Toni Schmader will spend her year at CASBS developing a new theoretical model of intergroup trust. Her central thesis is that cultivating truly inclusive cultures where members of diverse groups live, work, and thrive together requires a level of trust, not just among individuals, but also among groups. Members of marginalized groups often fear being seen as incompetent or irrelevant, whereas members of advantaged groups fear being seen as immoral. These concerns are embedded in social hierarchies. Integrating theoretical models of attachment security, cultural ideologies, and intergroup relationships, the goal of this project is to build a model for understanding the fundamental role of trust to the social function of individuals, groups, and society as a whole.
Schmader is a professor of social psychology at the University of British Columbia where she held a Canada Research Chair from 2010-20. Her research examines how social stereotypes and implicit biases constrain individual outcomes and intergroup relations. She is currently the director of Engendering Success in STEM (ESS, successinSTEM.ca), a research consortium aimed at dismantling gender disparities in science and technology. She received the Killam Research Prize in 2013 and theoretical innovation awards from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2018 and the European Association of Social Psychology in 2020.