Adam Pearson

Associate Professor of Psychological Science; Chair of Psychological Science
With Pomona Since: 2011
  • Expertise


    Adam Pearson, PhD, is an associate professor of psychological science and a member of the graduate faculty in the School of Social Science, Policy, and Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University. His research explores how group processes impact environmental decision making and collective action. 

    Sustainability challenges like climate change are often characterized as collective action problems, however, beyond political influences, we know surprisingly little about how group dynamics influence how people think about these issues. Work in Professor Pearson's lab seeks to understand factors that make intergroup cooperation challenging for majority and minority groups, and the implications of these dynamics for addressing local and global sustainability challenges. 

    Current projects are exploring how race, ethnicity and social class influence political polarization around the issue of climate change, the impact of stereotypes and perceived norms on environmental decision making, public understanding of environmental inequities, and factors shaping public engagement with environmental organizations. For more on this work, see SCI Lab research page.

    At Pomona, Professor Pearson teaches Social Psychology, Research Design and Methodology, and Climate of Change, a cross-disciplinary seminar on climate change and human behavior, co-taught with Professor Lelia Hawkins, a climate scientist at Harvey Mudd College.

    He is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, an associate editor at Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, and has received early career awards from the American Psychological Association and the Society for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology. In 2019, he was a member of a Nature Sustainability expert panel that explored the role of behavioral scientists, architects and engineers in sustainable design, co-organized by the Center for Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative at UVA. His work has appeared in outlets such as TIME, The Boston Globe, Salon, New York Magazine, Huffington Post, NPR, and The Atlantic.

    Research Interests

    • Social psychology of climate change
    • Social influence and collective action
    • Psychology of inequality
    • Behavioral science approaches to sustainability

    Areas of Expertise


    • Social Psychology
    • Group Processes
    • Psychology of Climate Change
    • Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination
    • Environmental Psychology
  • Work


    Pearson, A. R., White, K. E., Nogueira, L. M., & Lewis, N. A., Jr., Green, D. J., Schuldt, J. P., & Edmondson, D. (in press). Climate change and health equity: A research agenda for psychological science. American Psychologist.

    Pearson, A. R., Schuldt, J. P., Romero-Canyas, R., Ballew, M. T., & Larson-Konar, D. (2018). Diverse segments of the US public underestimate the environmental concerns of minority and low-income Americans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(49), 12429-12434.

    Pearson, A. R., & Schuldt, J. P. (2018). Climate change and intergroup relations: Psychological insights, synergies, and future prospects. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 21, 373-388. 

    Pearson, A. R., & Schuldt, J. P. (2018). A diversity science approach to climate change. In S. Clayton & C. Manning (Eds.). Psychology and climate change: Human perceptions, impacts, and responses (pp.95-124). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.

    Pearson, A. R., Schuldt, J. P., & Romero-Canyas, R. (2016). Social climate science: A new vista for psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 632-650.

    Pearson, A. R., & Schuldt, J. P. (2014). Facing the diversity crisis in climate science. Nature Climate Change, 4, 1039-1042.

    West, T. V., Pearson, A. R., & Stern, C. (2014). Anxiety perseverance in intergroup interaction: When incidental explanations backfire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107, 825-843.

  • Education


    Yale University

    Master of Philosophy
    Yale University

    Master of Science
    Yale University

    Master of Arts
    University of Connecticut

    Bachelor of Science
    Cornell University

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Social Psychology
    • Research Design & Methodology
    • Climate of Change: Climate Science, Psychology, and Human Behavior
    • Seminar: Psychology of Climate Change
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Fellow, Society of Experimental Social Psychology

    Fellow, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

    Early Career Achievement Award, Society for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology (APA Division 34)

    Early Career Achievement Award, American Psychological Association

    Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues "Action Teaching Award" for innovative teaching

    Morton Deutsch Award, International Society for Justice Research