Alumni Profile: Robert “BJ” Rydell

B.J. RydellDr. Robert “BJ” Rydell is an Associate Professor at Indiana University who completed his Ph.D at Miami University in 2005.  Dr. Rydell is a prolific researcher with expertise on attitude formation and change, impression formation, and stereotype threat. Dr. Rydell has authored more than 40 papers, and has been recognized for his exceptional career by the International Social Cognition Network’s Early Career Award and as a Rising Star in psychology by the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Rydell credits his experiences at Miami for setting the stage for his prolific career. “I don’t know that I fully appreciated it at the time, but there were a lot of exceptional programs at Miami that helped me immensely,” said Dr. Rydell.

Dr. Rydell received his bachelor degree of science from Purdue University in 1999. During his undergraduate years, he thought he wanted to be a clinical psychologist until discovering his interest in research and social psychology.  

After spending hours at the library reading through old issues of The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Dr. Rydell realized he was interested in studying romantic relationships and social cognition. He then went on to pursue his Ph.D. in social psychology at Miami University.

“When I got to Miami, I started taking Allen McConnell’s course and I asked him if I could be in his lab doing research on social cognition,” said Dr. Rydell. “He taught me how to think and write like a scientist. I can’t ever downplay the impact of his mentoring.”

Miami also offered him valuable programs in terms of teaching. As a graduate student, he was trained how to teach, which was an experience that graduate students at other universities don’t always receive.

In addition, his collaboration with faculty and fellow graduate students made a long lasting impact that influenced him to pursue the research and teaching that he does today.

“My relationships at Miami were by far the best things that happened to me during that time,” said Dr. Rydell.
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