This is the academic web site of Dana C. Leighton, Ph.D. I teach and do research in social psychology and peace psychology. I am currently investigating the concept of a “scope of justice,” or the individuals we include in our “moral community,” those we deem worthy of just distribution of tangible and intangible social goods. This research is leading me to investigate the effects of intergroup threat, particularly cultural and economic threats, on the contraction of the scope of justice. I am also beginning a line of research on intergroup trust and its role in moral exclusion and peacebuilding.
I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Southern Arkansas University (SAU), in Magnolia, Arkansas. At SAU, I am teaching a variety of courses including Abnormal Psychology, Careers in Psychology, General Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Psychological Testing and Measurement, and my field of specialty, Social Psychology. I am also running the Peace and Justice Psychology Laboratory, where we do research on the antecedents, processes, and outcomes of intergroup conflict and peace.
I earned my Doctor of Philosophy degree in experimental psychology at the University of Arkansas, working in the lab of Dr. David A. Schroeder, Professor of Psychology. Dave’s a great researcher and mentor, with interests are in prosocial behavior, social dilemmas, and justice concerns. I worked in the lab with my fellow student, Dennis Poepsel, and a great group of undergraduate research assistants.
I completed my Master of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia, in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, studying Social Psychology. At the University of British Columbia, I was a student of Dr. Peter Suedfeld, an amazing person and outstanding researcher in Political Psychology, Environmental Psychology, and Social Psychology. I worked in Dr. Suedfeld’s REST lab, where we did research on restricted environments and also on my area of interest, Integrative Complexity. I also worked with Dr. Mark Schaller, studying prejudice and stereotyping behaviors. I worked in his Social Cognition Lab, looking at how people think about each other.
I am an alumnus of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. It’s an amazing college with fantastic opportunities for bright, motivated students to excel in a supportive, yet academically challenging environment. Check it out if you’re looking for a good undergraduate college.
I also attended a number of community colleges, and taught at two community colleges between my master’s degree and enrolling for my PhD at the University of Arkansas. One reason I liked teaching at the community college is the commitment to egalitarianism in education, and also that I could “give back” to the system that allowed me to change my career from software development to psychology.
For more details on my career, see my curriculum vitae.