Hazel Rose Markus was born in London, England, and grew up in San Diego, California. She completed her BS at California State University-San Diego and her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. She began her academic career at the University of Michigan, where she learned the importance of interdisciplinarity at the Institute for Social Research and demonstrated her intellectual breadth and her commitment to an inclusive science of psychology. In 1994, she moved to Stanford University, where she serves as the Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Science and Professor of Psychology.
Hazel’s creative and cutting edge research pushed the discipline forward time after time. Her dissertation made a compelling argument for examining self-views as cognitive structures, and it showed how self-schemas direct attention, shape memory, and guide behavior. With Paula Nurius, Daphna Oyserman and Susan Cross, she developed the idea of possible selves—peoples’ ideas of what they might become, would like to become, and are afraid of becoming.
In collaboration with Shinobu Kitayama, she then transformed the field again when she articulated East Asian conceptions of the individual as embedded in relationships, and how this interdependent self-construal which differs from the more independent self-construal that is the default in Western psychology can lead to cultural variation in cognition, emotion, motivation, and action. This theoretical advancement led to breakthroughs in research and theory on motivation, agency, emotion, and health. Hazel and her colleagues have not only expanded the ways that self is conceptualized, but they have also addressed how diverse social and cultural contexts (social class, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, occupation, and national or regional origin) shape cognition, agency, decision-making, and preferences. In the book, Clash! How to Thrive in a Multicultural World with Alana Conner, she has conceptualized cultures as multilayered cycles of individuals, interactions, institutions, and ideas, and conceptualized people as culturally-shaped shapers.
Hazel has also explored concepts of race, ethnicity, diversity, colorblindness and multiculturalism. With literary scholar Paula Moya, in the book Doing Race, she has theorized that race is not something that people or groups have, or are, but rather a set of actions that people individually and collectively do. She has examined both the pride and prejudice consequences of racial identities, and the role of narratives and practices of colorblindness and multiculturalism.
Throughout Hazel’s long career, she has been an advocate and mentor for graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and junior faculty, especially for those often overlooked or underrepresented in the academy. She has mentored and promoted the careers of many women, students from non-Western societies, and members of under-represented U.S. ethnic groups. Her rich legacy endures through the many ways those scholars in turn bring new perspectives to the study of human behavior in social, cultural, class, work, and gender contexts.
Hazel’s commitment to being a social scientist who serves society is reflected in her work as the Co-Director of the Stanford “do tank,” Social Psychology Addressing Real-world Questions (SPARQ). SPARQ translates the insights of social psychology into accessible tools and strategies to address issues of injustice and inequity in critically important life contexts.
Dr. Markus is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the British Academy, and a Fellow of the American Association of Arts and Sciences. Her recognition by the field includes the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Association for Psychological Science’s William James Award for lifetime achievement, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s Donald T. Campbell Award. And the Society for Experimental Social Psychology’s Distinguished Scientist Award. Dr. Markus served as the President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology from 2003 to 2004.
- "It is wonderful to have this opportunity to honor, and say thank you, to a true pioneer of social cognition, who showed us the power and relevance of the new cognitive methods and frameworks for understanding classic issues in social psychology like the self. And then taking strong leadership once more, to expanding our Western-centric understanding of the self to a broader more inclusive perspective. Leading that cause still today, in fact. It is no small feat to be able to see human nature for what it is, to shake off the scales of one's own culture and existing scientific paradigms, and point the way for others, but this is an important part of Hazel's achievement. She not only helped many of us graduate students to grow up, she helped our field grow up as well." - John Bargh
- “It is not often that an internationally-eminent scholar and member of the National Academy of Sciences reaches from research to practice to take on some of the thorniest societal challenges in the hopes of effecting enduring social impact. Working in deep and extensive collaboration with scholars across the globe, with practitioners and policy-makers across a variety of arenas from law enforcement to business, education and health, and in communities near and far, Hazel Markus does just that and has done it for decades. Her contributions on self and culture and race and economic mobility speak for themselves, and her latest iteration of action research, creating evidence-based interventions with her colleagues at SPARQ – a center that takes social psychology and addresses real-world questions – is simply stunning. The world needs more academicians like Hazel Markus!” - Nancy Cantor
- Besides the many students she has mentored, I think one of Hazel’s greatest contributions to the field is the way she expanded the discussion in social psychology. Many of the topics that she did pioneering work on have now become so mainstream that it is hard to think about the field of social psychology before them. Concepts such as self-schemas, possible selves, culture, social class, and race became important concerns for social psychology. Landmark articles and books such as her chapter with Bob Zajonc on affect and cognition or her paper with Shinobu Kitayama on culture set new directions for the field, and moreover, were so laden with important insights that they would be mined for years to come. Without Hazel, the field of social psychology would be a lot less rich and importantly, a lot smaller, too. - Dov Cohen
- When I was working on applications for graduate school, the ABBA song “Take a chance on me” ran constantly through my head, because I lacked a degree in psychology. Fortunately, Hazel Markus did take a chance on me, and I have been forever grateful. Hazel inspires us to think big, to reach beyond the boundaries of what we know now, and to bring others along with us. - Susan Cross
- The stereotype that warmth and generosity are incompatible with true brilliance is refuted by the existence of Hazel. - Phoebe Ellsworth
- I know nobody who has shaped the field as much as Hazel Markus, not just by pushing its boundaries to include meaning-making, diversity, and inequality, but also by producing a whole generation of social psychologists who themselves were from groups not initially included in mainstream social psychology; and as in my own case, by providing them with community and life-long support. So much to be grateful for. - Batja Gomes de Mesquita
- I was extremely lucky to have the chance to work with and learn from Hazel while I was a graduate student at Stanford. In the time that I have collaborated with her, I have deeply appreciated her personal and professional support. Working with Hazel is fun, engaging, and inspiring. I nearly always leave meetings with her more excited about my ideas and motivated to work harder than I had been before. Thank you, Hazel, for all of your wisdom and support, and congratulations! - Cynthia Levine
- Hazel Markus brought a cognitive lens to considering the self, highlighted how differences in how the self is constituted matter, focused new attention on the ways in which people shape and are shaped by their place in the social structure, and spearheaded cultural psychology as the study of the ways in which different self concepts affect human perception. Her ability to explain complex ideas in clear and concrete ways contributed to the rise in popularity of cultural psychology and extended the reach of cultural psychology from a niche idea to something that feels necessary to consider. - Daphna Oyserman
- Hazel’s creative and broad thinking has transformed the field in multiple ways – from her early groundbreaking work on self-schemas to her pioneering work in cultural psychology to taking social psychological research out of the lab and applying it to address critical social and cultural disparities. I was incredibly fortunate to have Hazel as a mentor and role model in graduate school. She taught us not only the importance of theory-building and rigorous methodology, but also encouraged us to cut across disciplinary boundaries. I am deeply grateful to Hazel for her inspiring, supportive and wise mentorship and thankful for her friendship over the years. Congratulations, Hazel, for this much deserved recognition of your work and your lasting influence on the field! - Paula Pietromonaco
- I was an economics major during my undergraduate studies at Stanford, when I chanced about Hazel during a guest lecture in an otherwise boring introduction to psychology course. That hour and a half dramatically changed the course of my life. Hazel painted a Monet of social and cultural psychology in her guest lecture - although the details might not be very clear, the effect was mesmerizing. Economics did not stand a chance, and I became a passionate social psychologist for the rest of my life. - Krishna Savani
- Congratulations on a wonderful achievement--we have learned a lot from Hazel, and we will keep learning from her! We always admire and respect you so much. - Yukiko Uchida
- Hazel, thank you for being such an inspiring, supportive, and creative role model for so many of us, and for leading with others the cultural perspective to be carried to the heart of mainstream psychological research. - Ayse K. Uskul
- I cordially thank Hazel for her intellectual curiosity, foresight, and courage to build the now unbreakable bridge between cultural psychology and mainstream social psychology. - Masaki Yuki
- I am pleased to have an opportunity to offer a tribute to Hazel Markus, who is so deserving of the Heritage Wall of Fame honor. I had the good fortune of serving with Hazel on the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development (MIDMAC) in the 1990’s. Her presentations to the group were always thoughtful and stimulating, and I learned a great deal from her. She had important insights into our understanding of the middle-aged self and the cultural relativity of midlife experiences. Beyond her valuable scientific contributions, other noteworthy recollections come from our free time at MIDMAC meetings, which were often held in exciting places. I have fond memories of adventures and discussions about work and family with Hazel on walks and hikes in many settings from Kiawah Island, South Carolina to San José, Costa Rica and St. Moritz, Switzerland. I also cherish the times I was able to reconnect with Hazel during the subsequent MIDUS/MIDJA meetings and when I was on sabbatical at the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford. Hazel is truly an exceptional scholar and one of the most genuine and supportive people I am fortunate to know. She continues to be an amazing mentor to many students and colleagues. Although she studies the self, Hazel is truly selfless. The field of Social Psychology would not be the same without her. - Margie Lachman