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Samuel R. Sommers, Ph.D., Laboratory Director

Sam Sommers Samuel R. Sommers, Ph.D.
Laboratory Director
Diversity & Intergroup Relations Lab
Tufts University
School of Arts and Sciences
Department of Psychology
490 Boston Avenue
Medford, MA 02155
Ph: 617-627-5293
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Dr. Sommers is associate professor of psychology at Tufts University in Medford, MA. An experimental social psychologist, he is interested in issues related to stereotyping, prejudice, and group diversity. His research focuses on two general (and often overlapping) topics: 1) race and social perception, judgment, and interaction; 2) the intersection of psychology and law.

His first book, Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World, written for a general audience, is now available.

He also blogs regularly for Psychology Today as well as Huffington Post.

For more details on Dr. Sommers's teaching, research, and writing, check out this article from the Tufts Admissions Magazine.


Professor Sommers was born in New York City and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from Williams College in 1997 and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2002. He joined the faculty at Tufts in 2003, and teaches courses in Social Psychology, Introductory Psychology, Experimental Psychology, and Psychology & Law.

In 2007 he became the first junior faculty member at Tufts to receive the Lerman-Neubauer Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Advising. In 2009 he was named Professor of the Year by the Tufts Student Senate. The American Psychology-Law Society recognized him with the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology and Law Research. He was inducted into the Tufts Hall of Diversity for his efforts to promote an inclusive climate on campus for all students.

As demonstrated by his office decor, he has not succumbed to normative social influence while in Boston, as he continues to be a Yankees fan. In his free time he enjoys hanging out with his wife and two daughters, hitting lead-off for the vaunted Psychology Department softball team, and exerting far more effort than he probably should looking for Seinfeld and Daily Show clips to use in lecture.


Professor Sommers has experience leading workshops in which he introduces non-psychologists to research on race, gender, and diversity issues. Learn More >

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Reviews from previous workshop participants:

"Hearing about the studies done by psychologists really gives me insight into my work."

"I now understand how complicated dealing with stereotypes is."

"It would be great if they could come to my school and engage administrators in this sort of exercise."

"I think I know much more about what type of discussions can help with eliminating the tensions they talked about."
Professor Sommers also has experience consulting with attorneys on psychological research regarding the often subtle and unconscious nature of contemporary discrimination. Learn more >

He has been qualified as an expert in several cases on a variety of aspects regarding the criminal justice system, including factors influencing eyewitness memory; cross-race eyewitness identification; photo array and lineup administration; race and capital trial outcomes; race and jury selection; and jury racial composition.

He is an approved vendor with the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services.