Elise Percy

Assistant Professor of Psychology



The experience of social creatures in a chaotic world is immensely complicated.  I'm most interested in how we use our minds to actively construct an understanding of what happens around us. In doing so, we distil, organize, and often slant what actually happens into a mental sketch that we can more easily handle. These interests inform the way I enthusiastically teach students in my Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, and Social Psychology courses. I'm passionate about showing others how mysterious, powerful, and even spellbinding human minds can be. Part of my research focuses on how exactly we make sense of such a mysterious, complicated world (for example, how we use mental tools like our language, attention, and stereotypes). A second part of my research focuses on the consequences, especially given our tendency to overlook the difference between these constructed images and actual experience itself. This overarching interest has led to projects intersecting with a number of different topic areas, such as judgment and decision making, psychology and the law, counterfactual thought, categorization, blame, and causal reasoning. Despite its diversity, all of my work is aimed toward understanding the intriguing and consequential activity of (perhaps quite literally) "making sense".