Todd D. Nelson, Ph.D.
Gemperle Foundation Distinguished Professor

Department of Psychology

California State University - Stanislaus

Turlock, California 95382

Phone: (209) 667-3442

Send tnelson@athena.csustan.edu

Current Research Interests

Stereotyping and Prejudice
Cognitive processes associated with use of stereotypes in impression formation; role of affect in guiding attitudes about stereotyped others; affective outcomes of using cognitive heuristics in intergroup interaction.

Cognitive Neuroscience
Neural substrates associated with various social behaviors, with special emphasis on working memory, and cognitive inhibition. Neural substrates of inhibition of affective and non-affective concepts. Influence of age on the ability to inhibit influence of unwanted & irrelevant information in working memory tasks (e.g. attitude formaton). Use of fMRI to examine social cognitive neuroscience questions.

Impact of affective and cognitive attitude components on attitude change; formation and representation of attitude components in memory; measurement of peripheral cue representation; direct and indirect means of attitude formation and change.

Prosocial Behavior
Egoistic vs. altruistic motives for prosocial behavior; evidence for a unitary or multifaceted ultimate goal in prosocial behavior; cognitive and affective processes in empathy-motivated helping behavior; effects of implicit attitudes on prosocial behavior.

Organization of goal-directed behavior; action maintenance; cognitive arousal in discrepancies between real-ideal behavioral states; effects of affective states on goal-pursuit and disengagement; cognitive self-efficacy appraisal processes at decisional junctures in goal-directed behavior.


Nelson, T. D. (2002). The Psychology of Prejudice, Allyn & Bacon.

Nelson, T. D. (Ed.) (2002). Ageism: Stereotypes and prejudice against older persons, MIT Press.


Nelson, T. D. (2000). Cognitive consistency theories. In E. F. Borgatta & R. J. V. Montgomery (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Sociology (2nd Ed., pp. 334-342). New York: Macmillan.

Nelson, T. D. (1999). Motivational bases of prosocial and altruistic behavior: A critical reappraisal. CSUS Journal of Research,4, 23-31.

Nelson, T. D. (1998). A Stimulus-Response Social Psychology? American Psychologist, 53 (9),1078.

Nelson, T. D. (1998). A feedback model of motivation in behavior regulation. CSUS Journal of Research,2,44-51.

Nelson, T. D. (1997). Mood regulation prior to social interaction: Mood Maintenance versus Neutralization.Journal of Social Psychology, 137 (4), 535-537.

Nelson, T. D. (1995). The control of consciousness via a neuropsychological feedback loop. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 18 (4), 690-691.

Nelson, T. D. (1993). The hierarchical organization of behavior: A useful feedback model of self-regulation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2 (4), 121-126.


Papers Presented

Nelson, T. D. (2001, February). Ageism: The Origin and Perpetuation of Stereotypes and Prejudice Against Older Persons. Paper presented at the first annual conference of the CSUS Gerontology Interest Group, Turlock, CA.

Nelson, T. D. (1997, August). Influence of integral and incidental discomfort on stereotyping and prejudice. Paper presented at the 105th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Chicago.

Messe, L. A., Bodenhausen, G. V., & Nelson, T. D. (1995, June). Affect-cognition congruence and attitude change: A re-examination. Paper presented at the 7th annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, New York.

Taylor, S., Dovidio, J. F., & Nelson, T. D. (1995, May).Implicit attraction: Influence of unconsciously-formed attitudes on helping. Paper presented at the 67th annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.

Nelson, T. D. (1993, June). A feedback model of motivation in behavior regulation. Paper presented at the 5th annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, Chicago.

Nelson, T. D., Baumgardner, A. H., & Kiehle, D. (1993, April). Mood regulation before social interaction: Evidence for affect distancing. Paper presented at the 65th annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.

Nelson, T. D., Catanzaro, S. J., & Pryor, J. B. (1992, May). The adaptive impact of enhanced self-focus on minimal goal setting. Paper presented at the 64th annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.

Nelson, T. D., & Fleming, J. H. (1990, June). Ability to choose questions toward an expectancy affects the expectancy confirmation process. Paper presented at the 2nd annual meeting of the American Psychological Society, Dallas.

Grants, Honors & Awards

Gemperle Foundation Distinguished Professor, 2001-2004. 3-year Grant for research program: "(Dis)respecting Your Elders: Investigating the Economic, Political, Medical, and Psychological Impact of Ageism.

Elected to Phi Kappa Phi, 2001.


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University of Minnesota B.A., Psychology, 1989
Illinois State University M.S., Clinical Psychology, 1991
Michigan State University Ph.D., Social Psychology, 1996


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