Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino joined the History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences department at RISD in the fall of 2007, after completing her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Oklahoma. As RISD’s first full-time psychology professor, Jennifer’s course offerings include introductory classes in psychology, as well as topics courses on a wide range of issues (e.g., Psychology of Evil, Psychology of Gender, Stereotypes and Prejudice, Gender and the Media). She is actively involved in both curricular and extracurricular initiatives to promote greater awareness of diversity issues (especially those involving gender and sexuality).
Jennifer’s primary research explores the power of social identity and role norms generally (and gender and parental status in particular) powerfully shape how we think about ourselves, behave, and speak.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, getting to see the world anew through the eyes of an amazing kiddo (daughter Lillie) and share these experiences with her best friend (husband Paul). She also maintains Tumblr blogs for her classes, including this one that highlights issues of gender, sexuality, and race in modern popular media.
The Transition to (m)Otherhood in Modern America
Jennifer is writing a book about the transition to motherhood in modern American society, including the difficultly that many women experience grappling with the hefty social, economic, political, and biological burdens of new motherhood. Her work explores how aspects of modern American culture contribute to a growing tendency toward anxiety and depression in the postpartum period and what changes are necessary to help women thrive in their new role as mother.
Gendering of Language
In addition to her work on motherhood, Jennifer’s current work explores the gendering of language and its link to gender inequality, both in terms of larger language systems as well as how men and women speak in everyday life and how such speech differences may contribute to status hierarchies.
Additional Completed Research
Additional lines of research involve investigating how memberships in social groups and categories are a central part of people’s understanding of the self, and how threats to these identifications can have powerful implications for people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In addition, Jennifer has explored the links between narcissism, self-affect, and self-conscious emotions as well as cross-cultural reactions to social identity threats. Her work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Self and Identity, Sex Roles, Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, and the Journal of East Asian Studies.
Contact Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino