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Mark Zanna

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Mark Zanna.BA, PhD (Yale)

Contact information

Recipient of uWaterloo awards for:

Excellence in Research, 2000

Outstanding Performance, 2004, 2008, 2011

Excellence in Graduate Supervision, 2005


Research interests

My area of research is the psychology of attitudes. In the domain of communication and persuasion, I have conducted research on overcoming resistance to change (e.g., subliminal priming and persuasion, self-affirmation and persuasion, and narrative persuasion). In the domain of implicit attitudes I have conducted research on aversive racists (i.e., those low in explicit prejudice, but high in implicit prejudice) and on individuals with defensive self-esteem (i.e., those high in explicit self-esteem, but low in implicit self-esteem). In the domain of health, I have conducted research testing a 'safer sex' intervention, evaluated Canada's new cigarette warning labels, and investigated the subtle effects of smoking in feature films on implicit cognition (e.g., implicit attitudes and implicit norms). Currently, I am investigating implicit norms (i.e., automatic associations of what society likes vs. dislikes) in several domains.

Selected recent publications (since 2009)


  • Yoshida, E., Peach, J. M., Zanna, M. P., & Spencer, S. J. (in press). Not all automatic association are created equal: How implicit normative evaluations are distinct from implicit attitudes and uniquely predict meaningful behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
  • Hall, P. A., Zehr, C., Ng, M., & Zanna, M. P. (2012). Implementation intentions for physical activity in supportive and unsupportive environmental conditions: An examination of intention-behavior consistency. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 432-436.
  • Son-Hing, L. S., Bobocel, D. R., Zanna, M. P., et al. (2011). The merit of meritocracy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 433-450.
  • Stinson, D. A., Logel, C., Shepherd, S., & Zanna, M. P. (2011). Re-writing the self-fulfilling prophecy of social rejection: Self-affirmation improves relational security and social behavior up to two months later. Psychological Science, 22, 1145-1149.
  • Zanna, M. P. (2011). While waiting for nature to take her course: There's nothing so practical as a good…design. Journal of Social Issues, 67,653-664.
  • Peach, J. M., Yoshida, E., Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., & Steele, J. (2011). Recognizing discrimination explicitly while denying it implicitly: Implicit social identity protection. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 283-292.
  • Jonas, E., Graupmann, V., Niesta Kayser, D., Zanna, M. P., et al. (2009). Culture, self-construal and the emergence of reactance: Is there a "universal" freedom? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1068-1080.
  • Ebel-Lam, A. P., MacDonald, T. K., Zanna, M. P., & Fong, G. T. (2009). An experimental investigation of the interactive effects of alcohol and sexual arousal on intentions to have unprotected sex. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 31, 226-233.
  • Kay, A. C., Gaucher, D., Peach, J. M., Laurin, K., Friesen, J., Zanna, M. P., & Spencer, S. J. (2009). Inequality, discrimination, and the power of the status quo: Direct evidence for a motivation to see the way things are as the way they should be. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 421-434.


  • Jordan, C. H., Logel, C., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2012). Discrepancies between implicit and explicit attitudes, prejudices, and self-esteem: A model of simultaneous accessibility. In B. Gawronski & F. Strack (Eds.), Cognitive Consistency: A Unifying Concept in Social Psychology (pp. 202-222). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Zanna, M. P. (2011). "Risky business": On the adventures of simultaneously manipulating sexual arousal and intoxication. In R. M. Arkin (Ed.), Most Underappreciated: 50 Prominent Social Psychologists Describe Their Most Unloved Work (pp. 241-244). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Spencer, S. J., Peach, J., Yoshida, E., & Zanna, M. P. (2010). Learning what most people like: How implicit attitudes and normative evaluations are shaped by motivation and culture and influence meaningful behavior. In J. Forgas, J. Cooper, & W. Crano (Eds.), The Psychology of Attitudes and Attitude Change (pp. 95-108). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
  • Son Hing, L. S., & Zanna, M. P. (2010). Individual differences. In J. F. Dovidio, M. Hewstone, P. Glick, & V. M. Esses (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination (pp. 163-178). London, UK: Sage.
  • Marigold, D. C., McGregor, I., & Zanna, M. P. (2010). Defensive conviction as emotion regulation: Goal mechanisms and interpersonal implications. In R. Arkin, K. Oleson, & P. Carroll (Eds.), Handbook of the Uncertain Self (pp. 232-248). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
  • Kay, A. C., & Zanna, M. P. (2009). A contextual analysis of the psychological and societal consequences of the system justification motive. In J. T. Jost, A. C. Kay, & H. Thorisdottir (Eds.), Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification (pp. 158-181). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Jordan, C. H., Logel, C., Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., & Whitfield, M. L. (2009). The heterogeneity of self-esteem: Exploring the interplay between implicit and explicit self-esteem. In R. E. Petty, R. H. Fazio, & P. Briñol (Eds.), Attitudes: Insights from the New Implicit Measures (pp. 251-281). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Ontario Symposium on Personality and Social Psychology

  • Campbell, L., LaGuardia, J., Olson, J. M., & Zanna, M. P. (Eds.) (2012). The Science of the Couple: The Ontario Symposium. Vol. 12. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
  • Bobocel, D. R., Kay, A. C., Zanna, M.P., & Olson, J. M. (2010). The Psychology of Justice and Legitimacy: The Ontario Symposium. Vol. 11. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Advances in Experimental Social Psychology

  • Olson, J. M. & Zanna, M. P. (Eds.) (2011). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 44. San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Zanna, M. P. & Olson, J. M. (Eds.) (2010). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 43. San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Zanna, M. P. (Ed.) (2010). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 42. San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Zanna, M. P. (Ed. (2009). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 41. San Diego: Academic Press.


More detailed Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Brief biography (PDF)

University of Waterloo

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