Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology: Volume 1

Handbooks

Edited by: Paul A. M. Van Lange, Arie W. Kruglanski & E. Tory Higgins

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    Notes on Editors and Contributors

    Icek Ajzen is professor of social psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA). He received his PhD degree from the University of Illinois and has, in past years, been a visiting professor at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Dr. Ajzen has conducted research on the attitude-behavior relation and is best known for his theory of planned behavior, a widely applied model of behavioral prediction. He has published several books and numerous scholarly articles in professional journals, and he has been recognized as a highly cited researcher in ISI Web of Knowledge. Among his books are Attitudes, Personality, and Behavior (Open University Press, 2005) and coauthored with Professor Martin Fishbein, Predicting and Changing Behavior: The Reasoned Action Approach (Psychology Press, 2010).

    Jamie Arndt is professor of psychology and director of the Social/Personality Program at the University of Missouri. He received his PhD from University of Arizona. His research interests focus on the motivational and existential dynamics of the human condition and how this interfaces with various forms of social and health behavior. These interests have led him to study the self, psychological defense, and unconscious motivation, among other topics. His applications of these ideas to health-related behavior have been funded by the National Cancer Institute. He has published articles regularly in a variety of journals, including Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Review, Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Health Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

    Albert Bandura is professor of psychology at Stanford University. The major focus of his work centers on the mechanisms of human agency through which people exercise some measure of influence over personal and social change. Human agency is exercised individually over what is personally controllable, in proxy form by influencing others to act on one's behalf and collectively by working together (see attachment). His book, Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory (Prentice-Hall, 1986), provides the conceptual framework of his theory and analyzes the large body of knowledge bearing on it. His most recent book, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control (Worth, 1997), presents belief in one's efficacy to produce effects by one's actions as an important vehicle of human agency. His diverse programs of research blend his theoretical interests with an abiding concern for the use of our knowledge for human enlightenment and betterment.

    Gary G. Berntson is a professor of psychology at the Ohio State University. He studied biology and psychology at the University of Minnesota, and was awarded a PhD (psychobiology and life sciences) in 1971. He is currently the president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and is on the editorial board for the International Journal of Psychophysiology. His interest is the behavioral neurosciences broadly, and the multilevel analysis of neurobiological substrates of stress and emotion in particular. In addition, his research focuses on the psychophysiology of autonomic control and its role in health and disease. He has published over 200 papers and several books, including the Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Sciences (Wiley, 2009) and the Handbook of Psychophysiology (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

    Pablo Briñol is associate professor of social psychology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), and a visiting scholar at Ohio State University. His research interests focus on the study of the psychological mechanisms underlying attitudes and persuasion. These fundamental processes range from the least thoughtful automatic processes (e.g., self-perception) to the most thoughtful metacognitive processes (e.g., thought validation). Dr. Briñol has published several books and book chapters in the domain of persuasion. His research has appeared in leading journals in the field, including Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

    John T. Cacioppo is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. He also served as the founding director of the Arete Initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Research and National Laboratories at the University of Chicago. Cacioppo takes a social neuroscientific approach in his investigations of affect and social behavior, where he and his colleagues utilize a variety of methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), standard and high-density electroencephalography and event-related brain potentials, psychophysiological assessments, neuroendocrine and immune assays, and quantitative genetics. Among his books are the Handbook of Neuro science for the Behavioral Sciences (Wiley, 2009), Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection (W.W. Norton, 2008), Social Neuroscience: People Thinking About Thinking People (MIT Press, 2006), Foundations in Social Neuroscience (MIT Press, 2002), Emotional Contagion (Cambridge University Press, 1994), Communication and Persuasion: Central and Peripheral Routes to Attitude Change (Springer, 1986), and Attitudes and Persuasion: Classic and Contemporary Approaches (Westview Press, 1981).

    Charles S. Carver is distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Miami. He has worked on a wide range of topics in personality, social, health, and clinical psychology. These topics include basic concepts regarding behavioral self-regulation, optimism, and the origins and functions of affect. He has also worked on applied topics such as vulnerability factors in both depression and mania. He has received awards for outstanding professional contributions from Division 38 (Health Psychology) and Division 8 (Personality and Social Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. He has been an editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and currently is associate editor of Psychological Review. He and his longtime collaborator Michael F. Scheier are authors of On the Self-regulation of Behavior(Cambridge University Press, 2001) and seven editions of Perspectives on Personality (6th ed., Allyn & Bacon, 2007). His current work focuses on genetic correlates of personality and psychopathology.

    Shelly Chaiken received her PhD in social psychology in 1978 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and she has since held professorial appointments at New York University, University of Toronto, and Vanderbilt University. Her research has centered on attitudes, persuasion, and social cognition, and she was awarded the Society for Experimental Social Psychology's Scientific Impact Award in 2009 for her influential work on dual process theories in attitudes. She is now retired and lives in Berkeley.

    Joel Cooper is professor of psychology and former chair of the department of psychology at Princeton University. His research has focused on attitudes and attitude change, with particular emphasis on cognitive dissonance. Cooper is the author of Cognitive Dissonance: 50 Years of a Classic Theory (Sage, 2007) and co-author of Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003). He is also co-editor of the Sage Handbook of Social Psychology (Sage, 2003; 2007). A former chair of the executive committee of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, Cooper is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

    Edward L. Deci is Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Rochester. He holds a psychology PhD from Carnegie-Mellon University, studied at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of London, and Hamilton College, and was a Postdoctoral fellow at Stanford. For more than 40 years he has done research on human motivation, much of it in collaboration with Richard M. Ryan. Deci has published ten books, including: Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior (with Ryan; Plenum Press, 1985). A grantee of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Education Sciences, he has lectured and consulted for universities, organizations, and governmental agencies in 23 countries on five continents.

    Roland Deutsch is professor of social psychology at the Technical University Dresden. His research is focused on social cognition and motivation. Current projects address processes of automatic evaluation, indirect attitude measures, effects of deprivation, and approach/avoidance motivation. He is associate editor of the journal Social Psychology and has been awarded the Theoretical Innovation Prize of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (jointly with Fritz Strack).

    Susan T. Fiske is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, Princeton University. She received her PhD from Harvard University and honorary doctorates from Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands. Author of over 250 publications, she investigates social cognition, especially cognitive stereotypes and emotional prejudices, at cultural, interpersonal, and neural levels. She recently edited Beyond Common Sense: Psychological Science in the Courtroom (Wiley/Blackwell, 2007) and the Handbook of Social Psychology (5th edition, Wiley, 2010). She wrote Social Beings: Core Motives in Social Psychology (Wiley, 2003) and Social Cognition: From Brains to Culture (McGraw-Hill, 2007). Her forthcoming Russell-Sage-Foundation book is Envy Up and Scorn Down: How Status Divides Us (2011). Recently, she won a Guggenheim, American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, and Association for Psychological Science's William James Award. She is an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow.

    Jackie K. Gollan is assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. She served as the Director of the Northwestern University Regional Center for the Depression Treatment Network (DTN), as part of a collaborative network of mood disorder researchers from 15 academic institutions. She directs a translational affective science laboratory, Stress and Depression Laboratory (SADLAB), and with the National Institute of Mental Health and foundation funding, conducts clinical research studies on substrates of disease onset and progression, biological and behavioral predictors of treatment response, new treatment development, and clinical efficacy testing. Her published work is on affective information processing, behavioral activation treatment, and predictors of treatment response.

    Peter M. Gollwitzer received his BA and MA in psychology in Germany, and his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. He headed the Research Unit “Intention and Action” at the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich, Germany. Since 1993 he has been a Full Professor of Psychology at the University of Konstanz and since 1999 at New York University. Gollwitzer has developed various models of action control: the theory of symbolic self-completion (with Robert A. Wicklund), the mindset model of action phases (with Heinz Heckhausen), the auto-motive model of automatic goal striving (with John A. Bargh), and most recently the theory of intentional action control, which distinguishes implementation intentions from goal intentions, and describes how if-then planning (i.e., the formation of implementation intentions) automates action control. Gollwitzer is the editor of Psychology of Action: Linking Cognition and Motivation to Behavior (with John A. Bargh; Guilford Press, 1996) and the Oxford Handbook of Human Action (with Ezequiel Morsella and John A. Bargh; Oxford University Press, 2008).

    Jeffrey Greenberg is professor of psychology at the University of Arizona. He has published over 200 articles and chapters, primarily focused on understanding self-esteem, prejudice, and intergroup conflict. In collaboration with Sheldon Solomon and Tom Pyszczynski, he developed terror management theory, a broad theoretical framework which explores the role of existential fears in diverse aspects of human behavior. He has received numerous grants for his research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Aging and has received the International Society for Self and Identity Lifetime Career Award. He is coauthor of two books, including In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror (American Psychological Assocation, 2003), and coeditor of two books, including the Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology (Guilford Press, 2004).

    E. Tory Higgins is the Stanley Schachter Professor of Psychology, Professor of Business, and Director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia (where he also received his PhD in 1973). He has received a MERIT Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Thomas M. Ostrom Award in Social Cognition, the Donald T. Campbell Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Psychology (Society of Personality and Social Psychology), and the Lifetime Contribution Award from the International Society for Self and Identity. He has also received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the William James Fellow Award for Distinguished Achievements in Psychological Science (from the American Psychological Society), and the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a recipient of Columbia's Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.

    Chester A. Insko is a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his AB in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1957, his MA in psychology from Boston University in 1958 and his PhD in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1963. He has spent time as a visiting professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, and at the University of Tilburg in Holland. He is a past associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and past editor of the Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes section of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. For many years most of his research was on attitude change, influence, and interpersonal attraction. While some of that research continues, more recently his research has focused on interindividual-intergroup discontinuity–the tendency in some social contexts for relations between groups to be more conflict prone than relations between individuals.

    Douglas T. Kenrick is professor of psychology at Arizona State University. His research attempts to integrate ideas from evolutionary biology, cognitive science, and dynamical systems theory. That work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health and been reported in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Psychological Review, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Personality and Social Psychology Review, and Evolution and Human Behavior. Kenrick has edited several books on evolutionary psychology, and contributed chapters to the Handbook of Social Psychology and Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. He is author of Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity Illuminate Human Nature (Basic Books, 2011) and (with Steven Neuberg and Robert Cialdini) of Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction (5th ed., Allyn & Bacon, 2010).

    Arie W. Kruglanski is a distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award, the Senior Humboldt Award, the Donald Campbell Award for Oustanding Contributions to Social Psychology from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, The University of Maryland Regents Award for Scholarship and Creativity, and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and is recipient of the Regesz Chair at the University of Amsterdam. He was Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, and is Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. He has served as editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition, editor of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and associate editor of the American Psychologist. His interests have been in the domains of human judgment and decision making, the motivation-cognition interface, group and intergroup processes, and the psychology of human goals. His work has been disseminated in over 200 articles, chapters and books and has been continuously supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, Deutsche Forschungs Gemeineschaft, the Ford Foundation, and the Israeli Academy of Science. He has recently served as member of the National Academy of Science panels on counterterrorism, and educational paradigms in homeland security. Kruglanski is now a co-director of START (National Center for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism), at the University of Maryland.

    Paul A.M. Van Lange is professor of social psychology and chair of the department of social and organizational psychology at the VU University at Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Most of his research on human cooperation and trust is grounded in interdependence theory, through which he seeks to understand the functions of forgiveness, generosity, empathy, competition, and general beliefs of human nature in various situations. Van Lange has coauthored the Atlas of Interpersonal Situations (Cambridge University Press, 2003), edited Bridging Social Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006), and served as an associate editor for various journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He has been a Director of the Kurt Lewin Institute and currently serves as Member and President of the Executive Committee of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

    Alison Ledgerwood is an assistant professor in the psychology department at the University of California, Davis. She received her PhD in 2008 from New York University. Her research focuses on understanding when and why evaluations shift in response to the social context, and her work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Social Cognition, and Advances in Experimental Social Psychology.

    Catherine J. Norris is an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College. She received her BA, MA, and PhD all from the University of Chicago. Her research uses neuroscience and psychophysiological measures to understand emotional and evaluative processes. She is interested in how individual differences in responses to emotional stimuli and events affect mental and physical health, as well as the role that the social context plays in these relationships. She has recently been published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Emotion, Psychophysiology, and Biological Psychology.

    Richard E. Petty is a distinguished university professor of psychology at Ohio State University. He received his BA from the University of Virginia and his PhD from Ohio State. Petty's research focuses on the situational and individual factors responsible for changes in attitudes and behaviors with a current emphasis on both implicit and metacognitive factors. He has published eight books and over 275 articles and chapters. Petty's honors include receipt of the Scientific Impact Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and Distinguished Scientific Contribution Awards from the Societies for Personality and Social Psychology and Consumer Psychology. He is past editor of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and former President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Midwestern Psychological Association.

    Richard M. Ryan is professor of psychology, psychiatry, and education at the University of Rochester, and the director of clinical training. He is a widely published researcher and theorist in the areas of human motivation, personality, and wellbeing, and codeveloper (with Edward L. Deci) of self-determination theory. Ryan, who has lectured in more than 60 universities around the globe, is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and an Honorary Member of the German Psychological Society (DGP). He is editor-in-chief of the journal Motivation & Emotion and has been a James McKeen Cattell Fellow and a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

    Michael F. Scheier is professor and head of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. His research falls at the intersection of personality, social, and health psychology. His current research focuses on the effects of dispositional optimism on psychological and physical well-being, and on the health benefits of goal adjustment when confronting adversity. He is a fellow in Divisions 8 and 38 of the American Psychological Association (APA), and in the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He has received awards for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology and the Donald T. Campbell Award for distinguished lifetime contributions to social psychology (offered by APA Divisions 38 and 8, respectively). He has served Division 38 (Health Psychology) in the past as chair of the Nominations and Election Committee, as associate editor of Health Psychology, and as president.

    Nira Liberman is professor of psychology at Tel Aviv University. Her doctoral degree is from Tel Aviv University. As one of the authors of Construal Level Theory, much of her research focuses on psychological distance – how it affects and is being affected by mental construal, prediction, decision making, persuasion, performance, interpersonal relations, and more. She also made contributions to other areas of theory and research, all of which come under the general umbrella of the interface between motivation and cognition: An attributional theory of thought suppression, the question of how goals affect construct accessibility, how regulatory foci affect decision making. Her research has been funded by the Israeli Science Foundation and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation. She has served as an Associate Editor for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    Norbert Schwarz is the Charles Horton Cooley Collegiate Professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, where he also holds appointments at the Ross School of Business and the Institute for Social Research. His research focuses on the socially situated and embodied nature of cognition, the interplay of feeling and thinking, and the implications of basic cognitive and communicative processes for public opinion, consumer behavior, and social science research.

    Gün R. Semin is an academy professor with The Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences at Utrecht University and also professor of psychology at Koç University, Istanbul. He has previously served as professor and chair of the department of social psychology at the Free University, where he also was the research director of the Faculty of Psychology and Education. He was also the founding scientific director of the Kurt Lewin Institute, the inter-university graduate school in social psychology and its applications and was chair of the Standing Committee on Social Sciences (SCSS) of the European Science Foundation. Currently, he is chair of Psychology Panel of the Portuguese National Science Foundation (FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology), Lisbon, Portugal, member of the Expert Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschap and Science Council for the Excellence initiative by the German Government (since 2007), and Member of the ERC Advanced Grant evaluation panel. He is also a fellow of Association of Psychological Science (APS) and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP), and chair of the Internationalization Committee of APS and secretary to the APS Board.

    Fritz Strack is professor and chair in psychology at the University of Würzburg. He was editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology and President of the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP). His research focuses on issues in the domain of social cognition. In particular, he is interested in the interaction between subjective experience and cognition in their determination of judgments and behavior. He has been awarded the Wilhelm-Wundt Medal of the German Psychological Society (jointly with Norbert Schwarz) and the Theoretical Innovation Prize of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (jointly with Roland Deutsch).

    Jerry Suis is professor of psychology and collegiate fellow at the University of Iowa. His main interests have been social comparison, the role of psychological factors in physical wellbeing, and biases concerning social norms, such as the above-average effect and false distinctiveness. He has edited the Handbook of Social Comparison (with Ladd Wheeler; Springer, 2000) and several other volumes. He was a past editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and is the current editor-in-chief of Social and Personality Psychology Compass.

    Shelley E. Taylor is a distinguished professor of psychology at UCLA. She studies social relationships and how they protect against stress. Her tend-and-befriend model builds on the fact that, in response to stress, people come together with others for joint protection of self and offspring. Professor Taylor also studies self-regulation, stress, and coping and explores the skills that people develop and use for anticipating stressful events and for minimizing their adverse effects when they do occur. Finally, Taylor studies how positive beliefs are protective of mental and physical health. She shows that optimism, self-enhancement, a perception of control, and social support can protect against threats or traumas, not only psychologically but also in terms of physical health. She publishes in both biological and psychological journals.

    Yaacov Trope is a professor of psychology at New York Univeristy. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1974. His general areas of interest are social cognition, motivation, and self-regulation. His current research emphasizes self control processes, social judgment, and the cognitive, motivational, and social processes that enable people to focus on the “here-and-now” and those that enable them to transcend the “here-and-now” and traverse psychological distance. He is editor of two books: Dual-process Theories in Social Psychology (Guilford Press, 1998) and Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain (Oxford University Press, 2010).

    Robin R. Vallacher is professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University, and research associate in the Center for Complex Systems at University of Warsaw, and the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity at Columbia University. His research interests include action identification, self-concept structure and dynamics, social coordination, conflict, and social change. In recent years, he and his colleagues have adapted principles and methods of complexity science to reframe and investigate these and other topics. His books include Implicit Psychology (Oxford University Press, 1977) and A Theory of Action Identification (Psychology Press, 1985), both with Daniel Wegner, and Dynamical Systems in Social Psychology (Academic Press, 1994) and Dynamical Social Psychology (Guilford Press, 1998), both with Andrzej Nowak.

    Daniel M. Wegner is professor of psychology at Harvard University. A PhD of Michigan State University (1974), he studies thought suppression (how we keep unwanted thoughts out of mind), transactive memory (how we remember things cooperatively with others), action identification (what we think we are doing), mind perception (how we gauge whether entities have minds), and apparent mental causation (what gives us the sense that we consciously will our actions). His books include Implicit Psychology (Oxford University Press, 1977) and A Theory of Action Identification (Psychology Press, 1985), both with R.R. Vallacher, White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts (Guilford Press, 1989), and The Illusion of Conscious Will (Bradford Books, 2002).

    Bernard Weiner is currently a distinguished professor of psychology and has been at the University of California, Los Angeles since 1965. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1963. He has written, coauthored, or edited 16 books, including Judgments of Responsibility (Guilford Press, 1995), and Social Motivation, Justice, and the Moral Emotions (Laurence Erlbaum, 2006), as well as published more than 200 articles. He has been awarded the Donald Campbell Research Award and the Edward L. Thorndike Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Palmer Johnson Publication Award from the American Educational Research Association. In addition to a Distinguished Teaching Award, he holds honorary degrees from the University of Bielefeld, Germany; the Turku University, Finland; and the University of Manitoba, Canada.

    Ladd Wheeler is currently a professor at the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He was a longstanding member of the faculty of the University of Rochester. His major substantive interests have been social comparison, behavioral contagion, physical attractiveness, and social interaction. He is a pioneer in the use of diary methods, such as the Rochester Interaction Record and the Social Comparison Record. He is a past president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the founding editor of the Review of Personality and Social Psychology.

    Robert S. Wyer, Jr. is a visiting professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and professor (Emeritus) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include social comprehension, memory and judgment, affect, consumer information processing. Dr. Wyer is the author or coauthor of four books, the most recent being Social Comprehension and Judgment (Laurence Erlbaum, 2004) and an editor of several others including the Handbook of Social Cognition (2nd ed., Psychology Press, 1994), the Advances in Social Cognition series (Psychology Press), and Understanding Culture: Theory and Research and Application (Psychology Press, 2009). Dr. Wyer is a former editor of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and, more recently, the Journal of Consumer Psychology.He is a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Special Research Prize for Distinguished Scientists, the first annual Thomas M. Ostrom Award for Distinguished Contributions to Person Memory and Social Cognition, and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Awards given by the Society for Experimental Social Psychology (2009) and the Society for Consumer Psychology (2011).

    Preface

    Ideas make the world go around – especially good ideas and especially in science. Indeed, science is all about ideas and their implementation in empirical research. This is true for the science of social psychology as well. Indisputably, the quintessential carriers of scientific ideas are theories. It is theories that get to the underlying essences of phenomena and trace their implications for myriads of concrete situations. It is theories that pull the strands of seemingly disparate occurrences and tie them into coherent systems guided by common principles. Good theories are not just practical, as Lewin noted; they are essential to the scientific enterprise. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that from its early beginnings social psychological research has been guided by theories of various kinds. Numerous theoretical frameworks have been added by creative thinkers in the course of time. By now, the field of social psychology is rich in theoretical contributions in its many domains of endeavor. Some social psychological theories have been around for a long time, others for little more than a decade. Some have been tested, revised, and extended, while others have remained in their original form and continued to inspire research on the force of their timeless insights. Some theories have intriguingly morphed into other theories, others remained pristinely faithful to their initial version. Some theories have been wonderfully elaborated and articulated. Others have been adumbrated in vague outline, representing work in progress or diamonds in the rough. In this volume, we are interested in all such theories not only because they provide a comprehensive overview of the theories in social psychology, but also because we felt it is important that authors share with the readers the process of theory construction, development, and nurturance that serves such an important function for science. Here is why.

    The process of theorizing, and the skills of theory construction, have been shrouded in a cloak of mystery in our field. They are rarely taught in graduate programs in social psychology, nor do they constitute a recognized and trusted tool in the kit of young researchers. A major purpose of the present project was to demystify the process of theorizing and expose its hidden underbelly and intricate entrails. Indeed, chapters by our contributors reveal how serendipity born of personal circumstances often determines the course that one's theory construction would take; how theory development often requires tenacity, persistence, patience, and “blood, sweat and tears.” Another purpose of the book was to illustrate how the work of theory construction is indispensable to scientific development, and how important and gratifying it can be to those who manage to stay on the course of constructing and testing their theory.

    Our own conviction, stemming from our earlier work, and presented in the introductory chapter, has been that theories should be guided by the regulatory ideas of truth, abstraction, progress, and applicability. This notion served as the basis of a research grant, “Social Psychology: Bridging Theory and Application in Society,” (NWO. grant, nr. 400–07–710), awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, which gave the first editor extra time to devote to this Handbook. Because of the immensity of the project and common interest in theory, he invited the second and third editors to join in, and they enthusiastically agreed. After initial discussion, we concurred that this volume should carry a unique mission: illuminating theory construction from the inside out. Accordingly, the instructions we gave to our contributors were explicit and precise. We asked authors not only to give an overview of their theory or model, but also touch on three essential aspects: (1) a personalized history of the theory's beginnings and development over time as recounted by the theoretician; (2) the theory's place in the intellectual space in a given domain (i.e., the contribution it makes to the history of ideas on its topic); and (3) the theory's relevance to real-world concerns (i.e., its potential contribution to solving real-world problems). Inevitably, the various chapters in this volume differed in their primary focus, and in the emphasis accorded to each of these aspects. But overall, these three foci are amply represented across the chapters. Of greatest importance, they tell a fascinating tale documenting the challenges, adversities, and joys that theory construction brings its practitioners, and the rich conceptual endowment that it brings our discipline.

    The Editors
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