Photo of Stephan Mayer
  • Professor of Psychology


  • BA, University Southern California, 1976
  • PhD, University Southern California, 1982


Trained as a social/personality psychologist, I have now also become interested in environmental and cultural psychology. Currently I teach Social Psychology, Cultural Psychology, Environmental Psychology, and Personality/Social Psychology Laboratory. I also participate in our team-taught introductory course (The Study of Behavior). I have also taught courses in prejudice and discrimination and a course focusing on issues and controversies in the area of intelligence research.

Research Interests

Currently, my research focuses primarily on environmental issues. Specifically, Cindy Frantz and I have initiated the Ecopsych Research Project, where we have been interested in factors that either enhance or detract from individuals' sense of feeling connected to nature. We have also investigated the benefits of feeling connected to nature, both for oneself and for the environment. This has been a wonderful collaboration, many students have helped us with this work, and there is still much work that needs to be done.

I also enjoy working with students on more discrete research projects. During the past several years much of this work has concentrated on how certain types of film and music can reduce a person's state of self-awareness. I have also collaborated with several groups of students on the image that people hold of romantic ideals. The basic question we have been addressing concerns how individual differences are related to different images of a romantic ideal. More recently, I have been working with several students on issues of personal and social identity and how the salience of a particular identity impacts a person's impressions of whether discrimination has occurred or not.

Other Interests

With a young son, I spend much of my spare time playing soccer and now coaching his soccer team. Having decided to take an alternative approach to his schooling, my wife Kristen and myself helped to create a homeschool group (FREE: Families Rediscovering Eclectic Education) and are living an "unschooling" lifestyle. For fun we like to garden, bike, camp, swim, and hike. I also make good use of the Oberlin College pool and lap swim most every day. Music, from Beethoven to Thelonious Monk to Liz Phair to Bruce Cockburn, also plays an important role in my life.


  • Cindy Frantz and Stephen Mayer Publish Article in Journal of Social Issues

    May 19, 2014

    Associate Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz and Professor of Psychology Stephen Mayer published an article entitled “The Emergence of Climate Change.” The article appears in the Journal of Social Issues, a publication of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. It explores the psychology behind the disparities between the scientific consensus on climate change and people’s willingness to recognize and respond to it.