Mesmin Destin

Mesmin Destin

Assistant Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Annenberg Hall
Room 203
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Phone: (847) 467-2824
Mesmin Destin earned his PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, under a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He carries a joint appointment between the School of Education and Social Policy, in the Human Development and Social Policy program, and the Department of Psychology, in the Social area. Destin’s research centers primarily on understanding broad societal issues and trends, such as socioeconomic disparities in educational attainment, from a psychological perspective. Under the scope of the Identity-Based Motivation model (Oyserman & Destin, 2010), Destin has developed small social psychological interventions, like distributing college financial aid information (Destin & Oyserman, 2009) and drawing attention to the financial rewards of college (Destin & Oyserman, 2010), that significantly improved immediate academic motivation for low-income youth during early adolescence. His work employs laboratory and field experimental methods, in addition to large-scale data analysis.

Lab Website

Psychology Profile


Year Degree Institution
2010 PhD, Social Psychology University of Michigan
2005 BA, Psychology and Sociology Northwestern University

Selected Publications
Destin, M. (2013). Integrating resource-based and person-based approaches to understanding wealth effects on school achievement. Economics of Education Review, 33: 171-178.
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Destin, M., Richman, S., Varner, F., & Mandara, J. (2012). "Feeling" hierarchy: The pathway from subjective social status to achievement. Journal of Adolescence, 35: 1571–1579.
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Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2010). Incentivizing education: Seeing schoolwork as an investment, not a chore. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46: 846–849.
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Oyserman, D., & Destin, M. (2010). Identity-based motivation: Implications for intervention. The Counseling Psychologist, 38: 1001-1043.
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Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2009). From assets to school outcomes: How finances shape children’s perceived possibilities and intentions. Psychological Science, 20: 414-418.
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Research Interests
Psychological processes underlying associations between socioeconomic circumstances and behaviors/outcomes, such as academic motivation and achievement; effects of financial assets on goals and behavior; small classroom-based interventions to improve school outcomes for low-income and minority youth.


HDPS 305 Identity & Motivation The discussion-based course focuses on the connection between conceptions of the self and goal-oriented motivation, with particular attention devoted to the influence of social, structural, and cultural forces. The first segment of the term will cover classic theoretical work concerning the self and identity. Next, we will consider the relevance of a variety of social influences on identity and motivation. Finally, the course will close with a survey of contemporary identity-based intervention research and practical applications relating to trends in social inequalities, including education and health. Prior completion of an introductory or higher level course in Psychology is required to enroll.

Last Updated: 2014-08-22 16:43:45