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My primary line of research investigates people’s economic attitudes towards immigration. To do this, I developed a survey instrument to measure both pro-diversity attitudes and economic thinking about immigration. While economic thinking about immigration lead to preferences towards economic immigrants (and to a lesser extent international students and temporary foreign workers) compared to family migrants and refugees, I also found that these attitudes were correlated with ethnic prejudice and anti-diversity attitudes (Palma & Esses, in prep; see poster/video presentation at SPSSI).
Currently I am expanding this work in two domains. First, I am examining the association between economic thinking and different forms of dehumanization. Second, I am examining how economic attitudes towards immigration shape preferences for immigrants as a function of their human capital characteristics and country of origin. In the future, I hope to expand this work into policy communication, and look at the effectiveness of talking about immigrants’ economic contributions to combat anti-immigrant prejudices.
In a second line of work, I examined how experiences of discrimination affect people’s attitudes and social cognition. My most recent project examined how past experiences of workplace discrimination affected women’s perceptions of sexism in interview settings (Palma & Dennehy, in prep; see poster/video presentation at SPSSI).
Previously, I also examined how experiences of discrimination affected coalition-building among Asian Americans. Using data from the Pew Research Centre, I found that Asian Americans who reported experiences of discrimination were more likely to express anti-immigrant attitudes (Palma, 2017). Given that anti-Asian attitudes often manifests in being perceived as perpetual foreigners (Devos & Banaji, 2005), this research provides preliminary evidence that Asian Americans may distance themselves from being perceived as foreigners by expressing anti-immigrant attitudes.
Industry and Public Sector
Outside of my academic research, I have also used my research expertise working with various organizations. I have previously worked as a Mitacs-funded Visier Research Fellow, studying corporate diversity initiatives across a multi-national context to develop corporate diversity initiatives (e.g., see Palma & Zenger, 2020).
I have previously worked with the London & Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership to assess people’s perceptions of the organization and how it can better service immigrant-serving organizations in the region.