The overarching goals of the Societal Cognition Lab are to better understand the psychological intersection between people and society, and examine how this knowledge can be harnessed to effectively engage in system change and improve people’s everyday experiences.

In general, the Societal Cognition Lab takes an Open Science approach to conducting research. For example, we strive to preregister our studies, transparently report our study materials, replicate our own studies, and more recently we have begun publicly posting out research data. To learn more about Open Science and how it is being increasingly embraced in social psychology, please see this Open Science explainer developed by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.


1.  How can social psychology explain the link between higher income inequality and negative outcomes for individuals (e.g., lower levels of mental and physical health)?


2.  When are people more or less likely to rationalize societal conditions and accept the status quo? Can these factors be used to reduce people’s tendency to defend current societal arrangements and increase their willingness to take part in societal change?


(Click on links to access PDFs)

‡ Preregistered  * Supervised graduate student   ** Supervised undergraduate student 


‡ **McAleese, O., & Day, M.V. (In Press). Some psychological determinants of broad union attitudes. Journal of Social and Political Psychology.

‡ Day, M.V., & Norton, M.I. (In Press). Perceived and ideal inequality in university endowments in the United StatesPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

‡ **Genge, O., & Day, M.V. (2021). Explaining support for post-secondary education funding for Indigenous student. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 53, 304-314. Published data.

‡ Tierney, W., Hardy, J., Ebersole, C.R., Viganola, D., Clemente, E.G., …Day, M.V., …(2021). A creative destruction approach to replication: Implicit work and sex morality across cultures. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 93, 104060.

‡ *Nadler, J., Day, M.V., Beshai, S., & Mishra, S. (2020). The relative deprivation trap: How feeling deprived relates to symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 39, 897-922. 

‡ Tierney, W., Hardy, J., Ebersole, C.R., Leavitt, K., Viganola, D., …Day, M.V., … (2020). Creative destruction in science. Organizational Behavioral and Human Decision Processes, 161, 291-309.

‡ *Keshabyan, A., & Day, M.V. (2020). Concerned whether you’ll make it in life? Status anxiety uniquely explains job satisfaction. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1123.


Davidai, S., Day, M., Goya-Tocchetto, D., Hauser, O., Jachimowicz, J., Mirza, M. U., … Tepper, S. (June, 2020). We have a rare opportunity to create a stronger, more equitable society. Behavioral Scientist.

‡ Landy, J.F., Jia, M., Ding, I.L., Viganola, D., Tierney, W., …Day, M.V., …Uhlmann, E.L. (2020). Crowdsourcing hypothesis tests: Making transparent how design choices shape research results. Psychological Bulletin, 146, 451-479.

Day, M.V., & Fiske, S.T. (2019). Understanding the nature and consequences of social mobility beliefs (pp. 365-380). In J. Jetten & K. Peters (Eds.), The social psychology of inequality. Springer.

Day, M.V., & Fiske, S.T. (2017). Movin' on up: How perceived social mobility affects willingness to defend the system. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 267-274.


Day, M.V. (2016). Why people defend relationship ideologyJournal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33, 348-360.

Day, M.V., Fiske, S.T., Downing, E.L., & Trail, T.E. (2014). Shifting liberal and conservative attitudes using moral foundations theory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1559-1573.


Blatz, C.W., Day, M.V., & Schryer, E. (2014). Official public apology effects on victim group members’ evaluations of the perpetrator group. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 46, 337-345.

Day, M.V., & Ross, M. (2014). Predicting confidence in flashbulb memories. Memory, 22, 232-242.

Day, M.V., & Bobocel, D.R. (2013). The weight of a guilty conscience: Subjective body weight as an embodiment of guilt. PLoS ONE, 8, 1-7.

Day, M.V. (2013). Stigma, halo effects, and threats to ideology: Comment on the fewer the merrier? Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy, 13, 49-51.

Kay, A.C., Day, M.V., Zanna, M.P., & Nussbaum, A.D. (2013). The insidious (and ironic) effects of positive stereotypes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 287-291.

Day, M.V., & Ross, M. (2011). The value of remorse: How drivers’ responses to police predict fines for speeding. Law and Human Behavior, 35, 221-234.

Day, M.V., Kay, A.C., Holmes, J.G., & Napier, J.L. (2011). System justification and the defense of committed relationship ideology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 291-306.


* Supervised graduate student    ** Supervised graduate student 

Day, M.V.,  (July, 2021). Barriers to equality: Your misestimates of other people’s beliefs about inequality. Presentation at the International Society for Justice Research, 18th Biennual Conference, Lisbon, Portugal (Virtual).

Day, M.V., Lively, C., **McInnis, M., & *Ryan, M. (February, 2020). Drivers of equality: Personal relative deprivation, not subjective status, explains support for redistribution. Presentation at the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, USA.

**Genge, O., Day, M.V., & *Wilson, F. (November, 2019). Predicting support for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. Poster presented at the Aboriginal Health Symposium, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL.

*Nadler, J., & Day, M.V. (June, 2019). Ill gotten-gains: The relationship between status anxiety and poor mental health. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Halifax, NS.

Day, M.V., & Norton, M. (February, 2019). Well endowed? Estimated and ideal wealth inequality of college and university endowments. Presentation at the Education and Marketing Journal of Marketing Research Special Issue Conference, American Marketing Association, Austin, USA.

**Daly, K., & Day, M.V. (July, 2018). Explaining biased beliefs about global economic inequality. Poster presentation at the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science Conference, St. John’s, NL.


**Daly, K., & Day, M.V. (May, 2018). Global economic inequality: Individuals’ perceptions and their potential predictors. Poster presentation at the Science Atlantic Conference, Halifax, NS.

Day, M.V., & Norton, M. (March, 2018). Not so well-endowed? Perceived and ideal levels of U.S. college endowments. Presentation at the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Atlanta, USA.


Day, M.V., & Fiske, S.T. (July, 2017). Movin’ on up? How perceived social mobility affects willingness to defend the system. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Edinburgh, U.K.


**Power, H., & Day, M.V. (May, 2017). Does self-esteem contribute to status anxiety? Poster presentation at the Science Atlantic conference, Sydney, NS.

Day, M.V., & Norton, M. (May, 2017). Well endowed? The perceived and ideal inequality of U.S. college endowments. Presentation at the 29th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, USA.


Day, M.V., & Fiske, S. T. (August, 2016). Can income inequality and social mobility affect support for redistribution? Presentation at The Tobin Project Conference on Inequality and Decision Making, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Day, M.V., & Fiske, S. T. (July, 2016). What is status anxiety? Exploring a mechanism of the consequences of income inequality. Presentation at the International Society for Justice Research (ISJR), 16th Biennual Conference, Canterbury, U.K


Day, M.V., & Fiske, S. T. (February, 2016). How to nudge. Invited presentation at the Policy NL and The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development Workshop: Nudging Not Forcing, Understanding Behavioural Economics and "Nudging" to Influence Collective Action, Memorial University, NL.


Day, M.V., & Fiske, S. T. (February, 2015).  How to undermine the system: The roles of social mobility and meritocratic beliefs. Poster presented at the 16th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Longbeach, CA.


Day, M.V. (December, 2014). Taming elephants and donkeys: How moral foundations can shift political attitudes. Invited paper presented at the Boston Area Moral Cognition Group, Boston University.


Day, M.V. (March, 2014). Taming the moral tiger: How moral foundations can shift political attitudes. Invited paper presented at the Neuroscience and Social Decision Making Lecture Series, Princeton University.