Our Research

Survey Research Methods

Our faculty contribute to four thematic areas. As a student in our program, you may choose research projects that utilize one or more of these themes, or engage in social psychological scholarship in other aspects of the discipline.

Social Psychology and Health

The faculty of our program are actively engaged in research that assesses human health and well-being from a social-psychological perspective. Their areas of interest span a broad range, including the influence of psychological and social processes on

  • physiology,
  • doctor/patient interaction,
  • stigma and health,
  • violence against women,
  • religious participation and health,
  • grief surrounding mass tragedies, and
  • the social-psychological processes behind social inequalities in health.

Social and Personal Relationships

Faculty research interests in the area of social and personal relationships focus on research issues related to the development, maintenance and dissolution of human relationships. Topics span a broad range of issues looking at relationships within friendships, dating, intimacies, social networks, marriage, and family contexts as well as different life stages.

Specific issues of concern include

  • the interface among gender, socialization and relationships,
  • adolescent relationship perceptions,
  • marital or relationship commitment,
  • relationships and health, and
  • cultural differences in relationship formation and dynamics.

Social Psychology and Law/Justice

The social psychology and law specialization consists of advanced courses, seminars, directed research, and opportunities for practice in justice system settings. Social psychology and law program faculty offer a seminar that covers the area of scholarship in social psychology and law that is usually taken by students in their second or third year of study. Advanced seminars are offered on jury behavior and other specialized topics in areas of law, social justice, and criminal justice. Appropriate courses in related departments are also often taken by our students, such as constitutional law and jurisprudence, which are offered by the political science department.

The Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, a research center on the campus that is directed by a social psychology faculty member, affords students an opportunity for assistantships and research on justice issues.

Projects at the center have included, but are not limited to, studies of

  • grand jurors,
  • decisions by district attorneys to seek the death penalty in eligible cases,
  • program evaluation research in justice-related settings, and
  • the use of scientific evidence in court.

Faculty and graduate students in the specialization attend colloquia and lectures at the center presented by University faculty and visiting scholars, and also find resources at the center for their individual research.

The National Judicial College and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges are located on our University campus. These unique justice establishments afford research opportunities for graduate students in the social psychology and law specialization.

Social Psychology and Organizations

Several of our faculty members study human behavior in organizations and related applied settings, such as management consulting. Our work is simultaneously both research-oriented and theory-driven. The theory is rooted in Social Psychology, but is informed as well by other social sciences such as economics, government policy-making, and legal processes.

Broad areas of investigation include current issues in

  • industrial/organizational psychology,
  • organizational behavior and theory,
  • organizational consulting,
  • leadership,
  • social psychology and educational institutions, and
  • human resource management.

Courses recently made available to program students include organizational behavior, and topics such as

  • ethical behavior in organizations,
  • organization development and consulting,
  • women and organizations,
  • job stress and coping, and
  • technological diffusion and development.