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Welcome to the BOLD Lab!


One of the most significant problems in our world today is that of social inequities. Decades of research demonstrate that racial minorities, women in STEM fields, and those first in their families to attend college consistently fall behind their white, middle-class, male counterparts in school and in the workplace. In the BOLD lab, we use social-psychological theory to build, implement, and evaluate field-based interventions that address important social inequalities, such as racial and social-class achievement gaps. Our approach consists of controlled laboratory experiments, randomized intervention studies, and longitudinal field studies.


In the BOLD lab, we use experimental methods to understand the subtle interpersonal and organizational messages that perpetuate bias and inequality. We specifically focus on the subtle messages about belonging, value, talent, and ability that are communicated by institutions, employers, instructors, parents, and peers. These messages can be communicated verbally—in the form of lectures or one-on-one interactions—and nonverbally—by the materials, policies, and practices put forth by those around us. Our research investigates how stigmatized individuals respond to cues from these different sources and how we can design effective interventions—so that all groups have the opportunity to flourish and reach their full potential.


Why are some people motivated to learn and others aren’t? Our research advances basic social-psychological theory regarding motivational processes that underlie people’s choices, persistence, and performance. Some messages in organizational and educational settings communicate the nature of our ability to learn (e.g. “only some people are naturally talented”), while other messages communicate why learning is valuable or useful (e.g. “this information will be useful in your future career”). Our lab harnesses the power of these messages to bolster people’s thoughts, feeling, and beliefs about school and work.


In the BOLD lab, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their skills and talents. Our research on cultivating growth mindset cultures—the idea that anyone can develop their ability and talent over time with good strategies, hard work, and quality mentoring—focuses on practical strategies that teachers, managers, and parents can implement to create a culture that prioritizes growth and development over innate qualities and perfect performance.