Anna Reiman is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at SUNY Albany. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from Oxford University and her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Yale University. She completed postdoctoral fellowships at University of Exeter, UK and University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Reiman’s research focuses on intergroup relations, morality and justice, and psychology and the law.
What are your current research interests?
In my most recent work, I’ve begun to examine cisgender folks’ notions of womanhood, manhood, and gender identity, and what the consequences of those notions are for attitudes toward transgender and gender nonbinary people. As an example, in a project I’m particularly excited about, we are studying how cisgender people’s assumptions about and interpretations of workplace sexual harassment incidents are shaped by the victim’s gender identity. How people think about gender identity is a longstanding interest of mine, but one that I haven’t really delved into until recently. All of this work is under review, in revision, or being written up, and I’m looking forward to sharing the results soon.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m proudest of the work I’ve done that has direct real-world relevance to public policy—and of the fact that all of this work has been conducted in collaboration with my students. For example, we’ve shown that how people think about the abstract notions of deservingness and retributive justice has practical implications in terms of predicting support for objectively ineffective yet punitive policies (e.g., regarding the treatment of terrorism suspects and sex offenders). As another example, our latest work examines the role of social identity concerns in explaining cisgender people’s support for anti-transgender legislation. It’s an enormous privilege to be able to contribute to these important public policy debates.
Do you have any advice for individuals who wish to pursue a similar career path in social psychology?
1. Find time to read, and read widely—don’t limit yourself to your area of specialization, to “top” journals, or even to psychology. Read everything! 2. Learn about power analysis early in your career; it will have a dramatic impact on how you think about study design and will enable you to ask more impactful questions. 3. Do what you love—and learn to love writing.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
This advice wasn’t specifically directed at me, but reading a blog on running I once stumbled upon “you will want to stop—don’t”. This idea really stuck with me, and it now gets me through the first couple of miles of every 5K I run, spurs me to start writing that discussion section I’ve been avoiding, and generally gives me the sense that I can accomplish whatever I want as long as I want it enough. It’s pretty liberating!
What career path would you have chosen if you had decided to not pursue psychology?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archeologist. These days, I sometimes wish I’d gone to law school—I’d love to be a civil rights attorney. (That being said, I think I made the right choice with psychology!)