Nicholas M. Michalak

Ph.D. Candidate, Social Psychology

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan


I’m a PhD candidate in social psychology working with Josh Ackerman at the University of Michigan. Broadly, I use advanced methods and statistics to study how both modern and evolutionarily-relevant threats affect how people perceive themselves and others. For example, in my current work, I use the reverse correlation image classification task to estimate mental representations of infected persons. I’m also conducting a Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis to test whether stereotype threat effects have dissapated over time, depending on negatively stereotyped group (e.g., Women, Black Americans).

I’m asking three main questions right now: (1) How do people mentally represent threatening persons, (2) How do people use emotional expressions in trait judgements, and (3) What are the effects of negative stereotypes changing over time?


  • Person Perception
  • Nonverbal
  • Threat
  • Evolution


  • M.S. in Social Psychology, 2017

    University of Michigan

  • B.S. in Neuroscience, 2012

    University of St. Thomas (MN)


Experimental Design



Machine Learning





Recent Publications

A multi-method approach to measuring mental representations of threatening others

How do people mentally represent distinct interpersonal threats? Across human history, interpersonal threats such as infectious disease …

Has Stereotype Threat Dissipated Over Time? A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis

Stereotype threat – the social psychological threat that arises when one is in a situation or doing something for which a negative …

To Which World Regions Does the Valence-Dominance Model of Social Perception Apply?

Over the last ten years, Oosterhof and Todorov’s valence-dominance model has emerged as the most prominent account of how people …


SPSS for Research

OSF page storing materials used for Undergraduate Research Opportuntiies Program (UROP) workshops conducted at the University of …

R Programming for Psychology Research

OSF page storing materials used for workshops conducted at the University of Michigan

2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Polling Averages

R Shiny Application and GitHub repository for 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Polling Averages

Blog Posts

Learning Python as an R user

Logistic Regression in R

Introduction In this post, I’ll introduce the logistic regression model in a semi-formal, fancy way. Then, I’ll generate data from some …

Presidential primary candidate name recognition matters

Key takeaway FiveThirtyEight claims that early national primary polls can become more useful for predicting party nomination success if …

Testing Conditional Indirect Effects/Mediation in R

This post builds on a previous post on Testing Indirect Effects/Mediation in R. What is mediation? There are many ways to define …

Using Principal Components or Common Factor Analysis in Social Psychology

Multidimensional Scaling, the precursor to Principal Components Analysis, Common Factor Analysis, and related techniques …