Keith Payne was born in Maceo, Kentucky. He received his B.A. from Western Kentucky University and his Ph.D. from Washington University and is now a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina. His path from the hills of Kentucky to the halls of academia laid the foundation for his research on the human consequences of social and economic inequality. He has published more than seventy articles and book chapters and his work has been covered in the media including NPR, the New York Times, and The Atlantic. He has written for general audiences at Scientific American and Psychology Today.