Dr. Geraldine Downey

Columbia University

Geraldine Downey, Ph.D., is a member of University of the People’s Arts & Sciences Advisory Board. She currently serves as a Professor of Psychology at Columbia University and director of its Social Relations Laboratory.


Dr. Downey has held various roles at Columbia University, including department chair, associate professor and assistant professor. From 2007 until 2009, she served as Vice-Provost for Diversity Initiatives at Columbia. In this capacity, Dr. Downey worked to implement the University’s diversity mission statement and in particular led efforts to increase the diversity of Columbia’s faculty, administration, and officers of research. She has also held research positions at the University of Michigan and Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland.


The author of several books and articles, Dr. Downey’s primary research area is the study of personal and status based rejection. Trained as a developmental psychologist, she has conducted extensive research on rejection sensitivity in the context of interpersonal relationships and in institutional settings such as schools. Dr. Downey is a member of American Psychological Association, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Society for Research in Child Development and Society for Research in Adolescence.


She has been the recipient of honors and awards including the W.T. Grant Faculty Scholar, NIMH FIRST Award, Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Award for Junior Faculty and Columbia University Distinguished Faculty Award.


Dr. Downey received her B.A. from University College, Dublin, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.