James Wages, Ph.D.

Social Psychologist


James Wages, Ph.D., is an experimental social psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) located in Conway, Arkansas. James started his tenure-track faculty position in the fall semester of 2021, shortly after completing his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in psychology at Northwestern University located in Evanston, Illinois. James also earned his Master of Science (M.S.) degree in psychology at Northwestern. James studied social cognition, intergoup processes, and decision-making under the tutelage of Drs. Sylvia Perry and Galen Bodenhausen during his graduate training. As the first person in his family to attend college, James completed his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in psychology at the University of Arkansas located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

James was born in Tupelo, Mississippi (shared birthplace of Elvis) and later moved to Bella Vista, Arkansas, where he graduated from Gravette High School. James's immediate family resides in Northwest Arkansas, where James calls home. James's partner, J.W., is from Fort Smith, Arkansas. James enjoys being with his partner and family, traveling, discovering arts and cuisines, playing the tuba/euphonium, immersing in the fantasy genres, and cheering on the Arkansas Razorbacks (Woo Pig Sooie!). James is very excited to join and support the UCA and Conway communities!


James studies social cognition, stereotyping, and decision-making as well as their applications for pressing social, health, and achievement outcomes. His primary work investigates how people make meaning of risk-taking and whether such meanings are imbued with race and gender stereotype content. His work in this area was recently accepted for publication in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. James also studies the nature of prejudice and strategies to reduce prejudice and its pernicious effects. James is eager to continue these lines of research (and beyond) with students interested in gaining research experience in social psychology. Interested students are encouraged to reach out to James directly to inquire for opportunities.


As a first-generation college student from a low-income background, James is passionate about the promise of higher education to promote upward social mobility, equity, and enlightenment. He seeks to inspire students to grow and learn through engaging, supportive, and inclusive college teaching. James is currently teaching or interested in teaching Research Methods in Psychology, Research Methods Lab, Developmental Psychology, History and Systems of Psychology, and Social Psychology.


Systemic considerations in child development and the pursuit of racial equality in the United States

S. P. Perry, Skinner-Dorkenoo A. L., J. E. Wages III, J. L. Abaied

Psychological Inquiry, (In Press)

Reckless gambles and responsible ventures: Racialized prototypes of risk-taking

J. E. Wages III, S. P. Perry, A. L. Skinner-Dorkenoo, G. V. Bodenhausen

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (In Press)

Testing a self‐affirmation intervention for improving the psychosocial health of Black and White medical students in the United States

S. P. Perry, J. E. Wages III, A. L. Skinner‐Dorkenoo, S. E. Burke, R. R. Hardeman, S. M. Phelan

Journal of Social Issues: Special Issue on Self-Affirmation Theory in Educational Contexts, 2021, pp. 1-32

Affective disgust predicts blame for gay male homicide victims

E. A. Quinn, A. L. Skinner-Dorkenoo, J. E. Wages III

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2021

Zero-sum beliefs of racial progress

S. P. Perry, J. E. Wages III

Nature Human Behaviour: News & Views, 2020, pp. 130-131


Research Methods in Psychology

Northwestern University

In Research Methods, Dr. Wages teaches students how to think critically about research and how to use psychological scientific tools to study the human mind and behavior.

Research Methods Laboratory

University of Central Arkansas

Dr. Wages teaches research methods lab to grant students an opportunity to apply the scientific method to a real psychological research question from study design and construction to data collection and analysis to presentation of study results.

Developmental Psychology

University of Central Arkansas

In this course, Dr. Wages focuses on the psychological (biological, cognitive, and social) development of new borns to late adolescents. Dr. Wages gives special attention to the sociocultural context of human development.

Social Psychology

University of Central Arkansas

Dr. Wages plans to teach social psychology to introduce students to the psychological science of human sociality. This course focuses on canon and contemporary empirical research of how the real or imagined presence of others affects people.


James Wages

Assistant Professor of Psychology


Department of Psychology and Counseling

University of Central Arkansas

201 Donaghey Avenue
Mashburn Hall, Office 211
Conway, Arkansas 72035