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Dana Charles Leighton

Dana Leighton Headshot

This is the academic web site of Dana C. Leighton, Ph.D. I have expertise in research methodology, statistics, social psychology, and cognitive psychology.

In my 20+ year career, I have researched the areas of social-cognitive psychology and peace psychology, and have over 40 presentations and 13 research publications that have informed over 500 other studies. I am currently investigating the concept of a “scope of justice,” or the individuals we include in our “moral community,” those we deem worthy of just distribution of tangible and intangible social goods. This research is leading me to investigate the effects of intergroup threat, particularly cultural and economic threats, on the contraction of the scope of justice. I am also beginning a line of research on intergroup trust and its role in moral exclusion and peacebuilding.

I am an Associate Professor of Psychology at Texas A&M University—Texarkana, where I manage the learning of 275+ students per year. I am teaching a variety of courses including General Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Careers in Psychology, History of Psychology, and Research Methods. In the Peace and Justice Psychology Laboratory, I manage 4-6 simultaneous research projects with collaborative teams of 2-7 undergraduate and graduate student research assistants to help them learn research methods, statistics, and team and project management. My Psychology lecture podcasts have been downloaded over 23 million times.

I earned my Doctor of Philosophy degree in experimental psychology at the University of Arkansas, working in the lab of Dr. David A. Schroeder, Professor of Psychology. Dave’s a great researcher and mentor, with interests are in prosocial behavior, social dilemmas, and justice concerns. I worked in the lab with my fellow student, Dennis Poepsel, and a great group of undergraduate research assistants.

I completed my Master of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia, in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, studying Social Psychology. At the University of British Columbia, I was a student of Dr. Peter Suedfeld, an amazing person and outstanding researcher in Political Psychology, Environmental Psychology, and Social Psychology. I worked in Dr. Suedfeld's REST lab, where we did research on restricted environments and also on my area of interest, Integrative Complexity. I also worked with Dr. Mark Schaller, studying prejudice and stereotyping behaviors. I worked in his Social Cognition Lab, looking at how people think about each other.

I am an alumnus of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where I earned my Bachelor's degree in Psychology. It's an amazing college with fantastic opportunities for bright, motivated students to excel in a supportive, yet academically challenging environment. Check it out if you're looking for a good undergraduate college.

I also attended a number of community colleges, and taught at two community colleges between my master’s degree and enrolling for my PhD at the University of Arkansas. One reason I liked teaching at the community college is the commitment to egalitarianism in education, and also that I could "give back" to the system that allowed me to change my career from software development to psychology.

For more details on my career, see my curriculum vitae.

  • 7101 University Ave
  • Texarkana, TX 75503
  • p: 903.223.3000
  • f: 903.223.3104
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