Hello, my name is Colin Zestcott.

Thank you for visiting my website! I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Social Cognition Lab at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. I’m originally from Minneapolis, MN and received a B.A. in Psychology from Macalester College and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Arizona.  My research broadly examines the role of implicit and explicit processes in how people understand the self and others. 


I. Bias against tattooed individuals. While the contemporary study of implicit attitudes toward stigmatized individuals primarily focuses on predetermined attributes like gender and race, our lab is interested in implicit bias toward individuals who possess more controllable and volitional stigmatizing signs, like tattoos. Presently, society may not view tattoos as particularly deviant due to the growing popularity of this form of body art. However, at the implicit level, if perceivers process a tattoo as a disfigurement, or if it automatically activates negative cultural stereotypes about traditionally stigmatized groups like criminals or gang members, the presence of a tattoo might engender prejudice and discrimination toward the person who displays it (Zestcott, Bean, & Stone, 2017; Zestcott, Tompkins, Kozak Williams, Livesay, & Chan, 2018). In addition, our research examines how tattooed individuals may face health disparities in the health care domain (Zestcott & Stone, 2019). 

II. Implicit bias in health care. Another line of work in the Social Cognition Lab investigates how automatic or unconscious attitudes manifest in healthcare. In a recent chapter, we review the literature examining how a patient’s implicit associations toward health related attitude objects contribute to their own personal health outcomes (Zestcott & Stone, in press). However, prejudices and stereotypes held by health care providers may also steer patients down an avenue that leads to negative health outcomes. In a recent review paper (Zestcott, Blair, & Stone, 2016), we evaluate how implicit bias held by health care providers contributes to health disparities faced by patients with stigmatized group identities. Our review suggests that implicit bias undergirds health disparities via two paths: (1) by affecting provider’s judgments and medical decisions, and (2) by influencing patient’s perceptions, judgments, and trust with their provider, which in turn, may negatively impact patient’s engagement and adherence to treatment. Recent work in the lab documents health care providers’ implicit biases toward American Indians (Zestcott, Spece, McDermott, & Stone, in press) and cervical cancer (Liang, Wolsiefer, Zestcott, Chase, & Stone, 2019). 

 III. Reducing bias toward stigmatized targets. Our interest in understanding bias also extends to investigating bias reduction strategies. For example, our research utilizes active learning workshops to reduce implicit bias among medical students (Stone, Moskowitz, Zestcott, & Wolsiefer, 2020). In the sports domain, our work examines strategies non-target athlete bystanders who witness racist behavior aimed at a teammate of color are willing to endorse during a sport competition (Zestcott & Brown, 2015). 

IV. Embodied Cognition. Research in embodied cognition suggests that bodily experiences can unconsciously influence social cognition. Our work proposes that embodied effects are subject to dual processes such that the body can automatically provide information in an implicit manner, but if something in the social context draws conscious attention to what the body is sensing, conscious or explicit processing attenuates or eliminates the use of the body as information (Zestcott, Stone, & Landau, 2017). 


Zestcott, C. A., Spece, L., McDermott, D., & Stone, J. (in press). Health care providers’ negative implicit attitudes and stereotypes of American Indians. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Zestcott, C. A., Dickens, J., Bracamonte, N., Stone, J., & Harrison, C. K. (in press). One and done: Examining the relationship between years of college basketball experience and career statistics in the national basketball association. Journal of Sport and Social Issues.

Zestcott, C. A., & Stone, J. (in press). The role of persuasion in health-related attitude and behavior change. In K. Sweeny & M. L. Robbins (Eds.) The Wiley encyclopedia of health psychology (Vol. II): The social bases of health behavior.

Stone, J., Moskowitz, G. B., Zestcott, C. A., & Wolsiefer, K. J. (2020). Testing active learning workshops for reducing implicit bias among majority and minority group medical students. Stigma and Health5, 94-103.

Zestcott, C. A., & Stone, J. (2019). Experimental evidence that a patient’s tattoo increases their assigned health care cost liability. Stigma and Health, 4, 442-449.

Liang, J., Wolsiefer, K. L., Zestcott, C. A., Chase, D., & Stone, J. (2019). Implicit bias toward cervical cancer: Provider and training differences. Gynecologic Oncology, 153, 80-86.

Zestcott, C. A., Tompkins, T. L., Kozak Williams, M., Livesay, K., & Chan, K. L. (2018). What do you think about ink?: An examination of implicit and explicit attitudes toward tattooed individuals. The Journal of Social Psychology, 158, 7-22.

Zestcott, C. A., Stone, J., & Landau, M. J. (2017). The role of conscious attention in how weight serves as an embodiment of importance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 431712-1723.

Lifshin, U., Greenberg, J., Zestcott, C. A., & Sullivan, D. (2017). The evil animal: A terror management theory perspective on the human tendency to kill animals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin43, 743-757.

Zestcott, C. A., Bean, M. G., & Stone, J. (2017). Evidence of negative implicit attitudes toward individuals with a tattoo near the face. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations20, 186-201.

Zestcott, C. A., Blair, I. V., & Stone, J. (2016). Examining the presence, consequences, and reduction of implicit bias in health care: A narrative review. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 19, 528-542.

Zestcott*, C. A., Lifshin*, U., Helm, P., & Greenberg, J. (2016). He dies, he scores: Evidence that reminders of death motivate improved performance in basketball. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology38, 470-480. [*indicates co-first authorship]

Zestcott, C. A., & Brown, K. T. (2015). From the crowd to the competition: White athletes’ response to racism directed at a teammate of color. Current Psychology, 34, 634-643.


For reprints please visit my Research Gate or Google Scholar pages.


PSY 1105: General Psychology

This course offers an overview of the major concepts, methods, and real life applications of psychology. 

PSY 3327: Social Psychology

This course examines issues such as persuasion, aggression, prejudice, prosocial behavior, attraction, and the function of personality and situational influences in our daily lives.

PSY 3330: Research Methods

This course focuses on the process of theory development, research design, ethics, and scientific communication.

Social Cognition lab


Email Dr. Z if you are interested in joining the lab for the 2020-2021 school year!

A little more about Colin.

Contact Colin.

Department of Psychology & Sociology

The College of St. Scholastica

1200 Kenwood Ave.

Duluth, MN 55811

Phone: (218) 723-6348

Email: czestcott[at]css.edu