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.



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.

Daphna Oyserman; Mesmin Destin; Sheida Novin (2015). The Context-Sensitive Future Self: Possible Selves Motivate in Context, Not Otherwise. Self and Identity 14(2): 173-188.

Nicole M. Stephens; MarYam G. Hamedani; Mesmin Destin (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(4): 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.
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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 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: 2016-03-22 09:32:35