Mesmin Destin Associate Professor

Program Area(s):



Socioeconomic status; educational motivation

SESP Profile

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:

Destin, M., Rheinschmidt-Same, M., & Richeson, J.R. (in press). Status-based identity: A conceptual framework integrating the social psychological study of socioeconomic status and identity. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Browman, A. S., & Destin, M. (2016). The Effects of a Warm or Chilly Climate Toward Socioeconomic Diversity on Academic Motivation and Self-Concept. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 172-187.

Oyserman, D., Destin, M., & Novin, S. (2015). The Context-Sensitive Future Self: Possible Selves Motivate in Context, Not Otherwise. Self and Identity, 14, 173-188.

Stephens, N. M., Hamedani, M. G., & Destin, M. (2014). Closing the social class achievement gap: A diversity education intervention improves first-generation students’ academic performance and all students’ college transition. Psychological Science, 25, 943-953.

Destin, M., Richman, S., Varner, F., & Mandara, J. (2012). “Feeling” hierarchy: The pathway from subjective social status to achievement. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 1571-1579.

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.