Wilson Merrell

Fellow
LIFE Michigan

LIFE Fellow since 2021, University of Michigan

I am a doctoral candidate in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan, working with Josh Ackerman and Arnold Ho. I graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a BA in Economics and Psychology, and worked for two years as an economic consultant at the Brattle Group in Washington DC before starting my doctoral studies in Ann Arbor. I am broadly interested in how fundamental (evolutionary) motivations shape judgment and decision-making in modern contexts. In one line of research, I examine how status-seeking motives influence perceptions of different consumer behaviors. In another, I am testing how motives to avoid physical harm shape stereotype formation in intergroup contexts. Broadly, I hope to integrate these, and other, lines of inquiry across evolutionary and ontogenetic levels of analysis to understand how fundamental motives shift and drive social outcomes across the lifespan.

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