Professor Leigh Ann Vaughn

Leigh Ann Vaughn

Professor, Psychology
Phone: 607-274-7353
Office: Williams Hall 115A, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: Social Psychology


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Social Psychology
  • M.A., University of Michigan, Social Psychology
  • B.A., Smith College, Psychology

I joined the Department of Psychology of Ithaca College in Fall 2001 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow and researcher at the Ohio State University (Columbus, OH).

Teaching Interests:

  • Social Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Social and Personality Research Team
  • Senior Seminar on Psychological Science: The Good, the Bad, the Scandalous - and the Improving
  • Independent Supervised Research (including Honors Theses)

Research Interests:

For over 10 years, my research team and I have studied how motivational states affect social judgment.  All of the articles I have published with members of my team are on this topic (e.g., Vaughn, Baumann, & Klemmann, 2008; Vaughn, Garvey, & Chalachan, 2020; Vaughn, Hesse, Petkova, & Trudeau, 2009; Vaughn, Childs, Maschinski, Niño, & Ellsworth, 2010; Vaughn, Harkness, & Clark, 2010; Vaughn, Dubovi, & Nino, 2013).  The motivational states we have focused on the most are promotion and prevention focus (e.g., Higgins, 1998).  Promotion-focused goal pursuit serves needs for growth and self-realization, and strategies preferred in a promotion focus are eager ones.  Prevention-focused goal pursuit serves needs for security and safety, and strategies preferred in a prevention focus are vigilant ones.  Lately, our research has turned increasingly to what would cause people to adopt a promotion or prevention focus in a given situation or activity, and how these motivational states relate to various aspects of psychological well-being.

Within the past few years, my research team and I also have contributed to Many Labs, Psychological Science Accelerator and other international research projects.  These projects examine factors that affect the reproducibility of psychological effects across settings and samples.

    Personal Information

    I was born and grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, which is a NASA town.  My parents didn't work at NASA, but lots of parents I knew did.  In college, I first went to Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, then I transferred to Smith College in Northampton, MA, where I got my B.A. in psychology.  I was a theater major, then a geology major, and finally a psychology major.  The reason I chose psychology was that it passed the bookstore test: psychology was the part of the bookstore I kept going to.  I got a Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan, then I did a postdoc in social psychology at The Ohio State University.  If Michigan and Ohio State are playing, I root for the Buckeyes.  I love my job at Ithaca, and I love my husband, who works in Ithaca.  Hiking is my hobby.  I am a first-generation college student.