Joseph Vandello

Joseph Vandello

Professor and Area Director, Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social Program


Office: PCD 4135
Phone: 813/974-0362



Joe Vandello joined the faculty of the University of South Florida in 2002, after completing a 2-year postdoc at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000, and his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Iowa in 1994. He is a social psychologist with interests in gender, culture, aggression, prejudice, morality, and status.

In 2014, with his colleague Jennifer Bosson, Joe won the Researcher of the Year Award from the American Psychological Association, Division 51 (Society for the Psychological Study of Men & Masculinity), for their collaborative research on precarious manhood. In 2015, he won the University of South Florida’s Jerome Krivanek Distinguished Teacher Award for undergraduate teaching.


Research Interests

Manhood, work and family issues, cultural psychology, conflict and violence, race, social perceptions of disadvantaged groups, morality and moral judgments

Research Synopsis

I am a social and cultural psychologist interested in the interplay between individual, interpersonal, and cultural norms on human behavior. Much of the research I have been doing lately looks at how people understand gender, and specifically manhood. My colleague Jennifer Bosson and I developed a theory of precarious manhood that seeks to understand how people see manhood as distinct from womanhood, and we look at the consequence of this thinking for understanding men’s aggression, risk-taking, health, relationships, and attitudes toward work and family.

A second research goal is to understand how people perceive groups and individuals who are relatively disadvantaged or who have low status. I have published several papers on why people root for underdogs, and I’m interested in how feeling disadvantaged shaped moral decisions and behaviors.

A third research goal is to understand how conflicting norms about diversity, color-blindness, and political correctness influence judgments and decisions in social contexts. This work demonstrates that people are often loathe to make uncomfortable decisions that might appear prejudiced, so they will take measures that provide psychological comfort.


CNS (Social Psychology)