The strength of the social psychology specialty is in social cognition and social judgment.

The primary goal of this program is to train psychologists who are capable of conducting high-quality research in social psychology. Under the guidance of their advisors, all students become actively involved in research beginning with their first quarter. Throughout their graduate training, students are expected to spend the majority of their time engaged in research.

While all students complete similar courses their first year, in consultation with their advisors, students develop programs of study tailored to their special interests. These programs not only include specialized courses in social psychology, but also may include coursework in other areas of psychology, including cognitive, physiological, health, developmental, and industrial/organizational.


  • Mark Alicke, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina, 1984),
    - Research interests include the role of the self in social judgment and in the processes by which negative evaluations of people and their behavior is translated into judgments of blame and the imposition of sanctions.
  • Jennifer Howell, Ph.D. (University of Florida),
    Assistant Professor
    - Research interests include the self, decision-making, responding to threatening feedback, and health.
  • Dan Lassiter, Ph.D. (University of Virginia, 1984),
    - Research interests include the problem of how people come to organize and comprehend the information contained in another person's ongoing stream of behavior.
  • Keith Markman, Ph.D. (Indiana University, 1994),
    Associate Professor
    - Research interests include the areas of motivated social cognition and social judgment and decision-making, and counterfactual thinking - the generation of imagined alternatives to reality.
  • Kimberly Rios, Ph.D. (Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2008),
    Assistant Professor
    - Research focuses on people’s responses to threats to their self-concepts, interpersonal relationships, or group identities. Examples of such threats include being uncertain about oneself or one’s attitudes, being socially excluded, and perceiving an outgroup to threaten the ingroup’s power/resources or fundamental values.


Affiliated Faculty

  • Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Ph.D., Michigan State University (1989),
    Professor - Current research involves developing and testing computational models of human/environment interactions, focusing on the role of goals and feedback in motivation and learning.