Lead Research Team

Principal Investigator 

Amber Gaffney

Amber M. Gaffney (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University) is an Associate Professor of Social Psychology at Cal Poly Humboldt. Her program of research focuses on social identity and categorization processes in social influence. She researches the ways in which both peripheral and prototypical group members and those who seemingly lack the ability to exert influence (e.g., minority groups, outgroup members) can change and extremitize group norms and identities. Amber currently serves as an associate editor for Group Processes and Intergroup Relations and on the editorial boards for Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy and the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology.

Teaching: Social Psychology (Undergraduate), Advanced Social Psychology (Graduate), Social Influence (Graduate/Undergraduate), Professional Development Seminar (Graduate), Analysis of Variance (Graduate), Regression (Graduate)


Benjamin Anjewierden

Benny completed his graduate studies at Cal Poly Humboldt’s Psychology department in May 2023, working under Dr. Amber Gaffney to earn his Master's degree in Academic Research with a focus in Social Psychology. He was the 2023 recipient of the Patricia O. McConkey Outstanding Graduate Student award.

Benny’s research interests on a basic, theoretical level are strongly tied to self-categorization theory and the motivations that underlie group identification. He is specifically interested in how concepts such as prototypicality and entitativity can be demonstrated mathematically, as well as how and why epistemic and enhancement motives explain reactions to deviant group membership. On a more applied level, Benny is interested in community relationships with law enforcement, which is related to his thesis, “Positive and Negative Contact as Predictors of Attitudes toward Law Enforcement.” His role in the Social Identity Lab is to mentor graduate and undergraduate members and manage and create theoretically grounded research.

Benny will be teaching Psychology of Prejudice and an Introduction to Psychological Statistics Lab as a Lecturer in the Cal Poly Humboldt Psychology department in Fall 2023.

Summer 2023 CV Link


Lily Syfers 

Dr. Lily Syfers earned her PhD in social psychology at the University of Alberta. She received her Master's degree in Academic Research Psychology (with a concentration in Social Psychology) as well as her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Cal Poly Humboldt in May, 2018. She studies how leaders influence their group members' perceptions of themselves and their collective identities. She is particularly interested in social identity change, the processes that contribute and motivate it, and polarized political identities. 

Lily contributes to the Social Identity Lab creatively through research and theory development and also mentors graduate and undergraduate students in the lab, providing them opportunities to gain experiences in data analysis, survey design, conference presentations, and publications. In addition, she consults in all aspects of data analysis, including the teaching of statistics.

Contact Lily