Mesmin Destin

Mesmin Destin

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

Annenberg Hall
Room 203
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Phone: (847) 467-2824


Mesmin Destin is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University in the School of Education & Social Policy and the Department of Psychology. He is also a fellow of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research and a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation during the 2016-2017 academic year. He earned a PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2010. As a faculty member at Northwestern, Destin directs a multidisciplinary lab group and engages in research that investigates social psychological mechanisms underlying socioeconomic disparities in educational outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood. He uses laboratory and field experiments to identify factors that influence how young people perceive themselves and pursue their futures. At the university level, Destin examines how subtle social experiences and institutional messaging shape the motivation and educational trajectories of low socioeconomic status and first-generation college students.



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

Selected Publications

Browman, A.S. (2016). The effects of a warm or chilly climate towards socioeconomic diversity on academic motivation and self-concept. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42: 172-187.

Oyserman, D.; Destin, M.; Novin, S. (2015). The context-sensitive future self: Possible selves motivate in context, not otherwise. Self and Identity, 14: 173-188.

Stephens, N.M., Hamedani, M.G., Destin, M. (2014). Closing the social-class achievement gap: A difference-education intervention improves first-generation students' academic performance and all students' college transition. Psychological Science, 25: 943-953.

Destin, M. (2013). Integrating resource-based and person-based approaches to understanding wealth effects on school achievement. Economics of Education Review, 33: 171-178.

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.

Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2010). Incentivizing education: Seeing schoolwork as an investment, not a chore. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46: 846-849.

Oyserman, D., & Destin, M. (2010). Identity-based motivation: Implications for intervention. The Counseling Psychologist, 38: 1001-1043.

Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2009). From assets to school outcomes: How finances shape children's perceived possibilities and intentions. Psychological Science, 20: 414-418.

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 and Motivation Examines the connection between conceptions of the self and goal-oriented motivation, with particular attention to the influence of social, structural, and cultural forces.

Last Updated: 2017-07-23 18:23:42