Payton Small

Payton Small

Graduate Student



Brenda Major

Research Area

Social Psychology


Payton Small received his B.A in Psychology at UC Santa Cruz. He started his graduate studies in 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Brenda Major. Payton co-founded the Access Grads Mentorship program and served on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.


Our laboratory addresses how people with stigmatized identities cope with prejudice, discrimination, devalued social identities, and stressful life events. Ongoing studies examine how factors such as identification with one's ethnic group affect people's likelihood of seeing themselves as targets of discrimination and the downstream consequences for psychological well-being and physical health.

I have investigated how negative responses to unconventional claimed racial identities leads to essentialist views about race and how pushback against diversity initiatives results in decreased sensitivity to detecting discrimination against racial minorities. Additionally, I am interested in the experiences of multiracial individuals - the fastest growing racial group in the United States. 

[Racial and ethnic identity, discrimination and health, multiracial individuals,  zero-sum thinking and intergroup relations, group status threat]