Social Psychology Faculty


2024-25 Admission Recruitment by Social Psychology Faculty 

CORE FACULTY: Aktipis  Cohen   Kenrick   Knight   Kwan   Neuberg   Saenz   Shiota   Varnum

Athena Aktipis, PhD, Assistant Professor. Athena's research investigates how cooperation and conflict shape systems from human sharing to cells within multicellular bodies using computational modeling, laboratory experiments and fieldwork to better understand these processes and the general principles that operate across cooperative systems. Her work addresses both cooperation on small-scales and the problems inherent in scaling-up cooperation to large, interconnected complex systems. Athena's contributions to cooperation theory include the Walk Away model of cooperation (showing that conditional movement favors cooperation) and the Need-based Transfers framework for resource sharing (which can outperform strict account-keeping). Research Lab: Cooperation and Conflict Lab

Adam Cohen, PhD, Associate Professor. Adam’s major areas of interest are in cultural and evolutionary psychology, especially as they apply to religion. His work has focused on moral judgment, forgiveness, identity, and motivation, and has been published in top–tier journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyPersonality and Social Psychology Review, and Journal of Personality. Adam's research has been funded by the Metanexus Institute, the Templeton Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Research Lab: CARMA

Douglas Kenrick, PhD, President's Professor and Social Psychology Area Head. Doug's main research interests involve the application of evolutionary models to social cognition, interpersonal behavior, and the emergence of cultural norms. His research has appeared in a wide range of journals and books including Psychological Review, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Handbook of Social Psychology. With Steve Neuberg and Bob Cialdini, Doug co-authored Social Psychology: Unraveling the Mystery, now in its fifth edition and he also wrote Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A psychologist investigates how evolution, cognition, and complexity are revolutionizing our view of human nature. Doug's latest book, The Rational Animal, was co-authored with former ASU grad student, Vladas Griskevicius. Research Lab: Evolutionary Social Cognition Lab

Virginia Kwan, PhD, Associate Professor. Virginia’s major research interests revolve around the broad content areas of social-perception processes, which she studies on three levels: (a) self-perception, (b) group perception, and (c) perceptions of nonhuman agents. She has developed a research program that examines social perception using multiple methods, multiple cultures, and multiple species. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, and has appeared in the top theoretical and empirical journals in psychology, including Psychological Review, Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyJournal of Personality, Journal of Experimental Social PsychologySocial CognitionSelf and Identity, and Experimental Brain Research. Research Lab: Culture and Decision Science Network Lab

Steven Neuberg, PhD, Foundation Professor and Department Chair. Steve's work integrates social-cognitive and evolutionary approaches in his research on stereotyping and prejudice; motivation and cognition; and social values and stigma. He also leads the ASU Global Group Relations Project, a multidisciplinary and global study of factors that shape intergroup relations and is a founding member of ASU’s interdisciplinary Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity. With colleagues Doug Kenrick and Bob Cialdini, he co-authored Social Psychology: Unraveling the Mystery, now in its 7th edition. He has published his work in the top scientific journals of the field and his research has long been supported by federal grants (National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Defense). He has served on NIH/NIMH grant review panels, was Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and serves on multiple editorial boards. Research Labs: Neuberg Lab and Evolutionary Social Cognition Lab.

Delia Saenz, PhD, Associate Professor. Delia’s research focuses on tokenism, intergroup processes, acculturation, social identity and family dynamics, and incorporates both experimental and field methodology. Her work on tokenism is often cited for its innovation and contribution to the understanding of diversity in work groups. Delia received the inaugural Kenneth and Mamie Clark Award from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Association, and the 2005 Excellence in Education Award from the Ronald McDonald House Charities National Scholarship Program. She has served in several administrative positions at ASU including Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education.

Michelle "Lani" Shiota, PhD, Associate Professor. Lani’s research takes a multi–method approach to the study of positive emotion and emotion regulation, integrating psychophysiology, behavioral, cognitive, narrative, and self–report measures. Specific interests include exploring differentiation among multiple, distinct positive emotions; positive emotion and social bonding; the role of positive emotion in emotion regulation; and short– and long–term cardiovascular aspects of emotion regulation. In addition to recent publications in Emotion and Cognition and Emotion, Lani is the co–author with Jim Kalat of the textbook Emotion, published by Thompson Wadsworth. Research Lab: Shiota Psychophysiology Lab for Affective Testing (SPLAT).

Michael Varnum, PhD, Assistant Professor. Michael's research is focused on how culture shapes fundamental psychological processes ranging from empathy, to conformity, to self-construal. He takes the view that what constitutes "culture" is not only nationality or ethnicity but that social class and region also constitute forms of culture. His work is focused on understanding the origins of cultural differences and the mechanisms by which these patterns of thinking are learned and maintained. He is also exploring factors that drive cultural change. In his work he uses a broad variety of approaches ranging from analysis of secondary datasets (i.e., census data), to social psychological lab experiments, to neuroimaging. His work has been published in top-tier journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Annual Review of Psychology, and NeuroImage. Research Lab: Cultural Neuroscience Lab

Affiliated Department Faculty

Leona Aiken, PhD, President's Professor. Leona is not only a member of the social psychology program but is also the area head for the department's Quantitative Program. She maintains a dual research program in health psychology and quantitative methods. Her current research focuses on health protective and health risk behavior in women across the lifespan, including mammography screening and postmenopausal hormone therapy in mature women, and risky sexual behavior, calcium consumption, and sun protection against skin cancer in young women. Leona is former president of APA’s Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics) and of Western Psychological Association, and has been president of the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology. She has been an associate editor of the American Psychologist and serves of the editorial boards of Psychological Methods and Multivariate Behavioral Research. With Stephen West, she is co–author of "Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions" and is co-author of the classic multiple regression text, "Applied Multiple Regression/Correlation Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences" (Cohen, Cohen, West, and Aiken).


Sanford Braver, PhD, (Emeritus Professor). Sandy moved his long–standing theoretical interest in bargaining and conflict resolution into the applied social psychology domain. For the last 20 years, he explored the social psychology of families. Researched originally with two large grants from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, Sandy had a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to explore the meanings family members attach to one another and the impact this has on children undergoing the adolescent transition. The author of "Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myth," Sandy is a sought–after consultant at the interface of psychology and family law. He was also affiliated with the Department's Prevention Research Center (PRC), under which he had two more large grants that explore issues of taking social-psychological interventions and principles into the wider community.

Robert Cialdini, PhD, (Emeritus Regents Professor). Bob's interests in persuasion and social influence have continued over the years, manifesting in a focus on consumer psychology, which became a large part of his graduate and undergraduate courses in interpersonal influence. Bob's interest in the influence process is also evident in his projects to investigate the factors that incline people to behave according to the norms of the society (e.g., to preserve the natural environment), and that incline people toward altruistic action. In addition to many articles in the field’s top research journals, Bob is author of "Influence: Science and Practice," author of a chapter on social influence in the newest edition of the Handbook of Social Psychology, and co–author with ASU colleagues Doug Kenrick and Steve Neuberg of, "Social Psychology: Unraveling the Mystery." He has received the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society of Consumer Psychology, the Donald T. Campbell Award for Distinguished Contributions in Social Psychology from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the inaugural Peitho Award for Distinguished Contributions to the study of social influence.

George Knight, PhD, Emeritus Professor. George’s primary research interests include the acculturation and enculturation of Mexican American families and the mental health outcomes associated with these adaptations to the mainstream and ethnic cultures; cross-ethnic and cross-race measurement equivalence, in particular among measures of family relations, parenting, and mental health; and social development, including the acquisition of cooperative-competitive, prosocial, and aggressive behavioral styles. In addition to being an Associate Editor for Developmental Psychology, he is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Family Psychology, and Social Development. He recently co-authored with Drs. Mark W. Roosa and Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor Studying ethnic minority and economically disadvantaged populations: Methodological challenges and best practices.

John W. Reich, PhD, Emeritus Professor. John's work has focused on the application of social psychological concepts in understanding societal issues and the development of interventions for improving individuals' well-being. Dr. Reich and the other two coeditors are members of the ASU Resilience Solutions Group, which was the source of the development of this handbook. (isearch link)

Nancy Felipe Russo, PhD, (Emeritus Regents Professor). Nancy was involved in a variety of research projects related to gender, health, and achievement, including examination of the mental health implications of violence against women, with special attention to implications of that information for mental health, law, and public policy. Nancy’s national reputation was reflected in her election to the presidency of APA's Division of the Psychology of Women and appointment to numerous committees and task forces, including the APA Task Forces on Women in Academe, Women in Science and Technology, and Male Violence against Women, among others. She has been an editor of the Psychology of Women Quarterly and  of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Mental Health and Social Justice. The 1992 winner of ASU's Faculty Achievement Award, she was the 1996 recipient of APA’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in the Public Interest, and in 2003 won the Distinguished International Psychologist Award from APA’s Division of International Psychology. She has been active in APA’s Society for Ethnic Minority and Cross–Cultural Psychology, and has served on the Board of Governors of the Arizona Arts, Sciences, and Technology Academy. In 2006, Nancy became the director of ASU’s Center for Academic Institutional and Cultural Change, a presidential initiative aimed at improving outcomes for academic women through research, education, and leadership development.