Kyle Ratner

Kyle Ratner

Associate Professor

Research Area

Social Psychology


Kyle Ratner received his B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University. He then worked as a research assistant at Harvard University and obtained an M.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from New York University. Prior to joining the faculty at UCSB, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at The Ohio State University.


Kyle Ratner investigates how social contexts interact with cognitive, affective, and biological processes to influence how we perceive other people, ourselves, and the world around us. He is particularly interested in the psychological and neural underpinnings of intergroup reactions (e.g., ingroup favoritism, prejudice, discrimination, stigma) and the consequences of these reactions for social relations and individual well-being. His current research uses methods from social psychology and cognitive neuroscience (e.g., fMRI and EEG) to study a variety of topics, including the ways that group identities do (and do not) influence face processing, how people infer racism from observing behavior, and effects of negative stereotypes and prejudice on incentive processing and motivation to engage in collective action.

Selected Publications

Madison, A. A., Way, B., Ratner, K. G., ..., Kiecolt-Glaser, J. (2023). Typhoid vaccine does not impact feelings of social connection or social behavior in a randomized crossover trial among middle-aged female breast cancer survivors. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 107, 124–131.
Hong, Y., Mayes, M. S., Munasinghe, A. P., & Ratner, K. G. (2022). Scrutinizing whether mere group membership influences the N170 Response to Faces: Results from two preregistered event-related potential studies. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 34, 1999–2015.
Hong, Y., & Ratner, K. G. (2021). Minimal but not meaningless: Seemingly arbitrary category labels can imply more than group membership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 120, 576–600. 
Welborn, B. L., Hong, Y., & Ratner, K. G. (2020). Exposure to negative stereotypes influences representations of monetary incentives in the nucleus accumbens. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15, 347–358. 
Ratner, K. G. (2020). Social Cognition. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Oxford University Press.
Ratner, K. G., Kaczmarek, A. R., & Hong, Y. (2018). Can over-the-counter pain medications influence our thoughts and emotions? Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5, 82-89.
Ratner, K. G., Katona, L. B. (2016). The peacebuilding potential of healthcare training programs. Conflict and Health, 10: 29.
Young, A. I., Ratner, K. G., & Fazio, R. H. (2014). Political attitudes bias the mental representation of a presidential candidate’s face. Psychological Science, 25, 503-510.

Ratner, K. G., Dotsch, R., Wigboldus, D. H., van Knippenberg, A., & Amodio, D. M. (2014). Visualizing minimal ingroup and outgroup faces: Implications for impressions, attitudes, and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 897–911.

Ratner, K. G., Kaul, C., & Van Bavel, J. J. (2013). Is race erased? Decoding race from multivariate patterns of neural activity when skin color is not diagnostic of group boundaries. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8, 750-755.

Ratner, K. G., Halim, M. L., & Amodio, D. M. (2013). Perceived stigmatization, ingroup pride, and immune and endocrine activity: Evidence from a community sample of Black and Latina women. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 82-91.

Ratner, K. G., & Kubota, J. T. (2012). Genetic contributions to intergroup responses: A cautionary perspective. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6: 223.

Amodio, D. M., & Ratner, K. G. (2011). A memory systems model of implicit social cognition. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 143-148.