Geoffrey Wetherell

Assistant Professor of Psychology



Dr. Wetherell joined the faculty at Valparaiso University in 2015. He grew up in San Diego California, where he attended San Diego State University. He earned his Ph.D. from DePaul University in Chicago before joining the faculty at Valparaiso University. In his spare time, Dr. Wetherell enjoys interdisciplinary reading. His other hobbies currently include working with metal, raising chickens, and beekeeping.


Ph.D (Psychological Science) – DePaul University
M.A. (Psychological Science) – DePaul University B.A. (Psychology)
Minor (Spanish) – San Diego State University

Courses Taught
  • PSY 103/303 – Mentored/Mentoring Research in Psychology
  • PSY 110 – General Psychology
  • PSY 111 – Lab in General Experimental Psychology
  • PSY 225 – Social Psychology
  • PSY 202 – Research Methods in Psychology
  • PSY 201 – Statistical Methods
  • PSY 496 – Independent Research in Psychology
  • PSY 497  – Honors Work in Psychology
Research Interests

Dr. Wetherell has three primary and related research interests. First, Dr. Wetherell examines how beliefs (including stereotypes) about the beneficiaries of social and economic policies impact support for these policies. This program of research has examined how the belief that actual and potential policy beneficiaries violate or uphold cherished social values impacts policy support. For example, this line of research suggests that the belief that potential beneficiaries of market-based and public healthcare reform violate the value of hard work is related to decreased support for these policies, over and above beliefs about the appropriate role of government in healthcare.

Second, Dr. Wetherell examines the causes and consequences of political and moral beliefs. This line of research on the ideological conflict hypothesis has demonstrated that liberals and conservatives are often equally likely to exhibit prejudicial attitudes, support discriminatory behavior, and experience negative emotions (e.g. disgust) towards one another. Dr. Wetherell has also focused on factors that might exacerbate or mitigate these patterns, such as openness to experience.

Finally, Dr. Wetherell is interested in the way that our moral and political beliefs provide us with a sense of meaning in life. In this line of research Dr. Wetherell examines the potential for political and moral beliefs to both give people a sense of predictability and control over our social environments as well as a greater sense of purpose in life. So far, this research suggests that our moral beliefs may be a particularly potent tool for creating and defending a sense of meaning in life across these dimensions compared to other kinds of beliefs like social conventions.

Selected Publications

Davis, J., Wetherell, G., & Henry, P. J. (2018) Social Devaluation of African Americans and Race-Related Conspiracy Theories. European Journal of Social Psychology.

 Pfundmair, M., & Wetherell, G. (2018). Ostracism drives group moralization and extreme group behavior. The Journal of social psychology, 1-13.

Henry, P. J., & Wetherell, G. (2017). Countries with greater gender equality have more positive attitudes and laws concerning lesbians and gay men. Sex Roles77(7-8), 523-532.

Brandt, M. J., Wetherell, G., Crawford, J. T., Forgas, J., Jussim, L., & van Lange, P. (2016). Moralization and intolerance of ideological outgroups. The Social Psychology of Morality, 239.

Brandt, M. J., Chambers, J. R., Crawford, J. T., Wetherell, G., & Reyna, C. (2015). Bounded openness: The effect of openness to experience on intolerance is moderated by target group conventionality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology109(3), 549.

Wetherell, G. A. (2015). Morality provides meaning.

Wetherell, G., Benson, O. S., Reyna, C., & Brandt, M. J. (2015). Perceived value congruence and attitudes toward international relations and foreign policies. Basic and Applied Social Psychology37(1), 3-18.

Brandt, M. J., Reyna, C., Chambers, J. R., Crawford, J. T., & Wetherell, G. (2014). The ideological-conflict hypothesis: Intolerance among both liberals and conservatives. Current Directions in Psychological Science23(1), 27-34.

Reyna, C., Wetherell, G., Yantis, C., & Brandt, M. J. (2014). Attributions for sexual orientation vs. stereotypes: how beliefs about value violations account for attribution effects on anti‐gay discrimination. Journal of Applied Social Psychology44(4), 289-302.

Wetherell, G. A., Brandt, M. J., & Reyna, C. (2013). Discrimination across the ideological divide: The role of value violations and abstract values in discrimination by liberals and conservatives. Social Psychological and Personality Science4(6), 658-667.

Wetherell, G., Reyna, C., & Sadler, M. (2013). Public option versus the market: Perceived value violations drive opposition to healthcare reform. Political Psychology34(1), 43-66.

Reyna, C., Dobria, O., & Wetherell, G. (2013). The complexity and ambivalence of immigration attitudes: Ambivalent stereotypes predict conflicting attitudes toward immigration policies. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology19(3), 342.

Selected Recognitions and Media Coverage

2018            PsyPost Coverage: Feelings of social devaluation among African

Americans linked to belief in conspiracy theories.

2017            Politico Coverage: Why Liberals aren’t as Tolerant as They Think They Are.

2016            Honorable Mention, Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize: Brandt, M. J., Chambers, J. R., Crawford, J. T., Wetherell, G., & Reyna, C. (2015). Bounded openness: The effect of openness to experience on intolerance is moderated by target group conventionality. Journal of personality and social psychology109, 549-568.

  • Midwestern Psychological Association (2010-present)
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2009-present)