Russ Webster, Ph.D.

Russ Webster
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Psychological & Social Sciences
Office Phone
Office Location
Woodland, 236A


Ph.D. (Personality/Social Psychology), Kansas State University (2012)
M.A. (Cognitive and Social Processes), Ball State University (2006)
B.A. (Psychology & French), North Central College (2003)

Before joining Penn State Abington, Dr. Webster held visiting professorships at Gustavus Adolphus College, North Central College, and St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Research Interests

Broadly, I research how the person (personality, attributions, and attitudes) and the situation contribute to (1) intergroup prejudice (primary research line) and (2) magical thinking (secondary research line). Most recently, I have focused most of my attention on investigating how, under different conditions, belief in pure evil and belief in pure good relate to aggression and prosociality. I have also disseminated research on teaching/administration in higher education and Army leadership via research fellowships.

Research Areas

Prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination; belief in pure evil and belief in pure good; prosociality and altruism; political psychology and political orientation; human sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation; magical thinking, fantasy, and superstition.

Research in the News

Dr. Webster’s research has been featured in several prominent popular media sources, including:

Courses and Teaching

PSYCH 200: Elementary Statistics in Psychology
PSYCH: 296: ACURA (Abington College Undergraduate Research Activities)
PSYCH 238: Introduction to Personality
PSYCH 422: Psychology of Human Sexuality
PSYCH 497: Psychology of Evil

Representative Publications

(*Indicates undergraduate co-author; §Indicates equal co-authorship)

Saucier, D. A., Webster, R. J., McManus, J. L., Sonnetag, T. L., O’Dea, C.J., & Strain, M. L. (in press). Individual differences in masculine honor beliefs predict attitudes toward aggressive security measures, war, and peace. Peace and Conflict: The Journal of Peace Psychology.

*§Vasturia, D., §Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D.A. (in press). Demons with firepower: How belief in pure evil relates to perceptions and evaluations of gun violence perpetrators. Personality and Individual Differences.

Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2017). Angels everywhere? How beliefs in pure evil and pure good predict perceptions of heroic behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 387-392. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.08.037.

Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2015). Demons everywhere? The effects of belief in pure evil, demonization, and retribution on punishing criminal perpetrators. Personality and Individual Differences, 74, 72-77.  doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.09.041

*§Fluke, S., §Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2014). Methodological and theoretical improvements in the study of superstitious beliefs and behavior. British Journal of Psychology, 105, 102-126. [Early View Online Article] doi: 10.1111/bjop.12008

Saucier, D. A., Webster, R. J., Bynum, B. H., & Strain, M. L. (2014).  Social vigilantism and reported use of strategies to resist persuasion. Personality and Individual Differences, 70, 120-125.  doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.031

Webster, R. J., *Burns, M. D., *Pickering, M., & Saucier, D. A. (2014). The suppression and justification of prejudice as a function of political orientation. European Journal of Personality, 28, 44-59. doi: 10.1002/per.1896  [Early View Online Article]

Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2013). Angels and demons are among us: Assessing individual differences in belief in pure evil and belief in pure good. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1455-1470.  doi: 10.1177/0146167213496282 [An OnlineFirst Publication]

Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2011a). The effects of death reminders on sex differences in prejudice toward gay men and lesbians. Journal of Homosexuality, 58(3), 402-426. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2011.546735

Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2011b). I believe I can fly: Re-Examining individual differences in imaginative involvement. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 30, 425-455. doi: 10.2190/IC.30.4.f

Grover, K. S., Miller, C. T., Solomon, S., Webster, R. J., & Saucier, D. A. (2010). Mortality salience and perceptions of people with AIDS: Understanding the role of prejudice. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32, 315-327. doi: 10.1080/01973533.2010.519252

Saucier, D. A., & Webster, R. J. (2010). Social vigilantism: Measuring individual differences in belief superiority and resistance to persuasion. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 19-32. doi: 10.1177/0146167209346170 [An OnlineFirst Publication]

Webster, R. J., Saucier, D. A., & Harris, R. J. (2010). Before the measurement of prejudice: Early psychological and sociological papers on prejudice. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 46, 300-313. doi: 10.1002/jhbs.20442

Internal Grants

2017-2018 - Summer Faculty Research Fellowship, $4,000 

2017-2018 - Faculty Development Grant, $1,125 

2016-2017 - Faculty Development Grant, $3,320

Book Chapters

Saucier, D. A., Webster, R. J., O’Dea, C. J., & Miller, S. S. (forthcoming). The role of individual differences in inciting anger and social action. In S. C. Cloninger & S. A. Leibo (Eds.) Angry groups and politics: How they change society, and how we can affect their behavior. Praeger.

Webster, R. J., Saucier, D. A., & Parks, G. S. (2011). New bottle, same old wine: The GOP and race in the age of Obama. In G. S. Parks & M. Hughey (Eds.), The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America (pp. 266- 284). New York: Oxford University Press. doi: 0199735204