About Heidi A. Vuletich

Heidi investigates the psychological causes and consequences of academic, social, and economic inequalities. She examines the factors that contribute to existing disparities disadvantaging people of lower socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic minorities, and women. Her research addresses questions of how inequality influences achievement motivation, decision-making, political attitudes, economic beliefs, implicit biases, and stereotyping. It also seeks to understand how contextual and systemic factors limit social mobility, educational attainment, and representation in science, technology, engineering, and math careers.  

Heidi was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and moved to the United States at the age of five. The move was not permanent, however. She would spend the next ten or so years moving back and forth between the two countries. She had attended 16 schools by the time she was a senior in high school.

As a first-generation college student, Heidi became passionate about mentoring high school youth who were interested in also being the first in their family to pursue a college education. These volunteer and personal experiences were eye-opening. They highlighted the many challenges that youth from underserved backgrounds face. A lack of material and social resources was only part of the problem. There were psychological and structural barriers that were just as difficult, if not more difficult, to overcome. This is why Heidi decided to pursue a PhD in social and developmental psychology. Her research aims to produce findings that can inform effective policies and interventions. 


  • BS in Neuroscience, Regis University
  • PhD in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Professional Fields

Work History

  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Assistant Professor, University of Denver

Milestones and Recognition

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
  • Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Honorable Mention
  • Carolina Research in Social Psychology Grant
  • Doctoral Merit Assistantship, UNC Chapel Hill
  • Psi Chi Student Research Award, Rocky Mountain Psychological Association
  • The Dr. Eugene R. Delay Award for Excellence in Neuroscience, Regis University
  • The A.W. Forstall, S.J. Award for Natural Science, Regis University
  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award, UNC Psychology Club
  • Vuletich, H. A., & Payne, B.K. (2019). Stability and change in implicit bias. Psychological Science.
  • Payne, B.K. Vuletich, H.A., & Brown-Iannuzzi, J.L. (2019). Historical roots of implicit bias in slavery. Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Christopher R. Agnew Research Innovation Award
  • Bernadette Gray-Little Award for Outstanding Psychological Research that Enhances Diversity, Honorable Mention
  • Vuletich, H. A., Kurtz-Costes, B. E., Bollen, K. & Rowley, S. J. (2018). A longitudinal study of domain-specificity of ability and effort attributions in African American students. Journal of Educational Psychology.Advance online publication.
  • P.E.O Scholar Award
  • Payne, B.K. Vuletich, H.A., & Lundberg, K.B. (2017). Flipping the script on implicit bias research with the bias of crowds. Psychological Inquiry
  • Payne, B.K. & Vuletich, H.A. (2018). Policy insights from advances in implicit bias research. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • Payne, B.K. Vuletich, H.A., & Lundberg, K.B. (2017). The bias of crowds: How implicit bias bridges personal and systemic prejudice. Psychological Inquiry

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