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Mina Cikara

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Mina Cikara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. She received her PhD in psychology and social policy from Princeton University and completed a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Professor Cikara studies how the mind, brain, and behavior change when the social context shifts from “me and you” to “us and them.” She focuses primarily  on how group membership, threat, and prejudice disrupt the processes that allow people to see others as human and to empathize with others.

She uses a wide range of tools—standard laboratory experiments, behavioral measures, fMRI and psychophysiology—to examine failures of empathy, dehumanization, and misunderstanding between groups. She is equally interested in the behavioral consequences of these processes: discrimination, conflict, and harm. Most recently, the National Science Foundation awarded Professor Cikara the CAREER Award to support her research. She has published articles in journals including Nature, Human Behaviour, Psychological Science, and Perspectives on Psychological Science and her research has been featured in many popular outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR and BBC Radio.

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.