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Benedek Kurdi

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Yale University

Benedek Kurdi

Department of Psychology

As an experimental psychologist, my research seeks to understand the immense power and the surprising limitations of our minds in adaptively responding to new information given a lifetime of learning. I examine learning in the context of basic social processes. Specifically, I study the ordinary decisions we make every day that are critical to our well-being and even survival: our evaluations of and beliefs about other people. In doing so, I rely on a combination of traditional online and laboratory experiments as well as computational approaches, while drawing on a variety of learning paradigms, including reinforcement learning, evaluative conditioning, propositional learning, and causal learning. These methods help me uncover the basic mechanisms involved in how we acquire and update our impressions of individuals, especially against the backdrop of information about their social group memberships, such as gender, sexual orientation, age, race, and ethnicity.
I am currently a postdoctoral associate at the Yale Department of Psychology, working with Melissa Ferguson. I obtained my PhD in 2019 at the Harvard Psychology Department under the mentorship of Mahzarin Banaji, Fiery Cushman, and Sam Gershman and spent a year as a postdoctoral associate at the Cornell Department of Psychology with Melissa Ferguson and Amy Krosch. My research has been funded by the Dean's Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship, the Harvard Graduate School Fund, the Harvard Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative, the Stimson, Restricted, and Knox Funds at the Harvard Psychology Department, and the Cornell Center for Social Sciences. My work has been published in American Psychologist, Cognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, Perspectives on Psychological ScienceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychological Science, and other outlets. I am a member of Project Implicit’s Scientific Advisory Board and serve on the editorial boards of Psychological Bulletin, Social Cognition, and Social Psychological and Personality Science as well as on the emerging editors board at Personality and Social Psychology Review. I have extensive teaching experience in statistics, social cognition, and social psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I am a three-time recipient of the Derek Bok Center’s Harvard Distinction in Teaching Award.


picture about Benedek Kurdi

Benedek Kurdi

Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Psychology
Yale University


What do I do?

Taking a learning approach to implicit cognition


The articles are provided to ensure the timely dissemination of scientific information.
In order to download an article, click the PDF button, and in order to obtain raw data files and analysis scripts, click the OSF button.
  • Kurdi, B., & Dunham, Y. (2022). What can the implicit social cognition literature teach us about implicit social cognition? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 45, e80. PDF
  • Kurdi, B.*, Hussey, I.*, Stahl, C.*, Hughes, S., Unkelbach, C., Ferguson, M. J., & Corneille, O. (2022). Unaware attitude formation in the surveillance task? Revisiting the findings of Moran et al. (2021). International Review of Social Psychology, 35(1), 1–16. PDF OSF
  • Morehouse, K. N., Kurdi, B., Hakim, E., & Banaji, M. R. (2022). When a stereotype dumbfounds: Probing the nature of the surgeon = male belief. Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, 3, 100044. PDF OSF
  • Melnikoff, D. E., & Kurdi, B. (in press). What implicit measures of bias can do. Psychological Inquiry. PDF
  • Kurdi, B., Morris, A., & Cushman, F. A. (2022). The role of causal structure in implicit evaluation. Cognition, 225, 105116. PDF OSF
  • Charlesworth, T. E. S.*, Navon, M.*, Rabinovich, Y., Lofaro, N., & Kurdi, B. (2022). The Project Implicit International Dataset: Measuring implicit and explicit social group attitudes and stereotypes across 34 countries (2009–2019). Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2022). Persuading the implicit mind: Changing negative implicit evaluations with an 8-minute podcast. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 13(3), 688–697. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., Carroll, T. J., & Banaji, M. R. (2021). Specificity and incremental predictive validity of implicit attitudes: Studies of a race-based phenotype. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 6, 61. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., & Dunham, Y. (2021). Sensitivity of implicit evaluations to accurate and erroneous propositional inferences. Cognition, 214, 104792. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., Ratliff, K. A., & Cunningham, W. A. (2021). Can the Implicit Association Test serve as a valid measure of automatic cognition? A response to Schimmack (2021). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(2), 422–434. PDF
  • Charlesworth, T. E. S., Yang, V., Mann, T. C., Kurdi, B., & Banaji, M. R. (2021). Gender stereotypes in natural language: Word embeddings show robust consistency across child and adult language corpora of more than 65 million words. Psychological Science, 32(2), 218–240. PDF OSF
  • Moran, T., Hughes, S., Hussey, I., Vadillo, M. A., Olson, M. A., ..., Kurdi, B., ..., & De Houwer, J. (2021). Incidental attitude formation via the surveillance task: A preregistered replication of the Olson and Fazio (2001) study. Psychological Science, 32(1), 120–131. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., & Dunham, Y. (2020). Propositional accounts of implicit evaluation: Taking stock and looking ahead. Social Cognition, 38(Supplement), s42–s67. PDF
  • Kurdi, B., Krosch, A. R., & Ferguson, M. J. (2020). Implicit evaluations of moral agents reflect intent and outcome. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 90, 103990. PDF OSF
  • Charlesworth, T. E. S., Kurdi, B., & Banaji, M. R. (2020). Children’s implicit attitude acquisition: Evaluative statements succeed, repeated pairings fail. Developmental Science, 23(3), e12911. PDF OSF
  • Mann, T. C., Kurdi, B., & Banaji, M. R. (2020). How effectively can implicit evaluations be updated? Using evaluative statements after aversive repeated evaluative pairings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149(6), 1169–1192. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., Gershman, S. J., & Banaji, M. R. (2019). Model-free and model-based learning processes in the updating of explicit and implicit evaluations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(13), 6035–6044. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., Mann, T. C., Charlesworth, T. E. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2019). The relationship between implicit intergroup attitudes and beliefs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(13), 5862–5871. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., & Banaji, M. R. (2019). Attitude change via repeated evaluative pairings versus evaluative statements: Shared and unique features. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(5), 681–703. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B.*, Seitchik, A. E.*, Axt, J. R., Carroll, T. J., Karapetyan, A., Kaushik, N., Tomezsko, D., Greenwald, A. G., & Banaji, M. R. (2019). Relationship between the Implicit Association Test and intergroup behavior: A meta-analysis. American Psychologist, 74(5), 569–586. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., Diaz, A. J., Wilmuth, C. A., Friedman, M. C., & Banaji, M. R. (2018). Variations in the relationship between memory confidence and memory accuracy: The effects of spontaneous accessibility, list length, modality, and complexity. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 5(1), 3–28. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., & Banaji, M. R. (2017). Reports of the death of the individual difference approach to implicit social cognition may be greatly exaggerated: A commentary on Payne, Vuletich, and Lundberg. Psychological Inquiry, 28(4), 281–287. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., & Banaji, M. R. (2017). Repeated evaluative pairings and evaluative statements: How effectively do they shift implicit attitudes? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(2), 194–213. PDF OSF
  • Kurdi, B., Lozano, S., & Banaji, M. R. (2017). Introducing the Open Affective Standardized Image Set (OASIS). Behavior Research Methods, 49(2), 457–470. PDF OSF


Past and present


Ahmed Izzidien

Dr. Ahmed Izzidien completed his MPhil dissertation at Cambridge University. He holds a BEng (Hons) from King's College London, an MSc from UMIST, and a PhD from Cardiff. His interests include cognitive neuroscience, electroencephalography, and cognition in religion and politics.

Ahmed Izzidien

Preethi Raju

Preethi Raju is a sophomore student at the University of Chicago studying biology and economics. Her interests range from social psychology to medicine to tennis to classical Indian dance. She hopes to go to medical school in the future. 

Preethi Raju

Sarah Ryan

Sarah Ryan is an undergraduate at Harvard University. She is concentrating in psychology with a minor in economics. She is interested in social and developmental psychology. In the future, she would like to do social psychological research with a focus on education inequality interventions.

Sarah Ryan

Shayn Lozano

Shayn Lozano

Catherine Kim

Catherine Kim is an undergraduate at Boston College majoring in Psychology. She is particularly curious about the ways in which language influences our thoughts and shapes the way we think about or perceive something. In the future, she hopes to do research on culture and its effects on human minds.

Catherine Kim

Ruolin Lu

Ruolin Lu is an undergraduate at Boston College majoring in Psychology. She is interested in clinical and social psychology. In the future she would like to pursue a PhD in one of these fields.

Ruolin Lu

Harrison Satcher

Harrison Satcher is an undergraduate at Harvard University. He studies psychology, and has interests in statistics and computer science. In his free time he enjoys creative writing and weightlifting. In the future, he would like to work in academia.

Harrison Satcher

Victor Yang

Victor Yang is a sophomore at Harvard University studying computer science. He also has an interest in psychology and the biological sciences. Outside of the classroom, he is part of Harvard's Engineers Without Borders chapter and relaxes by going on his daily runs.

Victor Yang

Ece Hakim

Ece Hakim is an undergraduate at Harvard University. She is concentrating in psychology and planning to pursue a secondary in art history or filmmaking. She is interested in social and developmental psychology. In her free time, she enjoys acting and drawing.

Ece Hakim






The latest


from Kurdiland
News, announcements, and calls

  1. Student Poster Award

    My submission "Evaluative statements are more effective than evaluative pairings in shifting implicit attitudes" (co-authored with my advisor Mahzarin Banaji) has been selected as a finalist for the 2016 Student Poster Award competition at the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, to be held in San Diego, CA, in January.

  2. Call for RAs

    I am looking for undergraduate research assistants starting in the Spring semester of the 2015/2016 academic year.

    My work

    In my main line of work, I am investigating how different kinds of learning (learning based on relationships that we experience in the environment vs. more abstract, language-based, learning) contribute to the formation of attitudes, especially relatively automatic and uncontrollable implicit attitudes, towards people and things. Online data collection for this project has been ongoing since January 2015 and is expected to continue throughout the academic year. In addition to my main line of work, I have secondary interests in quantitative methods and metacognition.

    Your contribution

    Hours are completely flexible but a weekly commitment of at least 10 hours is expected. I am looking for research assistants who are genuinely interested in empirical research and are willing to work hard in a fast-paced lab with high expectations in terms of quality. Research assistants could get involved with research design and idea development, background research and literature reviews, stimulus construction, study creation and coding, participant recruitment, and data collection (both online and in person). Programming experience (especially HTML, JavaScript, R, and Python) and/or prior experience involving psychological research are desirable but not necessary.


    Harvard undergraduates may work in the lab as volunteers, in exchange for course credit, or possibly in exchange for payment. Undergraduates from other universities may work in the lab as volunteers.

    How to express interest

    Interested students should send a cover letter (stating why and on which project you would like to work with me), an up-to-date CV/resume, and a short academic writing sample (of about 500 words) to

  3. SPSP poster

    You can download my poster for SPSP 2016 comparing the effects of evaluative pairings and evaluative statements on implicit attitudes from here.

  4. Blog post on OASIS

    The OASIS stimulus set (by myself, Shayn Lozano, and Mahzarin Banaji) was featured in a blog post on the website of the Psychonomic Society.
  5. APS poster

    My APS poster Moderators of the Confidence–Accuracy Relationship in Recognition Memory, with collaborators Alex Diaz, Caroline Wilmuth, Michael Friedman, and Mahzarin Banaji, is available for download from the Open Science Framework.
  6. Talk on acquiring implicit attitudes

    You can watch my recent talk on how implicit attitudes are acquired here.
  7. Teaching Award

    I received the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University. The award ceremony took place on April 13, 2017.
If you have something to tell me

Contact Me

get in touch
Benedek Kurdi
Yale University
Department of Psychology
2 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
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Do you want to hear more about my research?
Would you like to discuss a new idea with me?
Are you interested in working with me as a research assistant?
Send me an email.