Teceta Tormala, PhD

Palo Alto University Faculty Teceta_Tormala


Associate Professor, Faculty Director of Equity and Inclusion

Contact Information:

(650) 417-2024

Faculty Status:

Core Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Psy.D., Masters


PhD, Social Psychology, Stanford University (2003)
MA, Social Psychology, Stanford University (2001)
BA, Psychology and Spanish, Duke University (1998)


Dr. Teceta Tormala is a social psychologist whose experimental work has focused on the causes and consequences of the perception of prejudice by low- and high-status group members, and on racial and ethnic identity processes among Black immigrants. Recent work has examined the antecedents of suicide and the consequences of bullying for people of color. She has long been interested in the ways in which people negotiate their cultural identities, and the role of multiple, cross-cutting identities on psychological outcomes. The orientation around which her research and teaching cohere is that of the person in situ- an understanding of people in the natural contexts of their lives. From her training in social and cultural psychology, Dr. Tormala works from the perspective that an individual’s attitudes, emotions, and behaviors can only be fully recognized when paying attention to and working to understand that person from within his or her social, cultural, and structural contexts. Her teaching bridges the gap between these cultural and social psychological processes, and clinical outcomes.

Dr. Tormala earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and Spanish at Duke University, and received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University. She completed an National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded postdoctoral fellowship at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Prior to joining the faculty at Palo Alto University, Dr. Tormala was a lecturer at Stanford University, and a visiting assistant professor at Indiana University.

Areas of Interest:

Negotiation of social identity across contexts; intersectionality of social identities; stereotyping, prejudice, and intergroup processes; racial and ethnic identity processes among Black immigrants

Selected Publications:

Tormala, T.T., Ivan, I.I., Floyd, R., & Beckum, L.C. (in press). The connection between bullying and suicide in ethnic minority populations. In P. Goldblum, D. Espelage, J. Chu, & B. Bongar (Eds), The challenge of youth suicide and bullying. New York, NY: Oxford University Press USA.

Lehmiller, J.J., Law, A.T., & Tormala, T.T. (2010). The effect of self-affirmation on sexual prejudice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 276-285.

Tormala, T.T., & Deaux, K. (2006). Black immigrants to the United States: Confronting and constructing ethnicity and race. In R. Mahalingam (Ed.), Cultural psychology of immigrants (pp.131-150). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Adams, G., Tormala, T.T., & O’Brien, L.T. (2006). The effect of self-affirmation on perceptions of racism.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 616-626.