Marlone D. Henderson is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.S. from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from New York University. Dr. Henderson aims to understand the role basic cognitive processes play in promoting social harmony, and his research focuses on three domains: social conflict, social judgments, and prosocial behavior.
Do you have a favorite SPSP conference memory or story?
Presenting my first poster, which was my honor's thesis (examining the effects of learning versus performance goals on systematic versus heuristic processing). I was convinced that no one would find the topic interesting, or worse, that someone would come along and say that my idea had already been published. Several folks stopped by and I found the whole experience exhilarating.
Can you recall a moment, experience or person that influenced you or led you to decide that personality and social psychology was the path for you?
Lawrence Messe (an undergraduate social psychology instructor and my thesis advisor) and Norbert Kerr (head of the first social psych lab that I worked in).
How has your identity affected your career?
I identify as biracial, and for much of my adolescent and adult life I have shifted between the perspective of a majority versus minority group. I believe this experience has contributed to perspective taking in my research and teaching.
What are your current research interests?
Prosocial modeling in a group setting, following up on a paper my colleagues and I published (Henderson, M.D., Huang, S.C., & Chang, C.C.A., 2012). When others cross psychological distance to help: Highlighting prosocial actions toward outgroups encourages philanthropy (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, pp. 220-225). I'm developing a theory that aims to present a comprehensive framework for how people's feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are affected when they learn of others who engage in between-group versus within-group helping.
What is a recent journal article you recently read and would recommend (and why)?
Nelson-Coffey, S.K., Fritz, M.M., Lyubomirsky, S., & Cole, S. (2017). Kindness in the blood: A randomized controlled trial of the gene regulatory impact of prosocial behavior (Psychoneuroendocrinology, 81 , pp. 8-13), because of their inclusion of so many different, useful comparison groups and their ability to explain and show how prosocial behavior could cause changes in health.
What is the best book you’ve read or TV show or movie you’ve watched recently?
The best book that I've read recently was The Dry by Jane Harper. It's pretty dark, but a real page turner!