Sam Sommers

Sam Sommers

(617) 627-5293
490 Boston Avenue
Research/Areas of Interest:

social perception and judgment; psychology of racial equity and group diversity.


  • PhD, Psychology, University of Michigan, United States, 2002
  • MA, Psychology, University of Michigan, United States, 1999
  • BA, Psychology, Williams College, United States, 1997


Professor Sommers is an experimental social psychologist who studies racism, racial equity, and group diversity. His research explores racial inequities (and efforts to ameliorate them) in real-world domains including higher education, the criminal justice system, and popular media coverage. In recognition of this work, in 2008 he received the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence from the American Psychology-Law Society. For more details regarding publications, ongoing projects, and media coverage of his research, see his lab website.

At Tufts, Professor Sommers teaches courses in Introduction to Psychology (PSY 1), Social Psychology (PSY 13), Experimental Psychology (PSY 32), and upper-level seminars in social psychology and psychology and law. In 2007 he won the Lerman-Neubauer Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Advising at Tufts; in 2009 he was named Gerald R. Gill Professor of the Year by the Student Senate; in 2023 he received the Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award for Excellence in Teaching and Advising. He has written two general audience books: Situations Matter and This is Your Brain on Sports. He is also a co-author of textbooks for Introductory Psychology and Social Psychology.

Professor Sommers received his B.A. from Williams College and his PhD from the University of Michigan and has been at Tufts since 2003. As demonstrated by his office decor, he has not succumbed to normative social influence while in Boston, as he continues to be an avid Yankees fan. In his free time he manages the vaunted (and 2023 league champion!) Psychology Department softball team and exerts far more effort than he should collecting TV/movie clips and other pop culture examples for his lectures.

The Racial Equity & Diversity Lab is always looking for motivated, responsible, and creative students to assist with research projects. Undergraduates in his lab assist with a wide range of duties, including library research, study design, participant recruitment, data collection, data coding/entry, and data analysis. Contact him directly for more information about earning course credit through a research assistant position.