Mesmin Destin Assistant Professor

Program Area(s):



Socioeconomic status; educational motivation

Research Interests

In my research, I investigate how real characteristics of people's social environment, like opportunity structures, are perceived, interpreted, and can be reframed to influence cognition and motivation. I draw particular focus upon the ways that youth think about barriers and facilitators to future economic success, which can be directly linked to their everyday choices and educational outcomes. In addition to laboratory research, this work includes field experiments and assessments of subtle social psychological interventions amongst youth in diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

Selected Publications

Oyserman, D., & Destin, M. (2010). Identity-based motivation: Implications for intervention. The Counseling Psychologist, 38: 1001-1043. 

Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2010). Incentivizing education: Seeing schoolwork as an investment, not a chore. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46: 846–849. 

Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2009). From assets to school outcomes: How finances shape children’s perceived possibilities and intentions. Psychological Science, 20, 414-418. 

Williams Shanks, T., & Destin, M. (2009). Parental expectations and educational outcomes for young African American adults: Do household assets matter?. Race and Social Problems, 1, 27-35.