Our lab is working on issues related to how the expression of prejudice is different from the underlying "genuine" prejudice. We began studying prejudice against fat people as a starting point to understand a wide variety of prejudices; in addition to the usual study of racism and sexism, we are studying prejudice against socially unacceptable groups, such as murderers, rapists, and sex offenders.
We have been studying the justification of prejudice, particularly through ideology, values, stereotypes, and the kinds of explanations people make for bad outcomes. When a person is seen to be responsible for their behavior and life outcomes, then discrimination, hatred, and rough treatment is not only justified, but seen as natural, ethical, and good.
We are also working on the underlying psychological nature of political ideology--how natural, normal, non-political social-cognitive processes affect political ideology, and working on the naive perception of political process, testing the perceptual theory of legitimacy. Part of this is a social cognition approach to ideology, including the propensity to confuse "the way things are" with "the way things ought to be" (e.g., status quo bias, naturalistic fallacy, existence bias).
Finally, we are continuing to work on the perceptual theory of political legitimacy (Crandall & Beasley, 2001). In the perceptual theory, we apply the processes described by Heider (1958)—consistency, balance, perception of units, attribution—to political cognition and perception. The theory has been successfully applied to areas as diverse as candidate perception, attitudes toward impeachment, and to American conduct of covert wars and assignment of suspects to torture or "mere" detainment.