Dr. Robert Sellers is currently the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Education at University of Michigan. He attended Howard University where he earned All-America honors in football. After graduating cum laude with a B.S. in psychology in 1985, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in personality psychology from the University of Michigan in 1990. Following his graduate work, Dr. Sellers served as an Assistant and an Associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. In 1997, Dr. Sellers returned to the University of Michigan to continue his research and teaching. He served as Chair of the Department Psychology from 2011-2014. From July 2014 to August 2022, Dr. Sellers served as the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer. He served a past President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race. He is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association as well as the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Sellers has won numerous awards for his scholarship, mentorship, and service including the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award, Distinguished Scholar Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, The Theodore Millon Mid-Career Award in Personality Psychology, the Kenneth and Mamie Clark Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Professional Development of Ethnic Minority Graduate Students by the American Psychological Association, and the Association of Psychological Sciences Career Mentoring Award.

Research Interests

Dr. Sellers’s primary research activities have focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans where he and his students have developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity, the Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity (MMRI). The model delineates four dimensions: salience, centrality, regard, and ideology. He and his students over the years have consistently found evidence that MMRI dimensions: a) are predictive of numerous race-relevant and race non-relevant outcomes; b) vary across the life span with a variety of trajectories; c) are associated with well-being outcomes under certain conditions; and d) influence how African Americans experience and cope with racial discrimination. Along with MMRI-focused scholarship, Dr. Sellers and his lab have built a body of scholarship focused on parental racial socialization of African American children. As they expected, parents’ racial socialization practices were linked to specific racial identity attitudes in their children. Socialization practices also were shown to help mitigate the pernicious impacts of experiencing racial discrimination for African American children. Robert’s more recent work suggests a complex interplay between racial identity dimensions and racial discrimination experiences to predict a variety of life outcomes including mental health, physical health, and educational.

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Primary Section

Section 52: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences