Thomas O'Brien is a social psychologist who conducts research on the processes that shape trust of institutions, authorities, and experts. He has applied this research to criminal justice reform and is now applying his research to broader issues of public policy, public health, and the development of conspiratorial beliefs. 

In addition to his primary focus, Thomas has also published research on intergroup conflict and factors that shape public support for foreign policies increasing or resolving international conflict. He has also co-authored research on the development of cross-ethnic friendship among children, and the role of psychological meaning in intergroup conflict. 

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O'Brien, T. C., Tyler, T. R., & Meares, T. L. (2019). Building popular legitimacy with reconciliatory gestures and participation: A community‐level model of authority. Regulation & Governance, doi:10.1111/rego.12264,

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O'Brien, T. C., & Tyler, T. R. (2020). Authorities and communities: Can authorities shape cooperation with communities on a group level? Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, 26(1), 69-87. doi:10.1037/law0000202

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O'Brien, T. C., & Tyler, T. R. Rebuilding trust between police and communities through procedural justice and reconciliation. Behavioral Science & Policy, 5(1), 35-50.

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Psychology Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820.  (217) 244-7019.