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Benjamin A. Saunders

Associate Professor of Psychology

B.A., University of MichiganM.A., University of Illinois at ChicagoPh.D., University of Illinois at Chicago


Benjamin A. Saunders, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at LIU - Brooklyn. He is the founder and director of the Politics, Race, and Ideology Collaboratory (PRIDECo), and his research examines how people reason about justice, fairness, and inequality with a particular focus on: (1) Whether prejudice and discriminatory behavior result from aspects of one’s personality, and (2) Why people seemingly support current social and political conditions when eschewing them would better serve their self-interests. These overarching research questions guide his work on authoritarianism, political ideology, and system justification (Jost & Banaji, 1995)-- the tendency to defend, bolster, and justify the societal status quo. Dr. Saunders uses these theoretical orientations to examine immigration, climate change, racial policy preferences, understanding the Alt Right, isms of all varieties, as well as working class authoritarianism. In doing so, Dr. Saunders aims to link system justification motivation and goal strivings, authoritarianism, false consciousness, and political ideology to both social cognitive methods and projective techniques


Social and political psychology; data analysis and visualization in R



Hutchison, E. N., Haden, S. C., Saunders, B. A., Cain, N. M., & Grundleger, A. B. (2020). Disordered Eating in Men and Women: Internalization of Sociocultural Body Image Norms and Emotion Dysregulation. American Journal of Health Education, 51(3), 151-160. doi: 10.1080/19325037.2020.1740119

Calderon, S., Samstag, L. W., Papouchis, N., & Saunders, B. A. (2019). The Effects of Early Parental Death and Grief on Interpersonal Functioning and Alexithymia in Adults. Psychopathology, 52(3), 198-204. doi: 10.1159/000501156

Saunders, B. A., & Ngo, J. D. H. (2017). The right-wing authoritarianism scale. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1262-1

Saunders, B. A., Scaturro, C., Guarino, C., & Kelly, E. (2017). Contending with catcalling: The role of system-justifying beliefs and ambivalent sexism in predicting women's coping experiences with (and men's attributions for) stranger harassment. Current Psychology, 36, 324-338. doi:10.1007/s12144-016-9421-7

Saunders, B. A., & Skitka, L. J. (2017). American reactions to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In R. Rycroft (Ed.), The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty (Vol. 2, pp. 515-520). Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO.

Saunders, B. A. & Wong, P. S. (2017). Implicit attitudes, unconscious fantasy, and conflict. In C. Christian, M. Eagle, & D. Wolitzky (Eds.) Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Conflict (pp. 242-259). London: Routledge.

Saunders, B. A. (2016). Identification with math boosts women’s performance on mathematical tasks under stereotype threat. Journal of Scientific Psychology, 9-17.

Saunders, B. A., Kelly, E., Cohen, N. P., & Guarino, C. (2016). Right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation indirectly predict support for New York City’s stop-&-frisk policy through prejudice. Current Psychology, 35, 92-98. doi:10.1007/s12144-015-9364-4

Saunders, B. A. (2014). Acting White? Black young adults devalue same-race targets for demonstrating positive-but stereotypically White traits. Current Research in Social Psychology, 22, 71-79.

Mahoney, M. B., Saunders, B. A., & Cain, N. M. (2014). Priming mortality salience: Supraliminal, subliminal and ‘double-death’ priming techniques. Death Studies, 38, 678 – 681. doi:10.1080/07481187.2013.839586

Skitka, L. J., Saunders, B., Morgan, G. S., & Wisneski, D. (2009). Dark clouds and silver linings: Socio-psychological responses to September 11, 2001. In M. Morgan (Ed.), The day that changed everything? Looking at the impact of 9-11, Vol. 3 (pp. 63 – 80). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

Mattis, J. S., Beckham, W., Saunders, B. A., Williams, J., McAllister, D., Myers, V., Knight, D., Rencher, D., & Dixon, C. (2004). Who will volunteer? Religiosity, everyday racism and social participation among African American men. Journal of Adult Development, 11, 261-272.

Lectures and Presentations