In addition to a coauthor of Clash! How To Thrive in a Multicultural World, I am the Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, where I study how culture, race, ethnicity, social class, and gender make and mirror the self, identity, cognition, motivation, and emotion. I am a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution. I am also a Faculty Director of Stanford SPARQ: Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions, founder and former director of Stanford’s Research Institute of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and co-director of Stanford’s Mind, Culture and Society Laboratory.
A native of London, England, I immigrated to San Diego, California with my family when I was four. After earning my bachelor’s degree from California State University at San Diego and my PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan, I became a professor at the University of Michigan and a research scientist at the Institute for Social Research. I also hold an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago. Research stints in Japan, France, and Italy fueled my fascination with how people and their cultures make each other up.
I have written more than 200 research articles and received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Media outlets that have featured my research include The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Japan Times, The Boston Globe, Self, Vogue, Pacific Standard (formerly The Miller-McCune Review) CNN and CBS. I have also coauthored seven additional books, including Engaging Cultural Differences: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies; Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century; and Facing Social Class: How Societal Rank Influences Interaction.
At Stanford, I teach Cultural Psychology, Introduction to Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Growing Up in America, Culture, Mind and Society, and The Self, and I have been the recipient of several teaching awards. I have also served on several multidisciplinary projects sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Currently, I am member of the Advisory Committee for Social Science Research Council project, “New Directions in the Study of Prayer.”
Alana Conner, PhD
By day, I serve as the executive director of the Stanford Center for Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions (Stanford SPARQ), where our mission is to create and share social psychological insights with people working to improve society. I also advise postdoctoral fellows in the Clinical Excellence Research Center at the Stanford School of Medicine. In addition, I collaborate with clients to design interventions that enhance the well-being of diverse populations around the world.
By night, I write for a variety of venues, which have included The New York Times Magazine, EDGE.org, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, where I served as senior editor for five years. I also work with scientists, business leaders, and other innovators to translate their ideas for different audiences.
In between, I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale; a doctorate in cultural psychology from Stanford, where I was lucky to work with Hazel; and a postdoctoral certificate in health psychology from the University of California, San Francisco. My award-winning research examines social class and cultural differences in decision-making and health.
On the side, I read Tolstoy in Russia, crooned with the Yale Slavic Chorus in Bulgaria, studied football fans in Japan, plumbed the psyches of Wal-Mart shoppers in Arkansas, pedaled across Tanzania, summited Kilimanjaro, and served as vice president of content at The Tech Museum in the wilds of San Jose, Calif.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, I now make my home in San Francisco, where I happily answer to both pronunciations of my name (“ah LAY nah” and “ah LAH nah”), especially over a cup of coffee.