Dr. Leonard 2

Diana J Leonard

Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair

Biology-Psychology 240, MSC: 16

Area of Specialty: Social and Political Psychology

Academic Credentials

PhD University of California, Santa Barbara 2012; BA Northwestern University 2004


  • Psy 260: Social Psychology
  • Psy 300: Research Methods
  • Psy 325: Social Norms
  • Psy 465: Advanced Social Psychology


Intergroup communication: Primarily, I study the ways in which the emotions we feel as a consequence of our social identities alter three processes: intergroup apology, perceived group victimization, and reactions to group disadvantage. Racial passing: In a new line of work, I have begun exploring moral judgments of racial passing behavior. That is, when people “transgress” boundaries of racial categorization, how do we as perceivers judge and, in some cases, denigrate these social actors and their behaviors? Roleplay studies: Finally, as a self-proclaimed “geek”, I have enjoyed applying classic models of small group dynamics to the study of conflict and change in live action roleplaying (larp) groups. 


Professional Experience

While growing up in NYC, I became curious about the role of motivation and context in social judgments. Later, as part of my bachelors in Psychology at Northwestern University, I did an honors thesis examining the role of biracial identity in perception of other-raced faces. I went on to earn my PhD in Social Psychology at the University of California Santa Barbara, studying social identity and intergroup emotions with Dr. Diane Mackie. My research examined the role of emotions in shaping protest and intergroup apology. I also nourished my passion for teaching through UCSB’s rigorous teaching emphasis.

Since arriving at Lewis & Clark in 2012, I have continued to study group dynamics, and I share my enthusiasm for psychological science through teaching and mentoring undergraduates. I also use my expertise in intergroup dynamics as a member of the Ethnic Studies and E&D steering committees, as faculty fellow for Akin Hall (our multicultural engagement-themed living and learning community), and in workshops I conduct around issues of diversity and inclusion for staff, faculty and students at LC and in the greater Pacific Northwest. In recognition of this work, I have been honored with an Impact Award from our Department of Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement.

Location: Biology-Psychology Hall