• Dr. Jason A. Okonofua

    Applying Science to Solve Real World Issues




    Dr. Jason Okonofua is a social psychologist in the Psychology Department at the University of California at Berkeley. His interest in science-based and scalable strategies to combat inequity in society spans contexts such as education, criminal justice, and business. It investigates how negative stereotypes can contribute to disparities in life outcomes and how that process can be dismantled. This information is used to scientifically test feasible solutions. For example, he investigates how bias can be sidelined in pivotal real-world contexts such that historical and pervasive societal issues can be addressed:




    Criminal Justice


    Dr. Okonofua's work is situated to inform psychological theory, field experimentation, and public policy.


    Science interests: scalable psychological intervention, behavioral science, education, criminal justice.


    Learn more at: empathicinstruction.org

  • Applied Research

    What does the science say?



    What do we know about discipline problems?


    A Vicious Cycle - Perspective on Psychological Science


    How can we better understand K-12 school discipline?


    A Dynamic Nature - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


    How can we reduce discipline problems?


    An Empathic Mindset - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


    How can we close racial disparities in discipline rates?


    An Empathic Mindset - Science Advances


    How to do something today?


    Empathic Instruction




    Curriculum Vitae


    Assistant Professor, Psychology Department

    University of California, Berkeley, CA 2016-present


    Post Doctoral Researcher, Psychology Department

    Stanford University, Stanford, CA 2015-2016



    Ph.D. in psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

    Advisers: Dr. Gregory Walton & Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt


    B.A. in Psychology and African American studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

    Advisers: Dr. Jennifer Richeson & Dr. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale June 2008




    2023 APS Fellow, Association for Psychological Science

    2023 Cialdini Prize,Society for Personality and Social Psychology

    2022 JanetTaylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, Association
    for Psychological Science

    2022 Rising Star Award, Association forPsychological Science

    2022 Foundations for Change: Thomas I.Yamashita Prize

    2017 Cialdini Prize, Society for Personality andSocial Psychology

    2015 People’s Choice Award, TheRoot 100,

    2015 Distinguished Scholar Award,Stanford University, Vice Provostof Graduate Education

    2015 Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence, StanfordUniversity

    2013 GraduateResearch Opportunity Award, Stanford University

    2013 DiversityTravel Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)

    2011 OutstandingGraduate Teaching Award, Stanford University, Psychology One Program





    Darling-Hammond, S.*, Ruiz, M.*,Eberhardt, J. L., & Okonofua, J. A.(2023). The dynamic nature of student discipline and discipline
    disparities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(17),e2120417120.


    Ferguson, Z. E.*, Jarvis, S. N.*,Antonoplis, S.*, & Okonofua, J. A.(2023). Principal Beliefs Predict Responses to Individual Students’
    Misbehavior. Educational Researcher,0013189X231158389.


    Afulani, P. A.,Okiring, J., Aborigo, R. A., Nutor, J. J., Kuwolamo, I., Dorzie, J. B. K., Semko,
    S.*, Okonofua, J. A., & Mendes,W. B. (2023). Provider implicit and explicit bias in person-centered maternity
    care: a cross-sectional study with maternity providers in Northern Ghana. BMC Health Services Research, 23(1),1-15.


    Okonofua,J. A., Harris, L. T.,& Walton, G. M. (2022). Sidelining Bias: A Situationist Approach to Reduce
    the Consequences of Bias in Real-World Contexts. Current Directions inPsychological Science, 09637214221102422.


    Okonofua, J. A. (2022). Controlled labexperiments are one of many useful scientific methods to investigate bias. Behavioraland Brain Sciences, 45.


    Okonofua, J. A., Goyer, J. P., Lindsay,C. A., Haugabrook, J., & Walton, G. M. (2022). A scalable empathic-mindset
    intervention reduces group disparities in school suspensions. Science Advances,8(12), eabj0691.


    Perez*, A. D., & Okonofua, J. A. (2022). The good andbad of a reputation: Race and punishment in K-12 schools. Journal ofExperimental Social Psychology, 100, 104287.


    Walton, G. M., Okonofua, J. A., Remington Cunningham, K., Hurst, D., Pinedo, A.,Weitz, E., Ospina, J. P., Tate, H., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2021). Lifting the
    Bar: A Relationship-Orienting Intervention Reduces Recidivism Among Children
    Reentering School From Juvenile Detention. Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/09567976211013801
    + Received the 2022 Cialdini Prize from SPSP


    Bookser, B. A.*, Ruiz, M.*, Olu-Odumosu,A.*, Kim, M.*, Jarvis, S. N.*, & Okonofua,J. A. (2021). Context matters for preschool discipline: Effects of distancelearning and pandemic fears. School Psychology.


    Okonofua, J. A., Saadatian, K.*, Ocampo,J.*, Ruiz, M.*, & Oxholm, P. D.* (2021). A scalable empathic supervision
    intervention to mitigate recidivism from probation and parole. Proceedingsof the National Academy of Sciences, 118(14).


    Okonofua,J. A., Perez, A. D.*,& Darling-Hammond, S.* (2020). When policy and psychology meet: Mitigating
    the consequences of bias in schools. Science Advances, 6.


    Jarvis, S. N.*, & Okonofua, J. A. (2020). Schooldeferred: When bias affects school leaders. Social Psychological andPersonality Science, 11(4), 492-498.


    Goyer, P., Walton, G. M., Cook, J., Master, A., Apfel, N., Garcia. J., Okonofua, J.A., & Cohen, G. L. (2019). A brief middle school social-belonging intervention reducesdiscipline incidents among Black boys through the end of high school. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


  • News Coverage


    Segment on Melissa Harris Perry’s Show

    Watch interview about my research that shows how large race disparities in school discipline in the United States are, in part, driven by racial stereotypes that can lead teachers to escalate their negative responses to Black students over the course of multiple interpersonal (e.g., teacher-to-student) encounters.

    The New York Times

    Article by David L. Kirp

    The Wall Street Journal

    Article by Alison Gopnik

    Pacific Standard

    Article by Nathan Collins

  • Ongoing Work