Biases and Discrimination. Talk presented at the European Association of Social Psychology General Meeting, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Stepanova, E. V., Bartholow, B. D., Saults, J. S., *Benjamin, B., *Rand, R., & *Rager, A. (January, 2014). Effects of Alcohol-related Cues on Racial Discrimination. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Austin, TX

Stepanova, E. V. (January, 2013). Effects and Mechanisms of Exposure to Alcohol-related Cues on Generalized and Stereotypic Racial Prejudice. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA