Hazel Rose Markus

Hazel Rose Markus is a social psychologist and a pioneer in the field of cultural psychology. She is the Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in Stanford, California, where she also co-directs the Mind, Culture, and Society Lab and Stanford SPARQ: Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions. Her research interests include culture, ethnicity, self, identity formation, emotion, gender, and motivation.

A former president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of the Donald T. Campbell Award, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology Distinguished Scientist Award, and the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. Markus is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.[1]


Markus was born Hazel June Linda Rose in London, England, in 1949 to a British-Catholic mother and a Jewish-American father. When Markus was four years old, the Rose family immigrated to San Diego, California, where she grew up to be an accomplished longboard surfer.

Markus received her bachelor's degree in psychology from San Diego State University, where she initially wanted to pursue a career in journalism.[2] After a demonstration in Psychology 101, however, she changed her major to psychology. She earned her doctorate in social psychology from the University of Michigan, where she later became one of the university’s faculty members. During her time at the University of Michigan, she was also a research scientist at the Institute for Social Research.

With her husband, the late social psychologist Robert Zajonc, Markus moved to the Stanford department of psychology in 1994. As a psychology professor and co-founder of the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Markus continues her research on how cultures and selves make each other up.

Research contributions

Markus' most significant contributions to social psychology are her conceptualizations of the self-schema (Markus, 1977),[3] of the mutual constitution of self and culture, and of the distinction between the independent and interdependent self (Markus & Kitayama, 1991).[4] The self-schema is a cognitive representation that organizes knowledge about the self and guides processing of self-relevant information. In Study 1 of Markus (1977), participants completed a reaction time task, where they were presented with personality traits and asked to hit a button labeled "Me" if the trait was self-descriptive and another button labeled "Not Me" if the trait was not self-descriptive. When participants classified a trait that they had previously said described themselves, they were faster to categorize the trait with the "Me" button than participants who had previously said the trait was only moderately descriptive. The faster response time of people who felt the trait was self-descriptive reflects an association of that trait with their self-schema. Self-schemas and the self-concept remain among the most researched concepts in social psychology.

Markus is also a pioneering figure in cultural psychology, a field which explores how cultural contexts both shape and reflect individuals' emotions, cognitions, motivations, and other psychological processes (Kim & Markus, 1999) in a process that Markus and her coauthors call mutual constitution or the culture cycle. Her recent research includes biracial identity,[5][6] where she found that for ethnicity reports on forms such as the SAT or the census, if a biracial person is not allowed to choose to identify with more than one race, their self-esteem lowers. This was apparent in a survey that they were to take following the ethnicity report during the research. Also, biracial individuals from higher socioeconomic levels are more likely to admit to their biracial status. Asian/White are most likely to mark their ethnicity as biracial, followed by Black/White, and then Latino/White. Markus has also completed research on differences between East-Asian and European-American cultural norms,[7][8] as well as biological differences that occur from different cultural perspectives and practices.[9][10] Markus found that older Japanese adults reported an increase in personal growth as they aged, whereas older Americans reported a decrease. Interpersonal well-being is also rated higher in older Japanese adults. However, both Japanese and American adults reported a lack of purpose in life as they age.

Selected publications

Recent books

  • Markus, H. R., & Conner, A. L. (2013). Clash! 8 Cultural Conflicts that Make Us Who We Are. New York: Penguin (Hudson Street Press).
  • Fiske, S. & Markus, H. R. (2012). Facing social class: How societal rank influences interaction. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Markus, H. R., & Moya, P. (2010). Doing Race: 21 essays for the 21st century. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

Journal articles

  • Hamedani, M. G., Markus, H. R., & Fu, A. S. (2013). In the land of the free, interdependent action undermines motivation. Psychological Science.
  • Stephens, N. M., Markus, H. R., & Fryberg, S. A. (2012). Social class disparities in health and education: Reducing inequality by applying a sociocultural self model of behavior. Psychological Review, 119(4), 723-744.
  • Plaut, V. C., Markus, H. R., Treadway, J. R., & Fu, A. S. (2012). The cultural construction of self and well-being: A tale of two cities. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(12), 1644-1658.
  • Stephens, N. M., Fryberg, S. A., Markus, H. R., Johnson, C. S., & Covarrubias, R. (2012). Unseen disadvantage: How the American universities’ focus on independence undermines the academic performance of first-generation college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 1178-1197.
  • Savani, K., Stephens, N., & Markus, H.R. (2011). The unanticipated interpersonal and societal consequences of choice: Victim-blaming and reduced support for the public good. Psychological Science, 22(6), 795-802.
  • Markus, H. R. (2010). Who am I?: Race, ethnicity and identity. In H. Markus & P. Moya (Eds.), Doing race: 21 essays for the 21st century. New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Savani, K., Markus, H. R., Naidu, N. V. R., Kumar, S., & Berlia, N. (2010). What counts as a choice? U.S. Americans are more likely than Indians to construe actions as choices. Psychological Science, 14(3), 391-398.
  • Stephens, N., Hamedani, M., Markus, H., Bergsieker, H. B., & Eloul, L. (2009). Why did they “choose” to stay? Perspectives of Hurricane Katrina observers and survivors. Psychological Science, 20, 878-886.
  • Savani, K., Markus, H., & Conner A. L. (2008). Let your preference be your guide? Preferences and choices are more tightly linked for North Americans than for Indians. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(4), 861-876.
  • Markus, H. (2008). Pride, prejudice, and ambivalence: Toward a unified theory of race and ethnicity. American Psychologist, 63(8), 651-670.
  • Schwartz, B., Markus, H. R., & Snibbe, A. C. (2006). Is freedom just another word for many things to buy? The New York Times. February 26.
  • Conner Snibbe, A., & Markus, H. R. (2005). You can’t always get what you want: Social class, agency and choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(4), 703-720.
  • Adams, G., & Markus, H. R. (2004). Toward a conception of culture suitable for a social psychology of culture. In M. Schaller & C. S. Crandall (Eds.), The psychological foundations of culture (pp. 335-360). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (2003). Models of agency: Sociocultural diversity in the construction of action. In V. Murphy-Berman & J. Berman (Eds.), The 49th Annual Nebraska symposium on motivation: Cross-cultural differences in perspectives on self (pp. 1-57). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Kim, H., & Markus, H. R. (2002). Freedom of speech and freedom of silence: A cultural analysis of talking. In R. Shweder, M. Minow, & H. Markus (Eds.), Engaging cultural differences: The multicultural challenge in liberal democracies (pp. 432-452). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Markus, H. R., Steele, C. M., & Steele, D. M. (2000). Colorblindness as a barrier to inclusion: Assimilation and nonimmigrant minorities. Daedalus, 129(4), 233-259.
  • Kim, H., & Markus, H. R. (1999). Deviance or uniqueness, harmony or conformity? A cultural analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(4), 785-800.
  • Heine, S. J., Lehman, D. R., Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1999). Is there a universal need for positive self-regard? Psychological Review, 106(4), 766-794.
  • Fiske, A., Kitayama, S., Markus, H. R., & Nisbett, R. E. (1998). The cultural matrix of social psychology. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology, Vol. 2 (4th ed., pp. 915-981). San Francisco: McGraw-Hill.
  • Markus, H. R., Kitayama, S., & Heiman, R. (1997). Culture and “basic” psychological principles. In E. T. Higgins & A. W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 857-913). New York: Guilford.
  • Markus, H. R., Mullally, P., & Kitayama, S. (1997). Selfways: Diversity in modes of cultural participation. In U. Neisser & D. Jopling (Eds.), The conceptual self in context: Culture, experience, self-understanding (pp. 13-61). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1994). A collective fear of the collective: Implications for selves and theories of selves. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 568-579.
  • Oyserman, D., & Markus, H. R. (1993). The sociocultural self. In J. Suls (Ed.), Psychological perspectives on the self (Vol. 4, pp. 187-220). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Markus, H., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224-253.
  • Markus, H., & Nurius, P. (1986). Possible selves. American Psychologist, 41, 954-969.
  • Markus, H., & Kunda, Z. (1986). Stability and malleability in the self-concept in the perception of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(4), 858-866.
  • Markus, H., & Zajonc, R. B. (1985). The cognitive perspective in social psychology. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (pp. 137-229, 3rd ed.). New York: Random House.
  • Markus, H. (1980). The self in thought and memory. In D. M. Wegner & R. R. Vallacher (Eds.), The self in social psychology (pp. 102-130). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum.
  • Markus, H. (1977). Self-schemata and processing information about the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 63-78.


  1. "National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  2. (2010). Award for distinguished scientific contributions: Hazel rose markus. American Psychologist, 63(8), 648-670. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.63.8.648
  3. Markus, Hazel Rose (1977). "Self-schemata and processing information about the self". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 35: 63–78. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.35.2.63.
  4. Markus, Hazel Rose; Kitayama, Shinobu (April 1991). "Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, motivation, and emotion". Psychological Review. 98 (2): 224–253. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.98.2.224.
  5. Townsend, S. S. M., Fryberg, S. A., Wilkins, C. L., & Markus, H. B. (2012). Being mixed: Who claims a biracial identity?. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 18(1), 91-96. doi: 10.1037/a0026845
  6. Townsend, S.S.M., Markus, H.R., Bergsieker, H.B. (2009). My choice, your categories: The denial of multiracial identities. Journal of Social Issues. 65(1), 185-204. doi: 0.1111/j.1540-4560.2008.01594.x
  7. DiMaggio, P., & Markus, H. R. (2010). Cultural and social psychology:converging perspectives. Social Psychology Quarterly, 73(4), 347-352. doi: 10.1177/0190272510389010
  8. Boiger, M., Mesquita, B., Tsai, A., & Markus, H. B. (2012). Influencing and adjusting in daily emotional situations: A comparison of European and Asian american action styles. Cognition and Emotion, 26(2), 332-340. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2011.572422
  9. Coe, C. L., Love, G. D., Karasawa, M., Kawakami, N., Kitayama, S., Markus, H. R., … Ryff, C. D. (2011). Detailed record population differences in proinflammatory biology: Japanese have healthier profiles than americans. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 25(3), 494-502. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.11.013
  10. Karasawa, M., Curhan, K. B., Markus, H. R., Kitayama, S. S., Love, G. D., Radler, B. T., & Ryff, C. D. (2011). cultural perspectives on aging and well-being: A comparison of japan and the united states. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 73(1), 73-98. doi: 10.2190/AG.73.1.d
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