I'm an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois Chicago, where I direct the Belief, Identity, and Group Relations Lab.
As a social psychologist, I study intergroup relations with a particular focus on the ways in which religion, as both a group membership and system of beliefs, affects moral decision-making, social attitudes, and behaviors in intergroup contexts. I also study intergroup relations along racial, political, and sexual orientation lines, with an emphasis on how social psychological theory can be leveraged to advance social change and promote equality.
My research on these topics has been published in high-impact academic journals, such as Psychological Science; featured in influential news outlets, such as The New York Times; and funded by the National Science Foundation.
I earned my Ph.D. in social psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and am a proud graduate of Bates College, where I earned a B.A. in political psychology.
Electronic copies of representative publications are provided for personal and educational use.
Religion and Intergroup Relations
Pasek, M. H., Kelly, M., Shackleford, C., White, C. J. M., Smith, J. M., Vishkin, A., Norenzayan, A., Shariff, A., & Ginges, J. (2023) Thinking about God increases prosociality toward religious outgroups: A cross-cultural investigation. Psychological Science, 34(6), 657-669.
Shackleford, C.M., Pasek, M. H. [co-first author], Vishkin, A., & Ginges, J. (2024). Palestinians and Israelis believe the other's God encourages intergroup benevolence: A case of positive intergroup meta-perceptions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 110, 104551. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2023.104551.
Smith, J., Pasek, M. H., Vishkin, A., Johnson, K. A., Shackleford, C., & Ginges, J. (2022). Thinking about God discourages dehumanization of religious outgroups. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 151(10), 2586-2603. doi:10.1037/xge0001206.
Al-Kire, R. L., Pasek, M. H., Tsang, J., Leman, J. & Rowatt, W. (2022). Protecting America’s borders: Christian nationalism, threat, and attitudes toward immigrants in the United States. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 25(2), 354-378. doi:10.1177/1368430220978291.
Al-Kire, R. L., Pasek, M. H. [co-first author], Tsang, J., & Rowatt, W. (2021). Christian no more: Christian Americans are threatened by their impending minority status. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 97, 104223. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104223.
Pasek, M. H., Shackleford, C., Smith., J., Vishkin, A., Lehner, A, & Ginges, J. (2020). God values the lives of my outgroup more than I do: Evidence from Fiji and Israel. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 11(7), 1032-1041. doi:10.1177/1948550680904516.
Pasek, M. H., & Cook, J. E. (2019). Religion from the target’s perspective: A portrait of religious threat and its consequences in the United States. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10(1), 82-93. doi:10.1177/1948550617739089.
Pasek, M. H., Ankori-Karlinsky, L., Levy-Vene, A., & Moore-Berg, S. L (2022). Misperceptions about out-partisans’ democratic values may erode democracy. Scientific Reports, 12, 1684. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-19616-4.
Geiger, N., Pasek, M. H., Gruszczynski, M., Ratcliff, N., & Weaver, K. (2020). Political ingroup conformity and pro-environmental behavior: Evaluating the evidence from a survey and mousetracking experiments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 72. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101524.
Advancing Social Change
Hässler, T., Ullrich, J., Sebben, S., [and 40 other authors, including Pasek, M. H.] (2022). Needs satisfaction in intergroup contact: A multi-national study of pathways toward social change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 122(4), 634-659. doi:10.1037/pspi0000365.
Pasek, M. H., Filip-Crawford, G., & Cook, J. E. (2017). Identity concealment and social change: Balancing advocacy goals against individual needs. Journal of Social Issues, 73, 397-412. doi:10.1111/josi.12223.
Hässler, T., Ullrich, J., Bernardino, M., [and 39 other authors including Pasek, M. H.] (2020). Large-scale test of the link between intergroup contact and support for social change. Nature Human Behavior, 4, 380-386. doi:10.1038/s41562-019-0815-z.
Moore-Berg, S. L., Bernstein, K., Gallardo, R., Hameiri, B., Littman, R., O’Neil, S., & Pasek, M. H. (2022). Translating social science for peace: Benefits, challenges, and recommendations for conducting translational research. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 28(3), 274-283. doi:10.1037/pac0000604.