Professor Marilynn B. Brewer
Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology
The Ohio State University
Marilynn Brewer joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in 1993 as Professor of Psychology and Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology.Since receiving her Ph.D. in 1968 from Northwestern University, Professor Brewer has authored or edited 12 books and more than 125 chapters and journal articles. In general, her research addresses questions about how our identities and social behavior are shaped by our group memberships. Her work has changed the way social scientists around the world think about issues of prejudice and discrimination. In early groundbreaking research, she has shown that inter-group discrimination is often driven not by the perception that other groups are bad but rather by the belief that our own groups are good. Her theory of “optimal distinctiveness” analyzes how people reconcile a need to belong with a need to be unique. Most recently, she is working to unravel the complex web of multiple social identities—that is, how do people who identify with multiple groups define their in-groups and how does this affect their attitudes toward diversity and social change.
Among the numerous awards and honors Professor Brewer has received during her career, the most significant are her recent (2004) election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; selection for a 2007 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association; receipt of the 2004 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology; and election to the presidency (1993-95) of the American Psychological Society, which was recently renamed the Association of Psychological Science. Other honors include the 2003 Harold Laswell Career Award from the International Society of Political Psychology; the 2001 Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity; the 1995 Kurt Lewin Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; and the 1992 Donald T. Campbell Award for Distinguished Research in Social Psychology from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology; as well as presidencies of two regional associations (Western Psychological Association and Midwestern Psychological Association). Professor Brewer also served as Editor of the Personality and Social Psychology Review and as Associate Editor for Psychological Review, the premier theory journal in the discipline of psychology.