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The Sage handbook of methods in social psychology
 9781782689447, 1782689443

Table of contents :
PART I Introduction and Overview. 1. The Research Process: Of Big Pictures, Little Details, and the Social Psychological Road in between / Carol Sansone and Carolyn C. Morf and A.T. Panter. PART II Fundamental Issues in Social Psychological Research. 2. The Methodological Assumptions of Social Psychology: The Mutual Dependence of Substantive Theory and Method Choice / Thomas D. Cook and Carla Groom --
3. Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Research / Allan J. Kimmel --
4. Developing a Program of Research / Susan T. Fiske. PART III Design and Analysis. Implications of a Heterogeneous Population: Deciding for Whom to Test the Research Question(s), Why, and How --
5. Culturally Sensitive Research Questions and Methods in Social Psychology / Joan G. Miller --
6. Individual Differences in Social Psychology: Understanding Situations to Understand People, Understanding People to Understand Situations / Yuichi Shoda --
Operationalizing the Constructs: Deciding What to Measure, Why, and How --
7. Constructing and Evaluating Quantitative Measures for Social Psychological Research: Conceptual Challenges and Methodological Solutions / Duane T. Wegener and Leandre R. Fabrigar --
8. Measures and Meanings: The Use of Qualitative Data in Social and Personality Psychology / Laura A. King --
9. Implicit Methods in Social Psychology / John F. Kihlstrom --
10. Mediated and Moderated Effects in Social Psychological Research: Measurement, Design, and Analysis Issues / Rick H. Hoyle and Jorgianne Civey Robinson --
Research Designs: Deciding the Specific Approach for Testing the Research Question(s), Why, and How --
11. Experimental Design and Causality in Social Psychology Research / S. Alexander Haslam and Craig Mcgarty --
12. Quasi-Experimental and Correlational Designs: Methods for the Real World When Random Assignment isn't Feasible / Melvin M. Mark and Charles S. Reichardt --
13. Within-Subject and Longitudinal Experiments: Design and Analysis Issues / Stephen G. West and Jeremy C. Biesanz Oi-Man Kwok --
14. Measuring Individuals in a Social Environment: Conceptualizing Dyadic and Group Interaction / Richard Gonzalez and Dale Griffin --
15. Quantitative Research Synthesis: Examining Study Outcomes over Settings, Samples, and Time / Wendy Wood and P. Niels Christensen. PART IV Emerging Interdisciplinary Approaches: The Integration of Social Psychology and other Disciplines. 16. Methodological and Ethical Issues in Conducting Social Psychology Research via the Internet / Michael H. Birnbaum --
17. Social Neuroscience: Bridging Social and Biological Systems / John T. Cacioppo, Tyler S. Lorig, Howard C. Nusbaum AND Gary G. Berntson --
18. Supplementing the Snapshots with Video Footage: Taking a Developmental Approach to Understanding Social Psychological Phenomena / Eva M. Pomerantz, Diane N. Ruble and Niall Bolger. PART V The Application of Social Psychology and its Methods to other Domains. 19. Program Evaluation, Action Research, and Social Psychology: A Powerful Blend for Addressing Applied Problems / Geoffrey Maruyama --
20. Methodological Challenges and Scientific Rewards for Social Psychologists Conducting Health Behavior Research / Peter Salovey and Wayne T. Steward --
21. Research Methods of Micro Organizational Behavior / Leigh Thompson, Mary Kern and Denise Lewin Loyd --
22. Conducting Social Psychological Research in Educational Settings: "Lessons We Learned in School" / Judith M. Harackiewicz and Kenneth E. Barron.

Citation preview


Handbook of Methods in Social Psychology

the memory of Kurt Lewin, whose contributions continue to instruct and inspire generations of social psychologists.


Handbook of Methods in Social Psychology

Edited by Carol Sansone University of Utah

Carolyn C. Morf and A T . Panter University of N o r t h Carolina, Chapel Hill

SAGE Publications International Educational and Professional Thousand Oaks • London • New Delhi


Copyright © 2 0 0 4 by Sage Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. For

information: Sage Publications, Inc. 2 4 5 5 Teller Road Thousand Oaks, California 9 1 3 2 0 E-mail: [email protected] Sage Publications Ltd. 6 Bonhill Street London EC2A 4PU United Kingdom Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd. B-42, Panchsheel Enclave New Delhi 110 0 1 7 India

Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Sage handbook of methods in social psychology / Carol Sansone, Carolyn C. Morf, A. T. Panter, editors, p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0 - 7 6 1 9 - 2 5 3 5 - X (Cloth) — ISBN 0-7619-2536-8 (Paper) 1. Social psychology—Methodology. I. Sansone, Carol. II. Morf, Carolyn C. III. Panter, A. T. HM1019.S24 2004 302'.01—dc21 2003004673 This book is printed on acid-free paper. 03





Acquisitions Editor: Editorial Assistant: Copy Editor: Production Editor: Typesetter: Proofreader: Indexer: Cover Designer:









Jim Brace-Thompson Karen Ehrmann A. J . Sobczak Diane S. Foster C & M Digitals (P) Ltd, Penny Sippel Juniee Oneida Michelle Kenny


Brief Contents


Part I: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW 1. T h e Research Process: O f Big Pictures, Little Details,

and the Social Psychological Road in Between






2. T h e Methodological Assumptions of Social

Psychology: T h e Mutual Dependence of Substantive

Theory and Method Choice




3 . Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Research



4 . Developing a Program of Research





Section A. Implications of a Heterogeneous

Population: Deciding for W h o m to Test the

Research Question(s), Why, and H o w



Culturally Sensitive Research Questions and

Methods in Social Psychology JOAN G . MILLER



Individual Differences in Social Psychology: Understanding Situations to Understand People, Understanding People to Understand Situations



Section B . Operationalizing the Constructs: Deciding W h a t to Measure, Why, and H o w 7. Constructing and Evaluating Quantitative Measures for Social Psychological Research: Conceptual Challenges and Methodological Solutions




8. Measures and Meanings: T h e Use of Qualitative Data in Social and Personality Psychology



9. Implicit Methods in Social Psychology



1 0 . Mediated and Moderated Effects in Social Psychological Research: Measurement, Design, and Analysis Issues



Section C. Research Designs: Deciding the Specific Approach for Testing the Research Question(s), Why, and H o w


1 1 . Experimental Design and Causality in Social Psychology Research



12. Quasi-Experimental and Correlational Designs: Methods for the Real World When Random Assignment Isn't Feasible



1 3 . Within-Subject and Longitudinal Experiments: Design and Analysis Issues



1 4 . Measuring Individuals in a Social Environment: Conceptualizing Dyadic and Group Interaction RICHARD GONZALEZ AND DALE GRIFFIN


1 5 . Quantitative Research Synthesis: Examining Study Outcomes Over Settings, Samples, and Time



Part IV: EMERGING INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES: THE INTEGRATION OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND OTHER DISCIPLINES 1 6 . Methodological and Ethical Issues in Conducting Social Psychology Research via the Internet




17. Social Neuroscience: Bridging Social and Biological Systems



1 8 . Supplementing the Snapshots With Video Footage: Taking a Developmental Approach to Understanding Social Psychological Phenomena



Part V: THE APPLICATION OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND ITS METHODS TO OTHER DOMAINS 1 9 . Program Evaluation, Action Research, and Social Psychology: A Powerful Blend for Addressing Applied Problems




2 0 . Methodological Challenges and Scientific Rewards for Social Psychologists Conducting Health Behavior Research



2 1 . Research Methods of Micro Organizational Behavior



2 2 . Conducting Social Psychological Research in Educational Settings: "Lessons W e Learned in School" JUDITH M . HARACKIEWICZ AND KENNETH E . BARRON


Name Index


Subject Index


About the Editors


About the Contributors


Detailed Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Reference

Part I: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW 1. T h e Research Process: O f Big Pictures, Little Details,

and the Social Psychological R o a d in Between

xxvii xxix xxix

1 3


The Research Process The Starting Point: The Phenomena The Research Question To Whom Does the Question Apply? Operationalizations and Design Can We Answer the Question? Organization of This Handbook Organizing Principles Specific Organization Part II: Fundamental Issues in Social Psychological Research Part III: Design and Analysis Part IV: Emerging Interdisciplinary Approaches Part V: The Application of Social Psychology and Its Methods to Other Domains Conclusion References


2 . T h e Methodological Assumptions of Social

Psychology: T h e Mutual Dependence of Substantive

Theory and Method Choice THOMAS D. COOK AND CARLA GROOM

6 6 7 7 8 9 11 11 11 11 12 13 14 14 15



Introduction The Hypothetico-Deductive Method The Types of Theory That Social Psychologists Construct The Theory-Hypothesis Link Form of Data Collection The Dual Hegemony of ANOVA and the Laboratory Experiment Specific Theoretical Concerns and Their Methodological Implications The Social Cognitive Revolution The Relative Neglect of Theories of Interpersonal Dynamics The Neglect of High-Impact Manipulations and the Kinds of Theory They Promote The Average Person as the Locus of Explanation The Assumption of Irrelevant Domains and Hence the Generation of Theories With Minimal Grounded Content Conclusion References 3. Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Research

19 22 22 24 27 29 32 32 34 34 35

37 39 40 45


Chapter Overview The Evolution of Ethical Debate and Regulation in Social Psychology Governmental Regulations for Behavioral Research in the United States Professional Ethical Standards Ethical Dilemmas in Social Psychological Research Defining "Ethics," "Morality," and "Ethical Dilemma" Ethical Issues in the Conduct of Laboratory, Field, and Applied Research Laboratory Research Issues Field Research Issues Privacy Informed Consent Social Psychology Research and the Internet Applied Research Issues Ethical Safeguards and Institutional Review Debriefing and Other Safeguards

46 46 47 48 51 51 53 53 57 58 58 59 59 61 61

Institutional Review Impact and Effectiveness of the Review Process Conclusion: Ethical Challenges and Opportunities References 4 . Developing a Program of Research

63 64 65 65 71


Start by Knowing That Many Perspectives Are Not Yet Represented Compelling, Coherent Hypotheses: What's the Big Picture? Intellectual Sources Personal Sources Group Sources Worldview Sources General Principles, Regardless of Source Convincing Research: Read This Book Readable Write-ups Readers Will Read Outlets: Visible and Invisible Programmatic Approach: Follow Your Bliss Collaboration: Beside Every Good Researcher Stands a Team Teaching: A Piece of the Research Enterprise Funding: Aha! Plus . . . Service: Giving It Away Conclusion: From Madness to the Methods References

72 73 73 74 74 74 75 76 78 79 80 82 83 84 85 87 88



Section A. Implications of a Heterogeneous Population: Deciding for W h o m to Test the Research Question(s), Why, and H o w


5. Culturally Sensitive Research Questions and Methods in Social Psychology



Downplaying of Cultural Issues in Social Psychology Key Reasons for Downplaying of Culture Culture-Free Approach to Situations Physical Science Ideals of Explanation Apparent Universality and Explanatory Breadth of Psychological Theories Disappointment With Recent Cultural Traditions of Research

94 95 95 96 96 97

Conceptual Issues in Giving More Attention to Culture Views of Culture Integrating Cultural Considerations With Situational and Person Factors Methodological Strategies for Enhancing Cultural Sensitivity Cultural Understanding Sampling Noncomparative "Prototypic" Sampling Strategies Noncomparative Cultural Sampling Strategies Comparative Cultural Sampling Strategies Representativeness and Equivalence in Sampling Culture as Process Culturally Appropriate Measures Conclusions Notes References 6. Individual Differences in Social Psychology:

Understanding Situations to Understand People,

Understanding People to Understand Situations

97 98 99 99 99 101 101 102 103 103 104 106 108 109 109



Why Stable Individual Differences Need to Be Taken Into Account Lewin's Equation, B = f(P, E) P = An Individual's Dynamic Social Information Processing System: An Example Studying Person x Situation Interactions What Individual Differences? Individual Differences That Interact With Situations Processing Dynamics Type and Diagnostic Situations Types of Person Variables That Affect Processing Dynamics Interactions May Involve Highly Content-Specific Person and Situation Characteristics Going Beyond the Bandwidth-Fidelity Trade-off Behavioral Signatures of Person Types Guide an Inductive Approach to Discovering Individual Difference Constructs Methodological Challenges for Intensive Within-Subject Analyses Finding, Evaluating, and Using Measures of Individual Differences

118 119 119 119 121 122 122 124 124 125

125 127 128

What Makes a "Good" Measure: The Intertwined Nature of Reliability and Validity Bootstrapping Upward in the Evolution of Constructs, Theories, and Measures An Example of Construct Validation Research: The Multitrait-Multimethod Matrix Construct Validation of Individual Differences Measures via Experiments A Valid Measure Has Been Found! What Should We Do With It? Implications for Data Analysis and Experimental Design Continuous or Categorical? It Can Matter To Block or Not to Block on Individual Difference Measures? Recasting the Problem: Going Beyond Individual Differences as a Poor Person's Substitute for an Experiment Understanding the Effects of Situations for Each Person First Trading Instant Generalizability for Ultimate Generalizability: The Implications of a Person- and Type-Centered, More Inductive, Approach Concluding Thoughts: Understanding Situations to Understand People, Understanding People to Understand Situations Notes References Section B . Operationalizing the Constructs:

Deciding W h a t to Measure, W h y , and H o w 7. Constructing and Evaluating Quantitative

Measures for Social Psychological Research:

Conceptual Challenges and Methodological Solutions

128 129 130 130

131 131 131

133 133


135 136 137 143



Defining Quantitative Measures Stages in Constructing Quantitative Measures Specifying Measurement Goals and Theoretical Assumptions Specifying One's Goals for the Measure Specifying Theoretical Assumptions Item Generation

146 146 147 147 147 148

Creating Items Item Content and Wording Number of Items Response Scale Format Response Option Order and Item Order Traditional Scaling Procedures for Item Generation Thurstone Equal-Appearing Intervals Likert Summated Ratings Semantic Differentials Item Evaluation and Selection Judge Ratings Between-Group Differentiation Item Descriptive Statistics Item-Total Correlations Factor Analysis Item Response Theory Evaluating Measure Quality Reliability Internal Consistency Stability (Test-Retest) Validity "Associative" and "Dissociative" Forms of Validity Evidence Associative Forms of Validity Dissociative Forms of Validity The M T M M Approach Beyond Self-Report Measures Notes References 8. Measures and Meanings: T h e Use of Qualitative

Data in Social and Personality Psychology

148 148 149 149 150 151 151 151 151 152 152 152 153 153 153 155 156 157 157 158 160 160 160 162 163 164 166 167 173


Qualitative Data in Social Psychology: An Empirical Example Advantages of Asking Open-Ended Questions Qualitative Data May Answer Many Questions at Once Qualitative Data Allow Us to Measure What Isn't Said or Can't Be Said Qualitative Data Give Us the Flavor of the Whole Qualitative Data Are (Relatively) Timeless Methods of Qualitative Research Participant Selection and Recruitment

174 175 175 175 176 177 178 178

Deciding What Questions to Ask and How to Ask Them Coding the Data Extant Coding Schemes Creating New Coding Schemes Using Naive Coders The Training Phase The Coding Phase Naive Coders and the Bottom-Up Approach Reliability and Validity Reliability Validity Additional Challenges of Using Qualitative Data in Social Psychology Methodological Problems and Confounds Losing the Trees for the Forest Special Ethical Considerations New Approaches to Quantifying Qualitative Data Conclusion References 9. Implicit Methods in Social Psychology

179 179 179 180 183 183 184 184 185 185 188 189 189 189 190 190 191 192 195


The Psychodynamic Heritage Projective Tests The Subtle and the Obvious The Priming Solution The Importance of Matching Tasks Priming as a Measure of Implicit Attitudes Critique of Priming The Implicit Association Test The IAT as a Psychometric Device Critique of the IAT The Unobtrusive, the Automatic, the Implicit—and the Psychologist's Fallacy Notes References 1 0 . Mediated and Moderated Effects in Social

Psychological Research: Measurement, Design,

and Analysis Issues

196 196 197 198 199 201 202 203 204 205 207 209 209



Measurement Issues Practical Benefits of Theory

215 215

Formally Designating the Status of Variables in a Model An Example Optimal Measurement Design Issues Asserting Causal Priority Timing and Tests of Mediation Experimental Designs Analysis Issues Analysis Issues Specific to Mediation Analysis Issues Specific to Moderation Stumbling Blocks Ambiguous Theory One-Shot Data Limited Sample Size Limited Number of Indicators Conclusion References

216 218 219 222 222 223 224 225 227 228 231 231 231 231 232 232 232

Section C. Research Designs: Deciding the

Specific Approach for Testing the Research

Question(s), Why, and H o w


1 1 . Experimental Design and Causality in

Social Psychology Research



Introduction Designing Controlled Experiments: The Aims and Structure of This Chapter Why and When Should We Do Experiments? The Logic of Experiments Replication Identifying Plausible Confounds Multiple Factors When Not to Conduct Experiments Experimental Components Independent Variables (TVs) Randomization Theoretical Relevance Manipulation Checks Between- and Within-Subjects Designs Dependent Variables (DVs) Scale Construction

237 238 238 239 240 240 241 241 242 242 242 243 244 245 245 245

The Relevance-Sensitivity Trade-Off The Experimental Sample Representativeness The Importance of Theory Using Specialized Samples Experimental Assembly Threats to Internal Validity Dealing With Confounds Uncertainty Management Ruling Out Alternative Hypotheses: Dealing With Specific Threats to Internal Validity Maturation Effects History Effects Experiment Effects Sample Effects Experimental Control Threats to External Validity Reactivity Artificiality Inferring Causal Relationships From Experimental Research Lessons From the Social Psychology of Causal Inference Detecting Covariation Beyond Covariation Mediational Analysis The Logic of Mediation Problems of Interpretation Conclusion Note References 1 2 . Quasi-Experimental and Correlational Designs:

Methods for the Real World When Random

Assignment Isn't Feasible

246 247 248 249 249 251 251 251 251 252 252 252 253 253 254 254 255 256 256 256 257 257 258 258 258 259 260 260



Quasi-Experimental Designs: An Overview A Counterfactual Conception of Causality From the Concept of Causality to Kinds of Comparisons Comparisons Across Time The One-Group, Pretest-Posttest Design

266 266 267 267 268

Interrupted Time-Series Designs Interrupted Time-Series Designs With a Control Group Analysis of Interrupted Time-Series Designs Comparisons Across Groups The Regression-Discontinuity Design Nonequivalent Group Designs Analysis of the Pretest-Posttest Nonequivalent Group Design The Pretest-Posttest Nonequivalent Group Design With Separate Pretest and Posttest Samples Complex Nonequivalent Group Designs Summary Correlational Designs Threats to the Validity of Correlational Designs The Analysis of Data From Correlational Designs Beyond Individual Studies: Research Programs, Lines of Research, and Research Syntheses Conclusions Design Matters But Design Is Not Everything The Pattern of Observed Effects Also Matters Recognizing and Reporting Threats to Validity Matters Too Finally, Social Psychologists Should Not Be One-Trick Ponies References 1 3 . Within-Subject and Longitudinal Experiments:

Design and Analysis Issues

269 271 272 272 272 275 276 277 277 279 279 280 281 281 283 283 283 284 284 284 284 287


Perspectives on Causal Inference Three Design Elements Basic Within-Subject Design Unit Homogeneity Randomization Within-Subject Experiments Approaches to Controlling for Order of Treatment Conditions Random Ordering Counterbalancing Latin Square Designs

288 289 289 289 290 291 291 291 292 292

Randomized Matched Designs (Predictor Sort Designs) Moderator Effects Mediation Summary and Conclusions Longitudinal Experiments Threats to Causal Inference Attrition SUTVA Some Longitudinal Experimental Designs Pre-Post Randomized Experiment Solomon Four-Group Design Multiwave Longitudinal Experiment Analysis Approaches: Traditional and Modern Univariate Analysis of Variance Three Possible Improvements to the Univariate Analysis of Variance Approach Correction of p Values Multivariate Approach Contrast Approach Growth Models Extensions Mediation Summary and Conclusions Final Conclusion Notes References 1 4 . Measuring Individuals in a Social Environment:

Conceptualizing Dyadic and Group Interaction

293 294 295 295 296 297 297 298 298 298 299 299 300 300 301 301 301 302 303 306 306 307 308 309 310 313


Non-Independence and Interdependence The Intraclass Correlation Graphical Representation of the Intraclass Correlation Individual and Group Effects: One Is Not Enough The Use of Dyad Means as Indicators of Shared Variance Influence and Interaction: A Model of Interdependence Hierarchical Linear Modeling: Same Old Story or a New Perspective? Morals References

315 317 319 323 326 327 329 331 333

1 5 . Quantitative Research Synthesis: Examining

Study Outcomes Over Settings, Samples, and Time



Uses for Quantitative Research Synthesis Evaluating Existing Theories Testing Novel Hypotheses Procedures in Conducting a Research Synthesis Determining if You Have Enough Studies Defining the Problem, Variables, and Sample Locating Relevant Studies Forming the Meta-Analytic Database Coding Study Features Selecting Computer Programs to Calculate and Analyze Effect Sizes Calculating Effect Sizes Problems (and Solutions) When Calculating Effect Sizes Independence of Observations Complex Primary Study Designs Correcting for Effect Size Bias Strategies for Nonreported Results Analyzing Meta-Analytic Data Step 1: Choosing a Model Step 2: Estimating Means and Variability Step 3: Investigating Possible Moderators Step 4: Reporting Findings Drawing Conclusions From Meta-Analyses Interpreting Effect-Size Statistics The Impact of Synthesis Findings and the Future of Research Synthesis Notes References


Social Psychology Research via the Internet

336 336 337 338 338 339 340 341 341 342 342 344 344 345 346 346 346 347 348 349 350 350 350 351 352 353




Minimum Requirements for Online Experimenting Potential Advantages of Research via the W W W

360 361

Examples of Recruiting and Testing Participants via the Internet Recruitment Method and Sample Characteristics Demographics Web Participants Do Not Represent a Population Effect of Diversity on Power and Generality Experimental Control, Measurement, and Observation Two Procedures for Holding an Exam Precision of Manipulations and Measurements The Need for Pilot Work in the Lab The Need for Testing of H T M L and Programming Testing in Both Lab and Web Dropouts and Between-Subjects Designs Experimenter Bias Multiple Submissions Ethical Issues in Web and Lab Risks of Psychological Experiments Ease of Dropping Out From Online Research Ethical Issues Peculiar to the W W W Deception on the W W W Privacy and Confidentiality Good Manners on the Web Concluding Comments References 17. Social Neuroscience: Bridging Social

and Biological Systems

362 363 363 364 365 366 366 367 368 369 369 370 371 372 374 374 375 376 376 377 378 378 379 383


Social Neuroscience and Links to Biological Systems Inferring the Psychological Significance of Physiological Signals The Psychological and Physiological Domains Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) The BOLD Response Task Demands Tissue and Psychology Electrophysiological Measures of Brain Activity Summary Notes References

383 386 388 389 390 393 394 395 398 399 400

1 8 . Supplementing the Snapshots With Video Footage:

Taking a Developmental Approach to Understanding

Social Psychological Phenomena



What Does It Mean to Use the Video Camera? Why Use the Video Camera? How to Use the Video Camera Developmental Designs The Cross-Sectional Design The Longitudinal Design The Cross-Sequential Design Operationalizing Developmental Phase Micro-Analytic and Macro-Analytic Strategies Identifying the Processes Underlying Developmental Change Other Considerations in Conducting Developmental Research Recruitment Procedural Equivalence Methodological Benefits of Conducting Developmental Research But You Can't Just Use Only the Video Camera Conclusion References



1 9 . Program Evaluation, Action Research,

and Social Psychology: A Powerful Blend

for Addressing Applied Problems

406 406 408 408 408 410 411 412 413 414 415 415 416 417 418 420 421




What Is Program Evaluation? Framework for the Chapter The Program Evaluation Field Action Research and Program Evaluation Action Research Applied to Issues of Educational Opportunity "Traditional" Evaluations of School Structures Policy-Relevant Evaluation: Modeling Impacts of School Accountability

430 431 434 435 437 438 439

Longitudinal Evaluation Designs and Collaborative Work: Understanding Relations of Poverty With Achievement Methodological Tools and Their Uses Limitations of Action Research Models for Program Evaluation Closing Note References 2 0 . Methodological Challenges and Scientific

Rewards for Social Psychologists Conducting

Health Behavior Research

439 440 441 441 442



A Brief Introduction to Research in the Health, Emotion, and Behavior (HEB) Laboratory Challenge #1: Serving Two Masters Challenge #2: Testing Your Question Challenge #3: Ethical Issues Relationship With the Community Professional Development Graduate School Postdoctoral Training Employment Integrating Social Psychology and Health Behavior References 2 1 . Research Methods of Micro Organizational Behavior

444 445 449 451 452 453 453 453 453 454 455 457


Relationship of Micro OB to Organizational Research Comparison of Micro OB to Social Psychology The Key Factor Distinguishing Micro OB From Social Psychology Key Independent Variable Key Dependent Variable Omnipresence Research Project Development in Micro OB Step 1: Problem in Real World Stimulates Unresolved Question Step 2: Researcher Reformulates the Real World Problem Into a Testable Research Question Step 3: Researcher Consults Theory to Derive Hypotheses Step 4: Researcher Devises Study to Test Hypotheses

458 458 459 459 459 459 459 460 460 461 461

Step 5: Data Analysis and Results Step 6: Conclusions: Theoretical and Prescriptive Step 7: Application Common Methodologies in Micro OB Research Setting Design Classroom Setting Field Setting Laboratory Setting Conclusion References 2 2 . Conducting Social Psychological Research in

Educational Settings: "Lessons W e Learned in School"

462 462 462 463 463 463 464 465 466 467 468



Moving Out of the Lab and Into the Classroom: Choosing the Setting Moving Into the Classroom: Choosing a Design Moving Into the Classroom: Choosing Measures Moving Into the Classroom: Implications and Methodological Trade-Offs Moving Back to the Lab Back to the Classroom: Validity Issues Revisited Lessons We Learned in School Lesson #1: The Importance of Using Multiple Research Methodologies in Multiple Settings Lesson #2: Dealing With the Dilemma of the Social Psychologist Lesson #3: Increasing the Credibility and Valuation of Research References

472 474 474 475 477 478 480 480 481 481 482

N a m e Index


Subject Index


About the Editors


About the Contributors




he genius o f social psychology as a field has been its ability to investigate the seemingly unstudiable, c o m p l e x behaviors that characterize humans as social creatures. T h e field has a rich history o f methodological innovation

with strong contributions t o basic and applied research. However, it is sometimes difficult for both n e w and seasoned researchers to keep up with innovations that allow a greater diversity in the kinds and levels o f research questions that can be addressed. As a result, the nature o f the questions asked by many researchers m a y be unnecessarily constrained. Conversely, a rush to embrace newer approaches can lead t o a less-than-thorough consideration o f fundamental issues that transcend any

particular approach. W e believe that the decision t o use a particular methodological approach is optimally made when grounded in careful considerations o f the "big picture" o f a program o f research. T h u s , methodological decisions are tied inextricably to w h a t the researcher, ultimately, wants t o k n o w . O u r major purpose in editing this h a n d b o o k was to create an integrated collection o f conceptually guided chapters that address the c o m m o n and unique methodological decisions that researchers must m a k e when using both traditional and cutting-edge research paradigms. Based on our " t o p - d o w n " perspective, chapters in this volume emphasize the conceptual basis o f the methodology, with an explicit focus on the meaning o f data when obtained via a particular methodology. O u r thinking has been heavily influenced by the writings o f Kurt Lewin, t o whose memory we dedicate this b o o k . Lewin believed firmly that theory and method are completely intertwined and that we should use our questions t o c o m e up with creative methodologies t o address them. T o Lewin, "research is the art o f taking the next step" (Lewin, 1 9 4 9 / 1 9 9 9 , p. 2 5 ) . W e believe we have captured this art as well as the science with the present collection o f chapters. W e implemented the top-down perspective in t w o ways. First, the overall organization o f the h a n d b o o k parallels what we see as the "big picture" o f the overall research process. Beginning chapters address issues related t o selecting and identifying research questions and populations, middle chapters address issues related to design and analysis issues, and later chapters address issues related t o expanding the original social psychological questions t o other disciplines within and outside psychology. Statistical analysis is considered a process in service o f research

SAGE HANDBOOK OF M E T H O D S IN SOCIAL P S Y C H O L O G Y design, and it is included to the extent that it helps to illuminate the distinct meaning o f data obtained through a particular methodological approach or design. Thus, the focus is on the conceptual meaning o f the data and analysis, rather than on microlevel " h o w t o " guidance through analytical issues. Second, we have attempted to maintain the top-down perspective within each chapter. All contributors were asked t o follow a general template in which they first describe a concrete and relevant social psychological research problem (or problems) and then discuss relevant methodological issues in the c o n t e x t o f that problem. Contributors t o this volume were selected because they have developed expertise on particular methodological approaches or issues in social psychology—and, more important, they did so in response t o attempting t o discover the best way to understand the psychological phenomena that interested them. T h u s , these researchers fit the "Lewin m o d e l " in that they have let the research questions guide their methods, rather than the reverse. These expert researchers discuss traditional and state-of-the-art methodological advances by first outlining concrete research phenomena and related questions o f interest and then showing h o w these questions may be best answered through design and analysis decisions. Adopting the top-down perspective led t o several features o f this h a n d b o o k that set it apart from other methods b o o k s . In addition to traditional methodological areas relevant for social psychologists, the b o o k includes innovative chapters such as those on ethics, culture and diversity, and individual differences. M o r e o v e r , the h a n d b o o k captures social psychology's increasing emphasis on research that crosses disciplines both within and outside psychology (e.g., social neuroscience, social development, and social psychology and the Internet). Also included is a section on some applications o f social psychology and its methods to other domains (e.g., program evaluation, health, education, and organizations). It was impossible to include all possible domains o f application, but we chose domains that we thought would have the broadest interest and that would have c o m m o n issues as well as unique challenges. In reading these chapters, it is evident that there are many similarities across areas o f application; thus, our hope is that these diverse samplings will also allow for translations to other areas. W e intend the audience for this h a n d b o o k to be active researchers interested in using social psychological approaches to address their research questions. T h i s audience includes graduate students and advanced undergraduates w h o are being introduced to the methods o f social psychology. It futher includes more advanced behavioral scientists in academic and research settings w h o are interested in learning about modern perspectives on classic approaches as well as newer methodological approaches in social psychology. O u r hope is that readers will c o m e away with an appreciation for the complexity of the field's phenomena along with a sense o f excitement about the fun and value of the research methods that can be used to unravel these phenomena. As editors o f this volume, we have learned a lot from the authors and their chapters, and we hope that readers do the same!

Preface ACKNOWLEDGMENTS W e wish to thank our colleagues Irwin Altaian, W a l t e r Mischel, M o n i s h a Pasupathi, and Bert U c h i n o for their sage advice and thoughtful feedback at critical points throughout this process. W e are also grateful to Angela N e w m a n at the University of Utah for her critical help in bringing order out o f chaos as we tried to keep track of all the various versions o f files and other paperwork associated with developing and finalizing the b o o k . J i m B r a c e - T h o m p s o n , senior editor at Sage Publications, provided both the initial enthusiasm and constant support for this project, and he helped t o m a k e our vision o f the b o o k a reality. W e thank him for that. W e also thank A. J . Sobczak for his extraordinarily thoughtful and critical w o r k as copy editor and Diane Foster for all her efforts as production editor. Finally, we would each like t o note some personal acknowledgments. C a r o l Sansone would like to thank her family, friends, and students for their patience and support during the several years she devoted to completion o f the b o o k . She would also like t o thank her younger brother, D o n , for allowing her t o publicly confess her past misdeed in Chapter 1. Carolyn C. M o r f would like to acknowledge with gratitude the help and support o f her family and friends during the preparation o f this volume. Finally, A. T . Panter would like to express her sincere thanks t o her major supports during this project: George H u b a , N e c h a m a and Y a a k o v H u b a , Sarajane Brittis, and her family, especially Danielle, M i c h a e l a , and Gideon Panter. Carol Sansone Carolyn C. M o r f A. T . Panter

REFERENCE Lewin, K. (1999). Cassirer's philosophy of science and the social sciences. In M . Gold (Ed.), The complete social scientist: A Kurt Lewin reader (pp. 23-36). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. (Original work published 1949)






The Research Process Of Big Pictures, Little Details, and the Social Psychological Road in Between CAROL SANSONE University of Utah CAROLYN C . MORF A . T . PANTER University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


hen 6 years old, one o f us [CS] hit

easy to see why the problem occurs. Social

her younger brother on the head

psychologists study very complex behaviors,

with a rock. H e was bending over

which are simultaneously connected with a

to look into a basement window, and a rock

host of contextual features and o f internal, not

was on the ground next to him. Curious about

directly observable, processes (e.g., perceiving,

what would happen if the rock hit his head,

construing, feeling, goal-striving). Considerable

she was unprepared (given a steady diet o f

creativity and thought have gone into creat-

Looney Tunes cartoons) for the result: It hurt

ing methodological approaches that


him. Though long forgiven and mostly forgot-

the researcher to focus in on subsets o f these

ten (except at holidays), this episode illustrates

complex, interrelated features and processes.

both the motivation behind most science—the

An early example o f this creativity was the

need to k n o w what happens, and why—and

work by Kurt Lewin and his students. At the

the potential negative consequences o f allow-

time that psychodynamic and


ing available methods t o shape our questions,



rather than the reverse. Formal training in research methods and

were emphasizing

defined in terms o f instincts or reward outcomes, Lewin and colleagues proposed that is attached to the process


design can mask this elemental problem, but


the problem remains. In social psychology, it is

goal-striving. From both psychodynamic and


INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW behaviorist perspectives, this proposal would

attitude change

have been neither worthwhile nor feasible to

about a topic after individuals read persuasive

(e.g., measuring


examine. In contrast, Lewin and colleagues

messages), Asch's ( 1 9 4 6 ) work on impression



formation (e.g., measuring people's impres-

which the researcher creates a situation in the

sions o f a hypothetical individual after they

laboratory that should trigger the unobserv-

are given a list o f traits that

able psychological process (e.g., goal-striving)

describe the individual), Festinger's (e.g.,

and compares it to a situation that should not.

Festinger 8c Carlsmith, 1 9 5 9 ) work on cog-

a methodological approach


Furthermore, these researchers proposed that

nitive dissonance (e.g., the insufficient justifi-

the relative motivational differences created in


these situations, which could not be measured

Schachter & Singer, 1 9 6 2 ) w o r k on emotion

directly, should be reflected in related variables

(e.g., the misattribution paradigm).










S c h a c h t e r ' s (e.g.,




Zeigarnik ( 1 9 2 7 , as cited in Lewin, 1 9 5 1 )

created that seem to capture, at least to some

developed a method for testing the hypothesis

extent, the complex behaviors and processes

that motivation attached to goal-striving is

involved in social psychological phenomena,

reflected at the thinking level; the method

the paradigms usually include a typical setting

involved measuring the relative memory for

(e.g., lab), participant population (e.g., college


students), operationalizations,






led to the identification o f the

"Zeigarnik effect" (remembering roughly twice









paradigm tend to be repeated in subsequent

as many o f the uncompleted tasks)—an objec-

applications. And it is here that the problem

tively measured, empirical finding that reflects


a hidden, dynamic psychological process. This

paradigm can start to guide and constrain the

ability to test hypotheses involving complex,

questions that researchers ask. For example,





unobservable processes created a foundation

instead o f continuing to ask questions about

for the laboratory science o f social psychology


that followed. In addition, Lewin and col-

researchers may begin to limit their investiga-

leagues investigated these processes in "real

tions to factors that affect memory for novel

world" settings, translating hypotheses


tasks completed in a lab. Although knowledge

developing creative ways to test their predic-

gained about the memory process may be use-

tions in organizations facing change, among

ful in its own right, these studies may take us


o f the



housewives dealing with wartime rationing,

away from the original phenomenon o f the

and so on.

goal-striving process (which is reflected in,

T h e work by Lewin and his group represents one o f the earliest examples o f the methodological creativity found in social psychology, but it certainly is not the last. In fact, many o f the early "classics" in social psychology research are known for the creation o f novel methodologies in addition t o the ideas that led to them. M a n y o f these methodologies are still used. Just a few examples o f this

but not limited to, memory for these tasks). Perhaps a more recent example o f this problem may be seen in the rise o f studies that employ cognitive neuroscience without






paradigms are the best way to study the phenomena. (For a discussion o f this problem, see Cacioppo, Lorig, Nusbaum,

and Berntson,

Chapter 1 7 , this volume.)


Figure 1.1 illustrates the idealized research

colleagues at Yale (e.g., Hovland, Janis, &

process. T h e figure shows a process o f research

Kelley, 1 9 5 3 ) investigating persuasion

that is relatively linear, stagewise, and iterative.








The Research

The Idealized Research Process


What are your next steps? What additional studies will you do?

How close are you to understanding the original phenomena?

What can you and can't you conclude about your research questions?



What type of methodological approach will you use?


To whom (i.e., what populations) do your research questions apply?

What are your research questions about these phenomena? What are the real world What are the real world Tj j Phenomena of interest? phenomena of interest? \ j [ l 5 ^} JTim_e_2] '• 1

What are the real world phenomena of interest? [Time 11

Figure 1.1




A Schematic D r a w i n g o f t h e I d e a l i z e d Research Process

process starts with our identifying the

questions that arose as consequences of our

phenomena that we want to understand. W e

research findings. At some point, we may con-

then generate specific questions and


verge at some broader set o f conclusions, and

theses, as well as decide if these questions or

in some cases we may shift our emphasis on a

hypotheses should

be universal. W e next

given question. Thus, over time, with empirical

operationalize our hypothesized constructs in

studies, samples, and methodologies, we grad-

some more concrete way that invoke important

ually build a knowledge base about the phe-

measurement principles, select an appropriate

nomena—perhaps broad enough so that we

research design, analyze the results, and decide

can apply this knowledge to treat, change, or

to what extent our initial hypotheses were sup-

alleviate important social problems.

ported. Depending on the evidence we gather

If the process is so clear and is agreed

and our conclusions about the patterns in our

upon, then why do we believe that allowing

data, we hope that we gain some increased

one's methods to drive the research question

understanding of our phenomena o f interest—

is an elemental problem? In the following sec-

and probably have even more questions than

tion, we describe h o w this idealized research

when we began. W e then cycle


process can be affected by the very social psy-

the process again with revised questions or

chological processes that social psychologists



INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW study. W e will also briefly outline what we see

someone else (a member o f the majority group)

as the consequences of these effects, conse-

being given more positive feedback for the

quences that can contribute to this elemental

same work product because the person is being

problem. W e then describe this

held to a lower standard. In one sense, these


which we have organized according to these

two perspectives of the phenomena are the

ideas about the research process.

same: People believe that the supervisor is using different standards to evaluate performance as a function of the worker's group


membership. T h e different takes on the phenomena, however, will lead to very different

The Starting Point:

The Phenomena

directions in the subsequent research process. If we assume that the phenomena have exis-

Often, the phenomena we focus on c o m e

tence outside our perceptions (see Gergen,

us: the

2 0 0 1 , for a different perspective), then each

experiences we have, the curious patterns that

researcher, no matter what methodological

from observing the world around

we see in people's behaviors, the social prob-

approach is used or how many attempts are

lems we would like to be able to alleviate.

made, can only approximate the phenomena,

Whatever the specific phenomenon, what we

just as a single measurement can never fully

actually focus on for our research efforts

define a latent construct. Furthermore, phe-

is necessarily only one small part, filtered

nomena are not static; they (and our perspec-

through our own construal processes. As we

tives on them) evolve and change as illustrated

identify and define what aspects of the phe-

in Figure 1.1 by the gradual shift in the "phe-

nomena are o f particular interest to us, then,

nomena o f interest" over time.

we have begun to make decisions that will limit what we discover about the phenomena. This reality argues in favor o f having a

Discussing the potential effects only o f the individual

researchers' construal



be misleading, however. Decisions

diverse group of scientists identifying the phe-



nomena, because different experiences, back-











grounds, and contexts will lead to identifying

defined, are often shaped by the social con-

different phenomena, or in focusing on differ-

text that the "field" represents. T h e field can

ent aspects o f the phenomena, or in defining

(and should) positively affect the research

those aspects from a different perspective (Sue,

process. Reading the past literature provides

1 9 9 9 ) . For example, suppose a researcher is



interested in the phenomena of how people


perhaps supporting but

react when a supervisor provides




feedback to two subordinates when, objec-




on also


perspective (and any biases he or she might

tively, their work products seem to be the

have). M o r e o v e r , the

same. A researcher from a majority perspective

information and suggestions about various



(e.g., being white or male) may define the phe-

ways to examine the phenomena empirically,

nomena in terms of watching someone else (a

allowing the individual researcher to build

member of a minority group) get more positive

on what others have done, rather than hav-

feedback for the same work because the other

ing to "re-invent the wheel."

person is being given special treatment. In con-

In addition to the positive effects that the

trast, someone from the minority perspective

larger research community can have on the

(e.g., being African American or female) may

research process, however, there may also be

define the phenomena in terms o f watching

some negative effects. For example, in our

The Research



work as editors, reviewers, and advisers, the

and "research hypotheses" often are used

broader significance o f the topic being studied

interchangeably in discussing the research pro-

is a key dimension for our judgments o f pro-

cess, they can be distinct—that is, a hypothe-

posals and manuscripts. It is natural to think

sis proposes

that topics in which we are already interested

question. As such, hypotheses include the



to the


and invested are important to research (e.g.,

question (sometimes implicitly), but the ques-

Renninger, 2 0 0 0 ) . Thus, this human tendency

tion does not necessarily have to include

can create a gateway through which pheno-

hypotheses—as the rock episode at the begin-


ning o f the chapter illustrates. Moreover, the

already being researched (with

established methodological paradigm)

an are

same research question may lead a researcher

evaluated as more important by the "field."

to plan multiple studies that together address

One consequence of this is that when phe-


nomena are identified and defined from per-

more specific to a given study. Because it is

spectives that are not a major part o f the status

broader and more inclusive, therefore, we use

quo, they may be less likely to make it through

"research question" in our discussion.

the gateway. For example, a meta-analysis o f editorial decisions at Personality






Sometimes the question is only a small step


from the original observation. At other times,

found that articles sub-

however, the research question may be a

mitted by women as lead authors were less

number o f steps removed. In the supervisor

likely to be accepted for publication (Petty,


Fleming, &

Fabrigar, 1 9 9 9 ) ; one possible

researcher may ask whether the effect o f expe-

explanation for this finding is that during the

riencing differential feedback on a worker's



example discussed previously, a

period studied, women were relatively more

motivation depends on the worker's beliefs

likely to choose phenomena to research that

about why it happened.

were not considered as central to the field.

researcher has taken a complex phenomenon

In this case, the

A second consequence o f peer review is

that may be tied to a particular context and

that by maintaining the status quo in terms

time (see Altman, 1 9 8 8 ) and has abstracted

of the research topics that are considered

out one small dimension about which to ask

important, it also tends to maintain estab-

questions. Just as in identifying and defining

lished methodological paradigms. O f course,

the phenomena, then, the researcher makes

there is nothing inherently wrong with using

choices o f what to ask about the phenomena,

established methodological paradigms: T h e y

and these choices are guided by his or her per-

often become established precisely because

spective as well as that provided by the field.

they have been very useful in testing research

These research questions guide as well as limit

questions. Established paradigms become a

subsequent methodological choices and what

problem only when they start to constrain

we can eventually learn.

the kinds o f questions asked.

To Whom Does the Question Apply?

The Research Question Once the phenomena o f interest are identi-

Once we have decided on what question or

fied, the next step in the process is to articu-

questions we want to ask, we should then

late more specific research questions. T h a t is,

decide to whom

what about the phenomena, more specifi-


cally, are you trying to understand or predict?

have been very good at identifying situational

Although the terms




the question or questions

Traditionally, social psychologists for their questions, and





often see this identification as progress in

constructs and the design t o use are often

understanding the phenomena.


made concurrently because these decisions

potential population parameters, however, is

typically constrain each other. F o r example,

often an overlooked step in the research pro-

h o w closely does the researcher in our super-

cess. Does the research question ask about a

visor feedback example want to capture the

psychological process or outcome that we

original phenomena? D o e s he or she want to

assume is universal to all humans? T o all liv-

investigate the question in a real organiza-

ing creatures? O r is it particularly relevant to

tional setting where a supervisor gives feed-

some cultures, or to some groups within cul-

back t o subordinates? O r create an analog

tures (e.g., majority or minority, male or

to the original situation, assuming that the

female, individuals high or low in narcissism)?

relevant psychological processes generalize

In fact, when we first start to investigate a

beyond that

setting? These decisions are

particular research question, we probably do

likely to be affected by whether (and to what

not k n o w how widely the question should

degree) the researcher's goal is to draw causal

apply. Even at this point, however, we believe

inferences a b o u t the phenomena.

it is essential to ask the question because the " I don't k n o w " response is important

In social psychology, this goal typically


means using an experimental design in which

acknowledge when making subsequent deci-

people are randomly assigned to conditions—

sions about operationalizations and designs,

and this often means (but does not have to

as well as when interpreting findings. By mak-

mean) creating an analog for the situation.

ing sure to ask the question before conducting

These decisions should be guided by consi-

a study, we are in a better position to discover

deration o f what approach will allow the

important information about the boundaries

researcher to most clearly address the research

of a particular methodological approach as

question. In fact, however, the emphasis on

well as insights into the phenomena itself. For

experimental lab studies often precludes a

example, by asking this question, we may dis-


cover that older women are less likely than

approach provides the best match for the

college-age women to conform to a unani-

question. For example, if the research question

mous majority (Pasupathi, 1 9 9 9 ) , or that lack

involves what happens as the result o f real

of choice is less likely to negatively affect

interpersonal interactions, the research design

children's motivation when they c o m e from


Asian American backgrounds

research question asks about what happens

(Iyengar 8c





include these interactions. I f the

Lepper, 1 9 9 9 ) . These "limitations" to the

over time, the design needs to include or

assumption o f universality may in fact lead to

reflect some kind o f longitudinal component.


better understanding o f the


psychological process.

Because designs incorporating such elements as interactions and passage o f time are difficult and expensive to implement, as well as

Operationalizations and Design

more complicated t o analyze, researchers often settle for questions that can be answered

Only after these earlier steps have been

by more typical methods—and perhaps miss

considered can the researcher make final

the aspect o f their research questions that is

decisions about which measures will reflect

most interesting, important, or critical.

the most appropriate operationalizations o f

These early steps in the research process

their constructs, and relatedly, about the best


methodological setting in which to collect the

starting to generate their research questions

data. Decisions about how to operationalize

or research hypotheses after

easily be transposed, with researchers deciding on an

The Research existing methodological paradigm.


using an existing paradigm, the researcher

W i t h o u t a firm


sense o f the



question (or questions), it also becomes diffi-

necessarily constrains w h a t questions can be

cult t o select the best method o f analysis.

asked. These constraints are a problem t o the

Unfortunately, it can be easy t o select analy-

extent that the researcher ends up drifting

ses for reasons other than that they are

away from the phenomena he or she wants

the best fit to the research question. F o r

t o understand.

example, researchers m a y use



easily available approaches because they are

that intrinsic motivation is based on feelings

the approaches with which they (and most

o f competence that result from effectively

reviewers) are most familiar. Conversely,


example, many theorists

controlling one's environment (e.g., W h i t e ,

researchers may choose state-of-the-art anal-

1959). T o test this idea, pioneer researchers in

yses just because they are the latest trend.

the area (e.g., Deci, 1975) created a paradigm


optimal match o f design t o analytic

to study the effects o f competence feedback.

method emerges from a careful consideration

In this paradigm, college students are asked to

o f the best w a y t o answer the basic research

play a skill game or puzzle, then receive c o m -

question in a direct and comprehensible way

petence feedback that differs in terms o f


valence or the manner in which it is conveyed.

Statistical Inference, 1999).

8c the A P A T a s k F o r c e


M u c h o f the subsequent research used this

T h e mismatch between research question

paradigm as the starting point. As one result,

and data analysis is one reason that T u k e y

the research questions drifted from asking

( 1 9 6 1 ; reprinted in 1986) advised that the

about the nature o f intrinsic motivation itself


to questions about the parameters o f the effects

doctoral students be readjusted and reevalu-

o f competence feedback.

ated. H e suggested that a m o r e effective

dissertation research process for

Sansone (1986) proposed that the role o f

approach when graduate students are devel-

competence may have been overemphasized

oping ideas for dissertation projects is for

in our understanding o f intrinsic motivation

them t o begin by thoroughly analyzing a pre-

because this typical paradigm used activities in

viously collected data set relevant to the phe-

which doing well was the goal o f engagement,

n o m e n o n o f interest. O n l y then would they

and it compared receiving competence feed-

be encouraged to generate specific research

back with no feedback. Over several studies

questions, presumably with a much clearer

using tasks and feedback that varied in their

understanding o f what kinds o f analysis are

emphasis on personal competence (i.e., that

most appropriate to particular questions. In




the established


Sansone and colleagues found that feelings o f

way, one's initial research


would be fully informed by data analysis

competence enhanced intrinsic motivation

(especially o f the exploratory type), and the

primarily when competence goals were salient

typical data analysis stage o f a dissertation

at the outset o f the task (Sansone, 1 9 8 6 , 1 9 8 9 ;

project would be less prone to being mini-

Sansone, Sachau, & Weir, 1989). By using a

mized and rushed, as often happens when the

different methodological paradigm, therefore,

overriding focus is on completing the project.

this research led to some different conclusions about the nature

o f intrinsic motivation,

which ultimately led to different being asked





Can We Answer the Question?


A critical stage in the research process is

constructed (e.g., Sansone & Harackiewicz,

interpreting what we have found. Can we

2 0 0 0 ; Sansone 8c Smith, 2000).

answer our original research question? T o what


I N T R O D U C T I O N AND OVERVIEW extent do the data support our more specific

clear by Lewin's ( 1 9 5 1 ) emphasis on "gradual

hypotheses (assuming that we have them)? It is

approximation" and by Cronbach and Meehl's

only if we have clearly articulated the research

( 1 9 5 5 ) seminal paper on construct validation, a

question that we can know how well our ques-


tion has been answered. Assuming that we have

understood in depth through bridging levels




used operationalizations, designs, and analyses

of analysis and through the use of multiple

appropriate to our question, any answer is

methodologies. At this point in the research

valuable. In fact, in discovering that a hypothe-

process, therefore, a researcher can choose mul-

sis was not supported, we often find a different

tiple directions in which to go. H e or she may

(and sometimes more interesting) answer (or

follow up some finding using the same method-

question), one that helps understand the origi-

ological paradigm (e.g., to identify potential

nal phenomena beyond our initial filter. Thus,

moderators or mediating processes) but can

having clearly articulated research questions

also make connections to other settings, popu-

does not mean that we overlook serendipitous

lations, disciplines, and researchers. As noted

findings or effects that we did not foresee. In

by Cronbach and Meehl ( 1 9 5 5 ) , the deeper the

fact, we believe the reverse. Unless the unex-

construct analysis of the phenomenon goes, the

pected finding is dramatic (or draws blood, as

more extensive and interconnected to related

in our opening example), it is only when we

work the validation becomes.

know what we are looking for that we recognize that we have found








( 2 0 0 1 a , 2 0 0 1 b ) described the paradoxical

Otherwise, our confirmation biases can sweep

lives o f narcissists, w h o , in their continual

findings into our "model" and miss informa-

efforts to construct and maintain a grandiose

tion suggesting something different.

self, engage in behaviors that


Ultimately, the question is this: W h a t have

undermine and erode these efforts. T h e inter-

we learned about the original phenomena as

nal logic and coherence o f these paradoxical

the result o f this research? D o e s what we

behaviors became clear only in the course o f

have learned lead us to redefine the pheno-

conducting a program o f research involving

mena? Focus on different


aspects o f the



By employing


phenomena? E x p a n d to w h o m it applies? It


is at this point that the cycle begins again, as

matic approach, M o r f and R h o d e w a l t were



we further differentiate the phenomena o f

able to identify h o w narcissists' thoughts,

interest, perhaps moving t o different, related

feelings, and motivations interrelate within

phenomena, or perhaps changing w h a t we

their self-system t o create the prototypic, self-

see as the phenomena. W e believe it is criti-


cally important

this personality syndrome.

that researchers recognize

that at this point in the process, they have

behavioral patterns




the idealized process involves

learned only as much as their methodological

cumulative and programmatic research that

decisions allowed them to. W e tend to recog-

casts the nomological net wider and wider,

nize this important fact only when we are

making connections to other disciplines within

using innovative methodologies (e.g., func-


tional magnetic resonance imaging [ f M R I ] ,

knowledge of methodological paradigms and


psychology typically involves

Implicit Associations Test [IAT])—it is then

analysis strategies that are not part of our usual

that we tend t o become aware that the nature

training. Making these necessary connections

of our research questions is shaped by the

therefore may necessitate

possibilities o f a particular method.

collaboration. M o r e o v e r , as reviewers o f


W h a t we conclude about our question will

others' work, we are usually ill equipped to

determine the next steps that we take. As made

evaluate the quality and level of contribution

The Research made







researchers tend to stick to their familiar




(e.g., social neuroscience,

social development, social psychology and the

paradigms, particularly when they are con-

Internet) and applied (e.g., program evalua-

cerned about getting (or keeping) a j o b .

tion, health, education, organizations) focus.

Nevertheless, researchers should be encour-

Second, we have attempted t o maintain

aged to spread their wings and venture beyond

the top-down perspective within each chap-

their home territory. T h e potential benefits we

ter. T h u s , all contributors were asked to fol-

reap from applying different epistemological

low a general template in which they first

and methodological lenses to our phenomena

describe a concrete and relevant social psy-

of interest can be great—as can the fruits o f

chological research problem (or problems)

multidisciplinary collaborations, no

and then discuss relevant



how difficult they are initially to establish.

issues in the

Science at its best is not a solitary enterprise; it

Chapters emphasize the conceptual basis o f

is cumulative, as each investigation adds its

the methodology, with an explicit focus on

context of that


unique contribution to the puzzle of under-

the meaning o f data when obtained via a

standing a phenomenon (or interrelated set

particular methodology. Statistical analysis is

of phenomena).

considered a process in service o f research design, and it is discussed to the extent that it helps to illuminate the distinct meaning o f


data obtained through a particular methodological approach or design. Contributors to this volume were selected

Organizing Principles

because they have developed expertise on particular

methodological approaches

that the decision to use a particular method-



As we hope is clear at this point, we believe





ological approach is optimally made when

important, they did so in response to their

grounded in careful considerations o f the

attempts to discover the best way t o under-

"big picture" o f a program of research. Thus,


methodological decisions are tied inextricably

interested them. Thus, these researchers have

to what the researcher, ultimately, wants to

let the research questions guide the methods,

know. W e have used this "top-down" per-


spective to develop and organize this hand-

researchers discuss traditional and state-of-









the psychological p h e n o m e n a







methodological advances by


organization o f the handbook parallels the

outlining concrete research phenomena and

picture o f the research process that we have

related questions o f interest and then showing

discussed. As a result, the beginning chapters

h o w these questions may be best answered

address issues related to identifying and defin-

through design and analysis decisions.

ing phenomena, research questions, and populations. Middle chapters address issues related to design and data analysis, and later chapters

Specific Organization

address issues related to expanding the original social





disciplines within and outside psychology.

Part II: Fundamental in Social


Issues Research

Because of this top-down approach, the book

In the next part, chapters highlight the set

includes innovative chapters such as those

of decisions that must be made no matter the

on ethics, culture and diversity, and individual

particular type o f methods chosen. One set o f

differences as well as chapters that have an

decisions involves the initial



INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW upon which all subsequent methodological

the implications o f explicitly acknowledging

issues rest, including the role o f theory in

and incorporating the heterogeneity of a popu-

guiding the research questions, whether one

lation through research design and measure-


ment o f key constructs. Miller's chapter on

involves objective or constructive processes,

believes that

"testing" research

cultural sensitivity addresses these issues in the

the level o f analysis at which researchers

context o f potential variability among different

choose to examine their research questions,


and so on. Thus, in the first chapter in this sec-

populations, and it provides important insights

and among subgroups


tion, C o o k and G r o o m address some of the

about why diversity o f participant populations

issues associated with these kinds o f decisions

is often

and suggest that there is a gap between h o w

research. Shoda's Chapter 6, on personality

social psychologists should

and individual

make these deci-



social psychological

differences, addresses these

sions and how they typically do so, posing

issues in the context o f potential individual

some challenges for researchers to consider.

variability within groups. This chapter also dis-

Chapter 3 , by Kimmel, addresses the impor-

cusses different ways to conceive of and mea-

tant ethical issues surrounding the decisions


about particular research questions and asso-

differences and various aspects o f situations.

ciated methodological approaches in social





Section B—"Operationalizing the


psychology. For example, how do and should

structs: Deciding W h a t to Measure, W h y , and

ethical considerations shape the nature o f the


research questions it is possible to ask? H o w

operationalizing constructs, both as predic-

do these ethical considerations change as the

tors (e.g., manipulated or naturally occurring)

the decisions related


methodological approach changes, and what

and as outcomes. These chapters address the

are some o f the important ethical considera-

strengths and the weaknesses associated with

tions for the future? In Chapter 4 , Fiske con-

different kinds o f measures to help readers

siders how to make these decisions in the

choose optimal measures for testing a given

context o f generating a long-term program o f

research question or questions for a given

research, rather than focusing on a single

population. These chapters cover some o f the

study. She also discusses the balance between

more traditional ways to operationalize con-

generating a long-term program, publication

structs as well as address some newer distinc-

and funding issues, and the importance of fol-

tions that have emerged as important in the

lowing one's own interests or passions.

field. For example, Wegener and Fabrigar's Chapter 7, on quantitative measures, focuses on traditional psychometric approaches to

Part III: Design



capturing social psychological phenomena in

Part III focuses on the set of design and

terms o f the amount o f the construct in ques-

analysis decisions researchers must make when

tion. Thus, this chapter includes discussions

they adopt given methodological approaches.

of self-report (e.g., scales) as well as nonself-

Section A o f this part—"Implications o f a

report (e.g., behavioral, archival) quantitative



measures and addresses key lessons from the

W h o m to Test the Research Question(s), W h y ,

survey methodological literature about scale

and How"—addresses issues surrounding the

construction and design. In contrast, the sec-

study populations and the implications of

ond chapter on qualitative measures (King,

assuming an "average response" when the

Chapter 8) focuses on attempts to capture



population is not homogeneous. Chapters in

social psychological p h e n o m e n a

this section also consider the reverse: that is,







The Research


addresses issues related t o using self-report

traditional experimental manipulations. The

and nonself-report qualitative measures (e.g.,

chapter includes discussion of issues relevant to

behavioral acts, narratives, interviews), as

that goal.


as issues relevant





t o these m o r e


these measures through coding. Kihlstrom's

approaches, the next three chapters discuss

Chapter 9 addresses the distinction between

newer approaches that often involve some

implicit and explicit measures o f an underly-

combination and extension o f traditional

ing construct, and what that distinction might

approaches. T h u s , Chapter

mean for understanding the construct. It also




1 3 , by West,



discusses this distinction in light of current

assumptions, and related analytic strategies

popular implicit measures (e.g., I A T and reac-

for experiments whose focus is on examining

tion times). In the final chapter in this sub-


section, Hoyle and Robinson (Chapter 1 0 )

Chapter 1 4 , by Gonzalez and Griffin, describes

address the distinctions related to under-

conceptual issues and data-analytic options






standing moderation and mediational pro-

related to designs that involve people inter-

cesses when describing the link between a

acting, primarily with one other person. The

variable and an outcome, as well as dis-

final chapter in Part III covers the empirical

cussing key design decisions that affect inter-

aggregation of results across studies

pretation o f these processes.






Section C o f Part III—"Research Designs:

Chapter 1 5 ) . In this case, the focus is on exam-

Deciding the Specific Approach for Testing

ining studies across people, time, and contexts.

the Research Question(s), W h y , and H o w " — addresses decisions concerning the


research design. This subsection includes con-

Part IV:


sideration of the more traditional approaches



but also includes emerging, state-of-the-art

The chapters in Part I V address how the

perspectives. F o r example, Chapter 1 1 , by

sets o f decisions described previously play out

Haslam and M c G a r t y , addresses traditional

in some o f the newer, cutting-edge topics and

experimental designs as a way to test social

interdisciplinary approaches in social psychol-

psychological research questions. T h e strength

ogy. These chapters highlight recent attempts

of these kinds o f designs is the ability to iden-

to expand beyond traditional social psychol-

tify causation. Haslam and M c G a r t y include


discussion of issues related to that goal (e.g.,

emerging technologies and

demand characteristics, random assignment,

approaches from other areas both inside and

experimental control) but also include discus-

outside psychology. Although they do not pre-

sion o f the necessary trade-offs made between

sent an exhaustive list, these chapters highlight


external validity. Similarly,

the benefits o f cross-fertilization when the

Chapter 1 2 , by M a r k and Reichardt, also

strengths o f different disciplines are combined

includes a discussion o f trade-offs between

and integrated. F o r example, Birnbaum's

internal and external validity, but it does so in

Chapter 1 6 addresses research that combines


questions and methods to incorporate methodological

the context of quasi-experimental and correla-

social psychology with the technological

tional designs as means o f testing social

world o f the Internet. Birnbaum addresses

psychological questions. T h e strength o f these

h o w traditional social psychology questions

kinds o f designs lies in the ability to identify

may be addressed



online, and he explicitly compares studies

variables that may not lend themselves to

conducted via the Internet with traditional




through data collected





lab-based studies in terms o f likely populations, procedures,



programs and often involves a delicate balance


between the goals of the organization conduct-

Chapter 1 7 , by Cacioppo, Lorig, Nusbaum,

ing the program and the social psychologist

and Berntson, focuses on the biological bases

researcher (Maruyama, Chapter 19). Typically,

of and connections to social psychological

evaluation o f these programs requires combin-

phenomena. T h e authors consider some o f the

ing knowledge from multiple areas within and

newer neuroimaging and other neuroscience

across disciplines, and these combinations are

techniques and how these may be used to

rarely tested in laboratories.


social psychological questions


The other three chapters in Part V focus on

issues. This chapter also includes a considera-

particular domains o f applications, rather than

tion of how our understanding o f biological

on a given methodological approach such as

systems may be enhanced by including social

program evaluation. These chapters provide an

psychological phenomena.

1 8 , by

overview of the application of social psychol-

Pomerantz, Ruble, and Bolger, addresses the

ogy questions and methods to important and


inclusion o f developmental questions when

highly relevant domains: clinical and health

examining social psychological phenomena,

psychology (Salovey & Steward, Chapter 2 0 ) ,

using the metaphor o f the video camera. T h e


authors address the implications o f the conti-

Chapter 2 1 ) , and education (Harackiewicz &

(Thompson, Kern, &


nuity and discontinuity o f social psychological

Barron, Chapter 2 2 ) . T a k e n together, these

phenomena across the life span. They also

chapters highlight the commonalities across

address how including social psychological

applications while also addressing the chal-

approaches to developmental questions forces

lenges and contributions unique to each area o f

a shift in thinking about development



an intraindividual process to thinking about development

as embedded

in the


dynamics that make up our everyday life.

Part V: The

W e are inherently social beings, and as such


of Social Psychology Methods


to Other

the goal o f understanding h o w a person can

and Its




be affected

by others

captures our attention, our thoughts,

often our

In the final part of the book, chapters

feelings, and our concern. T h a t goal is the

address the applications o f social psychology

subject matter o f great (and little) b o o k s ,

methods and knowledge to "real world" set-

movies, television shows, computer games,

tings and domains outside social psychology.

and advice columns. Clearly, social psychol-

These relatively shorter chapters include discus-

ogists study things that we want to k n o w

sion of issues relevant to the typical popula-

about each other and ourselves, and do so in

tions, measures, designs, and analyses used in

creative ways.

each domain. These chapters also briefly

In that context, we hope that this hand-

discuss the added requirement that is often

b o o k will allow the field t o continue its

an important part o f applying social psychol-

strong tradition but also to grow to include

ogy approaches to the "real world": that is,


the need to create and maintain relationships

approaches. Even more important, we hope

with outside agencies and organizations. For

that this b o o k helps social psychologists con-

example, program evaluation allows researchers

sider different kinds o f research questions

to study the effectiveness of treatments

from the ones they may typically ask by tying


methodological developments


The Research



the discussion o f methodological details to

aware o f the critical methodological decisions

the "big picture" o f a research program. In

that must be made in pursuit o f those ques-

addition, we believe that the chapters in this

tions. W e have learned a lot ourselves from

h a n d b o o k provide an excellent starting point

the many wonderful chapters in this volume—

for researchers w h o want to pursue these

and we k n o w younger brothers everywhere

newer questions by helping them t o become

will sleep m o r e soundly!

REFERENCES Altman, I. (1988). Process, transactional/contextual, and outcome research: An alternative to the traditional distinction between basic and applied research. Social Behavior, 3, 2 5 9 - 2 8 0 . Asch, S. E. (1946). Forming impressions of personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 41, 2 5 8 - 2 9 0 . Cronbach, L. J . , & Meehl, P. E. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests. Psychological Bulletin, 52, 2 8 1 - 3 0 2 . Deci, E. L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation. New York: Plenum. Festinger, L., 8c Carlsmith, J . M . (1959). Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 2 0 3 - 2 1 0 . Gergen, K. J . (2001). Psychological science in a postmodern context. American Psychologist, 56, 803-813. Hovland, C. I., Janis, I. L., & Kelley, H. H. (1953). Communication and persuasion. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Iyengar, S. S., 8c Lepper, M. R. (1999). Rethinking the value of choice: A cultural of Personality and Social perspective on intrinsic motivation. Journal Psychology, 76(3), 349-366. Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science: Selected theoretical papers (D. Cartwright, Ed.). New York: Harper 8c Row. Morf, C. C , & Rhodewalt, F. (2001a). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A dynamic self-regulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12, 177-196. Morf, C. C , 8c Rhodewalt, F. (2001b). Expanding the dynamic self-regulatory processing model of narcissism: Research directions for the future. Psychological Inquiry, 12, 2 4 3 - 2 5 1 . Pasupathi, M . (1999). Age differences in response to conformity pressure for emotional and nonemotional material. Psychology and Aging, 14, 170-174. Petty, R. E., Fleming, M . A., 8c Fabrigar, L. R. (1999). The review process at PSPB: Correlates of interreviewer agreement and manuscript acceptance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 188-203. Renninger, K. A. (2000). Individual interest and its implications for understanding intrinsic motivation. In C. Sansone 8c J . M . Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance (pp. 3 7 5 - 4 0 7 ) . San Diego: Academic Press. Sansone, C. (1986). A question of competence: The effects of competence and task feedback on intrinsic interest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 918-931. Sansone, C. (1989). Competence feedback, task feedback, and intrinsic interest: An of Experimental Social examination of process and context. Journal Psychology, 25, 3 4 3 - 3 6 1 . Sansone, C , 8c Harackiewicz, J . M. (Eds.). (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motiva­ motivation and performance. San Diego: tion: The search for optimal Academic Press.

INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW Sansone, C , Sachau, D. A., & Weir, C. (1989). Effects of instruction on intrinsic interest: The importance of context. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 819-829. Sansone, C , 8t Smith, J . (2000). Interest and self-regulation: The relation between having to and wanting to. In C. Sansone & J . M. Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance (pp. 3 4 1 - 3 7 2 ) . San Diego: Academic Press. Schachter, S., & Singer, J . E. (1962). Cognitive, social and physiological determinants of emotional state. Psychological Review, 69, 379-399. Sue, S. (1999). Science, ethnicity, and bias: Where have we gone wrong? American Psychologist, 54, 1070-1077. Tukey, J . W. (1961). Statistical and quantitative methodology. In D. P. Ray (Ed.), Trends in social science (pp. 84-136). New York: Philosophic Library. Tukey, J . W. (1986). Statistical and quantitative methodology. In L. V. Jones (Ed.), The collected works of John W. Tukey: Vol. III. Philosophy and principles of data analysis, 1949-1964 (pp. 143-186). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. White, R. W. (1959). Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66, 2 9 7 - 3 3 3 . Wilkinson, L., & the APA Task Force on Statistical Inference. (1999). Statistical methods in psychology journals: Guidelines and explanations. American Psychologist, 54, 594-604.




The Methodological Assumptions of Social Psychology The Mutual Dependence of Substantive Theory and Method Choice THOMAS D . COOK Northwestern


CARLA GROOM University of Texas,


Assume . . . 1. To take up or adopt. . . . 2. To undertake. . . . 3 . T o arrogate to oneself. . . . 4. To take for granted; suppose to be a fact. . . . What a debater postulates he openly states and takes for granted without proof; what he assumes he may take for granted without mention. —Webster's






" W h a t is social psychology?" This is because it does not prioritize among

If you open any edition of the Handbook Social




or any recent textbook on

its constitutive

elements, even though different


have been emphasized at different times in the

social psychology, you will almost certainly

history o f social psychology. M o r e fundamen-

find G. W . Allport's 1 9 5 4 definition of the field

tally, a full account o f any scientific commu-

as "an attempt to understand and explain how

nity's belief system will likely reveal some

the thought, feeling, and behavior of individu-

purposes that are latent and thus not amenable

als are influenced by the actual, imagined, or

to explicit definition (Polanyi, 1 9 5 8 ) .

implied presence o f others" (p. 5 ) . As wide-

A more complete understanding o f social

spread and useful as Allport's description is, it

psychology is achieved through

provides only part o f an answer to the question

inspection o f the research practices o f those



call themselves social psychologists.

community o f social psychologists. T o take full

the effective

account o f this heterogeneity would entail dis-

boundaries o f all fields are delimited by the

cussing all the forms of research practice found

tacit agreements that a specific community o f

in social psychology today—from

scholars makes about the norms regulating

applied research, from lab to field settings,

how research practice should be carried out.

from quantitative to qualitative work, and

Some o f the preferences are explicit, but others

from single studies to research syntheses. It

are implicit. This chapter discusses the most

would also have to consider generational dif-

salient explicit postulates about h o w to do

ferences in how social psychology is pursued.

According to Kuhn


basic to

social psychology while also trying to force

Space limitations preclude doing any of this

out some of the field's more latent assump-

with integrity.

tions about method.

An alternative would be to analyze only

Identifying w h o social psychologists are is

elite and/or cutting-edge methodological prac-

tricky. There are several social psychology

tice—the strategy adopted by many writers o f

communities, and they only partially overlap.

chapters in this volume. Although this would

T h e most distinctive consists o f researchers

be interesting and important, it would not cap-

belonging to professional societies such as the

ture what most contemporary social psycholo-

Society for Experimental Social Psychologists,

gists actually do in most of their work. They







Psychology, the Society for the Psychological Study o f Social Issues, and Division 8 o f the

are journeymen and -women, not pioneers in the construction or use of novel methods. The approach we eventually adopted is to

American Psychological Association. These

identify and explore modal



practice, hoping that more readers will recog-

American psychology departments, and their

nize themselves and their work in such an

work is the main focus o f this chapter.

account. W e acknowledge that the account we

are mostly located in

Their operating




offer depends on an ideal type characterization

are not identical with the assumptions o f

of methodological practice, so there are legiti-

researchers w h o call themselves social psy-

mate exceptions to every generalization we

chologists and w h o w o r k in American soci-


ology departments

or business schools or

There is a second reason to focus on modal

even those w h o w o r k in psychology depart-

practice. T h e distribution

ments in Europe. Although

cal practices within social psychology seems

it would


of methodologi-

instructive to explore the differences among

quite leptokurtic—that is, the proportion o f

these various communities, we do not have

researchers using what we later describe as

the space to do so here.

modal practices seems to be very high relative

Restricting ourselves to the practice o f social

to the proportion working in the tails of the

psychologists working in American psychol-

distribution, where practice is more idiosyn-

ogy departments leads to an unfortunate solip-

cratic. T o illustrate this, consider the number

sism. Both authors o f this chapter are social

and heterogeneity o f method chapters in the

psychologists working in the United States and

various Handbooks

so are immersed in the field's assumptions. W e

There were 9 such chapters in the 1 9 5 4 edition

of Social


cannot hope to take the methodological tem-

(Lindzey, 1 9 5 4 ) , covering many different kinds

perature o f the subdiscipline as well as future

of method. There were 1 0 in Lindzey and

historians o f science will.

Aronson ( 1 9 6 9 ) , just as varied, but there were

T o add to this complication, scientific practice is heterogeneous even within the target

only 6 in the 1 9 8 5 edition and 4 in Gilbert, Fiske, and

Lindzey ( 1 9 9 8 ) — o n e each


The Methodological


of Social Psychology


experimentation, surveys, measurement, and

A further difficulty arises in seeking to

data analysis. Missing by that fourth edition

define methodology. Is it simply method, a

were chapters on observational methods, con-

group o f techniques for data collection and

tent analysis, program evaluation, and many

analysis? O r does it enter into a chicken-and-

other topics. M a n y social psychologists aspire

egg relationship with

to methodological eclecticism, but most o f the

making their analytic separation unfruitful?

research programs that are achieved employ a



Individual methods were designed to answer specific types of questions that implicitly place

restricted set o f methods. O u r description o f the methods constitut-

a higher priority on some forms o f theory than


others. Thus, scientific surveys were created to

method chapters in recent editions o f the

generate multi-attribute descriptions o f well-

ing modal practice relies in part on Handbook

of Social Psychology.

But we rely

defined populations, thus privileging theories racial, gender, class, or even national lines.



Experiments were designed to describe the


effects o f manipulable causal agents, originally


in agricultural research, where the pragmatic





(JPSP) and the Personality

Social Psychology

Bulletin (PSPB)—as



reports from the most widely read journals— Journal



even more on our own analysis o f research


as on content analyses o f these reports where

goal was t o identify whether

available (e.g., Rozin, 2 0 0 1 ) .

worked better than something else—a purpose


But given the editorial policies and the

for which substantive theory need not play any

system of rewards in science today, journals

role. Although experiments always privilege

cannot provide perfect data on the method

causal questions o f an "if-then" kind, they are

practices actually used in a particular field.

theory-relevant only to the extent that they can

Journal writers have to impress gatekeeping

help distinguish between competing theories or

editors and reviewers. In part, they seek to do

otherwise illuminate a single theory.

this by illustrating their knowledge of and

Path analysis was designed to ascertain the

adherence to the community's currently domi-

degree of correspondence between a substan-

nant methodological norms and theoretical

tive theory o f a phenomenon and data col-

forms. From these incentives follow sins o f

lected about that same

omission and commission that inadvertently

the theory usually being specified in the form

distort accounts o f the original intentions o f a

o f multiple, causally ordered determinants o f

research project and of the procedures actually

the outcome. Path analysis seeks to identify

used in it.

the complexly ordered causes o f a given effect,

Well-constructed random surveys that ask social psychologists about their practice would


in contrast to experiments, which seek to describe some o f the effects o f a given cause.

provide a useful supplement to analyses of the

Other purposes have accreted to each o f

methods detailed in individual journal articles,

the general methods above, yet the original

but to our knowledge, these surveys have not

purposes still remain dominant and linked to

been done recently. W e are forced, therefore,

a unique form o f substantive theory. T h e

to supplement the journal analysis with our

kinds o f research questions posed are partial

own firsthand experience of social psycholo-

products of the tools at hand. T h e implication

gists' behavior (inevitably including our own),

of this is that if a given tool is not in the reper-


toire o f a researcher or her circle o f profes-

other social psychologists' informal with

sional acquaintances, then the type o f question

published critiques o f the field—even those

corresponding to that tool is not likely to be

with somewhat o f a whistle-blowing flavor.

asked. And if asked, the question certainly will

accounts of their own behavior, and



FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH be answered poorly. The assumptions behind

deals with group dynamics, emphasizing how

the dominant forms o f theory in a field thus

small social systems evolve, respond to their

are inextricably tied t o the


internal and external environments, and then

behind its most widely used methods. N e w

change their borders and operations. Finally,

researchers are routinely taught that theoreti-

also borrowed from psychology, writ large,

cal questions precede and determine method

were theories o f social cognition. Variously,

choices, but in actual research practice the

these emphasize individuals as rational know-

reverse causal flow is also to be found—

ers, as cognitive misers, as cognitive tacticians,

method capabilities determine the kinds o f

or as quasi-automata programmed to respond

questions that get tested and hence the kinds

to social primes.

of theory that are generated.

Social psychology places strong normative emphasis on testing hypotheses deduced from substantive

Wilson, &

ories come from within theory classes such as


those described above. Thus, Higgins's selfdiscrepancy theory ( 1 9 8 9 ) is part o f a broader

The Types of Theory That Social Psychologists Construct "theory"


Brewer, 1 9 9 8 ) . T h e most commonly tested the-







class o f social comparison theories, postulating that people's goals motivate their actions, not


philosophers would not study meta-theory.






between these goals and one's present state.

But because they do, and because social psy-

Sherman's encoding flexibility model of stereo-

chology is intimately involved with substan-

type function (e.g., Sherman, Lee, Bessenoff, &

tive theory and its testing, we must explore

Frost, 1 9 9 8 ) suggests ways in which stereo-

what kind o f theory social psychologists test.

types regulate the processing of information

This is not easy.

that is or is not consistent with the stereo-

"Grand" theories o f the reach of, say,

type—all in the service o f maximizing infor-

Weber or Durkheim in sociology or o f the neo-


classical model in economics have had a short

categorized as coming from within the broader

life in psychology. This was true o f psychoan-

class of cognitive theories and even

alytic theory, systems theory, and behaviorism,

within the subclass o f theories emphasizing

and it is likely to be the fate of a pure cognitive

human limits to information processing.

science that excludes biology and culture.





best from

At first glance, evolutionary psychology

T o be relevant to social psychology, any

seems to be a much broader type o f theory

grand theory has to be adapted to social refer-

than the theory o f Higgins or Sherman. It pro-

ents. Doing so has prompted the development

ceeds by identifying key social problems that

of the various theory types with which social

our ancestors must have faced before deducing

psychologists have worked over the years.

from these problems the kinds o f psychological

Cognitive consistency theories are one such

mechanisms that might have evolved to solve

type, with their emphasis on tension states

them. For example, did women's need to

that demand resolution, as with dissonance or

choose mates who could provide sufficient

balance theory. Another type consists o f social

resources to rear a child lead to hard-wired sex


differences in mate preference that can then be

social modeling and other ways o f acquiring

learning theories, with their emphasis

experimentally tested for in 21st-century men

social knowledge, as with research on attitude

and women? O n grounds like these, evolution-

formation and change. Another type o f theory

ary psychology has been offered as a unifying

The Methodological


of Social


"meta-theory" for all of social psychology

prevalent in psychology than are theories of the

(Buss & Kenrick, 1 9 9 8 ) . Y e t to do this, evolu-

effects o f this same cause. As a result, little

tionary psychology would have to subsume or

attention is given to providing a full explana-

otherwise explain theories within the other the-

tory model o f any single aspect o f social behav-

ory types such as cognitive consistency, social

ior, thought, or emotion. Does X affect Y ? is

learning, and social cognition, not to speak o f

the question; not W h a t are all the causes of Y ?

all the exemplars that fall within each o f them.

Some critics (e.g., R o z i n , 2 0 0 1 ) have

But it does not and cannot do that. In practice,

argued that social psychology suffers not from

therefore, evolutionary psychology functions

testing too narrow a form o f theory, but from

just like any other lower-order theory in social

too much theory altogether. Preoccupation

psychology—as a source o f hypotheses about

with theory can block exploratory research,

the validity of parts o f that theory.

and exploratory research is certainly not

O n e striking feature o f theories in social

modal in social psychology. Such preoccupa-

psychology is h o w many o f them postulate a

tion can also encourage perseveration and

linear flow o f influence, irrespective o f h o w


many variables are thought

theory is no longer productive (Greenwald,



bias long after


particular 1986),

between a causal agent and its distal effect.

Pratkanis, Leippe, & Baumgardner,

(The mode, by the way, seems to be one,

particularly when investigators persist with

though some path analytic models

failing ideas to which their names are publicly


more.) W i t h its multiple connections, feed-

linked. W h e n theories are o f limited general-

back loops, and other dynamic properties,

ity, preoccupation with them can retard the






development o f broader theories that might

assumptions about the course o f influence.

reconcile disparate

But social psychologists rarely use systems


theory as the explicit meta-theory organizing

(Moscovici, 1 9 7 2 ) . Thus, the preoccupation

relationships a m o n g constructs.

with testing theory o f a particular type may

It is not clear why the linear flowchart is at








not be cost-free.

the heart of most substantive models in social

These issues aside, normative practice in

psychology, but it may have to do with social

social psychology is clear. Social psychologists

psychologists' distinct preference for the exper-

use and apotheosize substantive theory. They

iment. The experiment was designed to assess

construct it at some level that is certainly not

h o w one deliberately manipulated


"grand" and probably is not "middle level" if

marginally affects some measured outcome.

the latter is understood as theory at the level

Systems' notions are more multivariate. They

of, say, social learning, cognitive consistency,

depend on longer time lines and reciprocal

or group dynamics. M o s t o f the specific theo-

causal relations, and they do not necessarily

ries that social psychologists examine come

privilege a single causal agent. This raises a

from within such broad theory classes. Thus,

question: Does the method social psychologists

theories o f rational actors, cognitive misers,

use most often inadvertently constrain the

cognitive tacticians, or semi-automata react-

form o f theory that gets tested?

ing to primes are all examples from within the

Does it also affect a second salient difference

class o f cognitive theories. Tests of social cog-

between theory in social psychology and the

nition as a class are rare. T o our knowledge,

other social sciences—the relative paucity of

no one has yet conditioned varying numbers

theories that seek to detail the multiple sources

or constellations o f social attributes to a neu-

of influence on a given outcome? Theories of

tral stimulus in order to examine how they

the determinants o f the cause are much less






FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Instead, the theories typically tested are those

C o o k , & Campbell, 2 0 0 2 ) ; that is, it specifies

of modest generality, at what

what should happen to Y if X is deliberately



roughly call a "lower middle" level.

varied. This preference entails that Y is validly measured and X validly manipulated. O f these

The Theory-Hypothesis

two tasks, the manipulation o f X usually is


more problematic. T o illustrate why this is

Popper's ( 1 9 3 4 / 1 9 5 9 ) formulation o f the

the case, consider priming subjects to elabo-


rate on a persuasive message. It is inevitable

deducing a clear hypothesis from some theory

that priming will be imperfectly linked to

(whatever its reach), and then validly testing


this hypothesis. T h e preferred hypotheses are

members o f the experimental group may not






those that probe the theory's core postulates;

do any elaborating at all, while others may do

and the preferred tests o f such hypotheses

little elaborating or not the kind that is under

depend on setting up a situation so that no

test. Moreover, some o f the control subjects

other theory predicts the same pattern o f data

may spontaneously elaborate even if not the

as the hypothesis under test. T h e explicit task

same message content on which members of

therefore is to differentiate the target theory

the treatment group elaborate.

from other theories by virtue o f the closeness

In ordinary language, naming a cause ( X )

of the fit between the data obtained and the

requires using abstract language to describe

data uniquely predicted by the target theory

those components within a treatment manipu-

(Cook & Campbell, 1 9 7 9 ) .

lation that, on theoretical grounds, are thought

Doing all this requires highly explicit the-

to bring about an effect. However, in experi-

ory with prioritized postulates and, hence,

mental practice (and logic), the causal agent is

prioritized hypotheses. Basing hypothesis for-

always a contrast and not what happens in a

mulation on abstract language, insight, or

single group. Usually, it is the contrast between

intuition alone is not enough; nor is it enough

the theoretically specified components of a

to claim that a hypothesis tests some part o f a

treatment and whatever happens to controls.

theory. At issue is testing the central assump-

Given that the components o f the treatment

tions that identify a given theory and make it

and control interventions can overlap, false

substantively unique.

negative conclusions about cause can ensue if

M o s t journal studies report tests o f theory-

researchers insist on describing the active

derived hypotheses, but these are rarely the

causal agent with recourse only to what hap-

most identity-conferring


pens in the treatment group. T h e situation is

that theory. In part, this is because most the-

even more complicated if the control group


ories are not that explicit. In part also, it is

includes components that are irrelevant to the

because time and experience sometimes are

theory under test but that are correlated with

needed to decide which theoretical postulates

both the outcome and knowledge o f being

are key. As a result, the modal journal study

included in a study. Then, both false positive

does not seek to validate (or invalidate) an

and false negative causal conclusions can result

entire theory. Instead, it probes whether the

from describing the causal agent exclusively in

obtained results are consonant with some

treatment group terms.

part o f a theory, or it elucidates some o f the


avoid these causal pitfalls


boundary conditions under which the theory

(a) carefully explicated substantive theory about

does and does not hold.

the cause and h o w it is related to the presumed

T h e modal hypothesis that gets tested is

effect, (b) planned treatment contrasts that are

causal in the activity theory sense (Shadish,

as large as possible, (c) valid (and hence

The Methodological


of Social


also reliable) measures to assess whether the

are initially identical except for the presence

experimental manipulation is varying what it

o f the treatment under test.

is supposed to vary, and (d) collecting data on

After a correlation has been demonstrated

these measures across all the study groups,

between a demographic variable and some

including no-treatment controls. T h e era o f

possible mediator o f an "effect," the preferred

"black b o x " experimentation is over. At a

practice in social psychology is not to derive

minimum, researchers need to realize that

the complex statistical interaction predictions

all causes are comparative and to demonstrate

mentioned above. Rather, it is to create a the-

that only small shortfalls occur between the

ory o f the mediator and then to turn this medi-

comparative cause as it is conceptualized,

ator into an independent variable. Thus, if data

implemented, and measured.

indicate that younger teachers are more effec-

The preference for an activity theory o f

tive than older ones, this might lead to the

cause also entails an implicitly negative valua-

hypothesis that the younger teachers have

tion o f certain other kinds o f theory, especially

higher expectancies for their students and to

theory a b o u t

the corollary hypothesis




cannot be manipulated directly. Race, gender,


it is these

expectancies that drive greater learning. Both

class, and age are examples o f this. Sometimes,

of these hypotheses can then be tested directly

though, theory is specific enough to detail the

in order to develop a more complete substan-

individual or social processes that are thought

tive theory o f teacher expectancies.

to mediate a demographic variable's suspected

O n e rationale for turning presumed medi-

effects. In this case, knowledge o f these mech-

ating variables into tested independent vari-

anisms can be used to collect data that test

ables is that most mediators are manipulable

hypotheses about the conditions under which


a demographic variable varies in the size or

Another rationale is that theories o f media-

direction of its relationship to a given outcome.

tors are more general because the same medi-

Essentially, this involves testing a statistical

ator often can be activated many ways, both

interaction hypothesis that specifies h o w the

in the laboratory and in the real world. Going

demographic variable and mediator mutually

back to expectancies for student

influence the outcome. Formulating






variables are






complex contingency hypotheses is a strategy


that is also heavily used in evolutionary psy-

younger teachers have higher expectancies on

chology, another field in which researchers

the average. In addition, teachers are not the

cannot manipulate variables easily.




even if

only ones with education-relevant expectan-

T h e key to the method's success is famil-

cies—most parents also have them. Thus, as a

iar, however. Hypotheses still need t o be

causal agent, educational expectancies have a

made that are so novel in their implications

potentially broader reach than teacher age.

that no other theory makes these same pre-

A third rationale is that theories featuring

dictions. It is not enough merely to demon-

individual-level psychological mediators gen-

strate a correspondence between hypothesis

erally are more interesting to psychologists

and data: N o alternative interpretations must


remain viable. W i t h demographic variables

variables such as age, race, and gender. There

are theories featuring


(and evolutionary theory), the hope is to

are many reasons for this, but one is surely

achieve such uniqueness o f prediction

that the mediators typically examined are

specifying a c o m p l e x theory-derived

by data

m o r e causally proximal to outcomes that

pattern rather than through a simple c o m -

psychologists value than are

parison o f values derived from groups that




manipulating brain blood flows, though it is

transform theoretical mediators into manipu-

difficult to imagine experimentally re-creating

lated causes goes beyond the


context. T h e main explanatory


an exact pattern o f earlier observed changes in multisite cranial blood flow. But given social

in psychology are nearly all specified at the


individual level and are hypothetical rather

explanatory variables specified at the individ-





than ostensive—that is, they cannot be directly

ual level, it is obvious that such manipulation

pointed to and so are rarely amenable to direct

is not easy. A different, effective, and entirely

manipulation or measurement. Indeed, exper-

statistical way to get around the selection

iments are designed in the expectation that

problem is, in some circumstances, to use ran-

the observed manipulation (let us call it X )

dom assignment as an instrumental variable in

will impact on the outcome (Y) because the

order to examine the effect o f a measured Z

explanatory variable (Z) followed from X and

variable (Angrist, Imbrens, & Rubin, 1 9 9 6 ) .

affected Y . Sometimes, this chain o f reasoning

This last strategy requires a measure o f Z ,

is advanced without any measurement o f Z or

though, and most researchers cannot wait for

of proxies for it. Then, interpretation depends

the next study in order to turn their suspected

heavily on the face validity of X as well as on

Z into an X . So in actual research practice,

the theoretical uniqueness o f the X - t o - Y pre-

p r o x y measures

diction and on h o w closely the data fit that

mediators often are used to complement the


treatment manipulation. But these measures

Sometimes, though, a measure o f Z is pos-

o f theoretically specified

inevitably entail validity and selection prob-

sible, albeit usually in proxy form rather than

lems, leading to a serious conundrum: H o w

as a truly direct measure. Thus, in an experi-

can experiments be used to test multivariate

ment on whether elaborated message process-

explanatory theory about Z variables when

ing mediates attitude change, students can be

experiments were designed to test causal

asked to write down their reactions to a per-

connections between two (but rarely more)

suasive message during exposure to it. These

observed (and not even hypothetical) X and Y



variables? Theory-based explanation requires

Alternatively, brain scans might be used to see

prior knowledge o f the determinants o f the

which local areas o f the brain experience

cause (for selection purposes)

blood flow changes when the message is


being processed. A test o f causal mediation

between the cause and effect. Y e t experiments

then entails seeing if the relationship between

were not designed for either o f these purposes.




X and Y decreases when Z is statistically con-

o f the



and correct mediating

causal explanations


trolled (Hoyle & Robinson, Chapter 1 0 , this


volume; Judd & Kenny, 1 9 8 1 ) .

difficult the more elaborate the causal explana-

But two problems stand out here: Is Z

variables becomes increasingly

tory theory is. Consider dual process models

validly measured? And, does the link from Z

within the social cognition domain. They pos-

to Y entail a threat to internal validity from

tulate two forms of processing: (a) controlled

selection because individuals were not ran-

or "systematic" processes that are resource

domly assigned to their Z scores? T h e pre-


ferred way around this last problem is to turn

subject to awareness; and (b) automatic or




the Z into an X in the next study, directly

"heuristic" processes that generally are effi-

manipulating elaborated processing by prim-

cient, unintentional, uncontrollable, and out of

ing individuals to process with and without

awareness (see Bargh, 1 9 9 4 ) . As noted, prim-

elaboration or even (within ethical limits)

ing methods can be used to induce each of

The Methodological these, albeit within limits; and M R I scans can


of Social


Form of Data Collection

discriminate between the two. But what to do with theories that postulate how these two

From Popper's falsificationist perspective,

processes operate together—whether in paral-

social psychologists should collect data about

lel, as with Eagly and Chaiken's Heuristic

hypotheses that can prove a theory wrong. The

Systematic Model o f persuasion ( 1 9 9 8 ) , or as

social psychology o f social psychological prac-

alternatives, as with Petty and


tice suggests, however, that researchers are

Elaboration Likelihood Model (1986)? H o w

more likely to want to show that their theory


is right. From this arises the concern with pos-

one practically test a hypothesis


requires simultaneously manipulating the two

sible biases emanating from the researcher's

presumptively unique processes? Human inge-

own wishes, hopes, expectations, and dreams.

nuity being what it is, the task may not be

Related to this are setting biases, especially in

impossible, but it is extremely difficult.

the laboratory, where respondents might try to

Meta-scientists such as Kuhn ( 1 9 7 0 ) remind

second guess situational norms in order to con-

us that all theories inevitably are underspeci-

form with them and help the researcher

fied, so that no hypothesis is capable o f defini-

through how they react to them.

tive refutation. W h e n disconfirming data are

T o disconfirm hypotheses, data have to be

generated, the validity o f the deduction and/or

theory-free; otherwise they cannot function as

of the data can be questioned. It is also possi-

neutral adjudicators between truth claims. But

ble to claim that the theory is true, but under

epistemologists remind us that all data are

circumstances different from those tested to

fallible, and therefore no single hypothesis

date. This is why certainty-seeking philoso-

test can carry the adjudicatory weight Popper

phers disparage the substantive theories scien-

assigns it. However, studies that self-con-

tists work with, seeing them as etched more in

sciously incorporate the discipline's recognized

putty than in the stone required for definitive

mechanisms of bias control can help better


approximate the generation o f theory-neutral

A more charitable epistemological position

data. So can independent research programs

is that all practical theories are works in

that vary the source and direction of bias. Facts

progress ( C o o k , 1 9 8 5 ) . Thus, when a theory

may not be logically possible, but many obser-

first seems t o be disconfirmed, this should

vations are stubbornly replicated, whatever the

lead t o its revision rather than t o claims it has

theory used to generate them. They have great

been refuted, and so on, as each succeeding

facticity and provide the bedrock from which

theoretical revision is itself tested and perhaps

novel theories are developed. A theory that

again empirically disconfirmed,

fails to subsume the relevant facts o f the past is


yet another version o f the original theory. As the conditions under which the theory is demonstrably

invalid c o n t i n u e


not going to get much respect. Even so, individual researchers are capable


of less self-criticism about the quality of data

enthusiasm for the theory is likely to wane in

and results than is provided by the social

the relevant community o f scholars. Although

system o f science that editors and reviewers

the theory might be true under some as yet

represent. It is they who begin the process o f

still untested circumstances, these may be so

determining what level of merit should be

limited that scholars no longer see any point

assigned to an article, serving as precursors to

to persisting with the theory. It is therefore

a process o f public discussion o f merit that

rejected on pragmatic grounds, not because

develops after the article is published. Data

logic nor data has shown it to be false under

never provide perfect tests o f the empirical

all conditions.

claims a hypothesis makes, though some forms

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH of data are stronger than others. T h e ultimate

and not multi-experimental, design. T h e latter

warrant for claims about data quality reside in

is not fully worked out yet, even in a theory of

a complex mix o f social consensus, logic, and

method sense, let alone practically.

the results of past empirical research on biases.

So, what are the goals o f a multistudy

In social psychology, a supreme value is

strategy? O n e is surely to achieve some form

accorded to data that confirm or disconfirm

of replication; and another is to extend the

an a priori hypothesis. D a t a that do not

theory under test by examining more o f its

make this kind o f contribution are judged to

implications. Theories o f multi-experimental

be less worthy o f journal space. T h i s prefer-

design will require subtle distinctions among

ence for hypothesis-testing has some unin-

types o f replication (exact, partial, concep-

tended consequences.

tual, etc.) as well as realistic analyses o f the

First, it has encouraged some researchers whose data

do not fit the hypothesis


conditions under which each is most useful. It will also require discussions about what con-

reframe their hypothesis so that they can write

stitutes a sufficiently close replication to allay

up the results as though they had been pre-

fears o f a Type I error. Also needed will be

dicted. Kerr ( 1 9 9 8 ) calls this " H A R K i n g :

elaboration o f what constitutes a theoretical

Hypothesizing After the Results are K n o w n . "

elaboration that is sufficiently distinctive to

T h e reality is that many studies


advance the research program conceptually,

results at odds with the original prediction. T o

as well as discussion o f the relative value o f

abandon the work at this point entails a con-


siderable waste o f time and effort and can

tions. Finally, statistical wisdom on combin-

endanger a career. H A R K i n g has evolved as

ing results will be needed, especially when

an uneasy compromise between the goals and

experiments are few and not independent.

structure o f the hypothetico-deductive method and the needs o f individual




Meta-analysis is the best developed form of

scientists for

multi-experimental design and analysis, and its

w h o m publication is a major goal. Beginning

use is c o m m o n in social psychology (see W o o d

social psychologists soon learn o f this mis-

& Christensen, Chapter 1 5 , this volume). Its

match between formally and informally sanc-

virtues include (a) more statistical power than

tioned epistemology and practice. Indeed, in

single studies typically achieve; (b) the ability to

his guide to professional issues in social psy-

probe potential biases associated with mea-

chology, Bern ( 1 9 8 7 ) explicitly advocates ret-

sured design features; (c) the empirical assess-

rospective hypothesis creation. In contrast,


Kerr laments the capitalizing on chance that

measured setting, person, and time variables,

inevitably results.

of how





as well as across coded ways of operationaliz-

Another consequence o f fallible hypothesis

ing the cause and effect; and (d) the chance to

tests is the growing editorial demand for single

examine more o f the causal explanatory theo-

articles that present the results from multiple

ries about processes mediating between a cause

experiments linked into a small research pro-

and effect. For all these reasons, reviews o f

gram. Wegner ( 1 9 9 2 ) has pointed out the con-

empirical findings constitute the dominant unit

sequences of this practice for effective alpha

of progress in science, though path-breaking

rates. Across two experiments, each with an

single studies get all the glamour. Reviews are

alpha rate o f . 0 5 , the true rate is . 0 0 2 5 . Does

not part o f modal practice in social psychol-

the field really want a level o f stringency that

ogy, however, except as part o f the perfunctory

culls out even more ideas than those already

narrative introduction

to an article. Single

abandoned by the current .05 rate? Moreover,

studies, or small programs o f research bundled

social psychologists are trained in experimental,

into a single article, constitute modal practice.

The Methodological


of Social


Although such bundling is an advance over a


single report o f a single study, it is still far from


being a literature review or meta-analysis.


T o judge by mainstream journals, modal practice in social psychology also places little

The overwhelming majority o f social psychol-

value on exploratory research, whether as the

ogy studies are conducted in a laboratory

original study goal or as an overt attempt to

setting, use undergraduate participants, last

discover why the data failed to confirm with

no longer than an hour, and involve random

prior expectations (Kenny, 1 9 8 5 ) . Exploration

assignment to two or more experimental con-

should be more prevalent in social psychology

ditions. Rozin ( 2 0 0 1 ) examined articles in the

and done so as not to capitalize on chance




C o g n i t i o n and


(Tukey, 1 9 7 7 ) . Exploration brings to the sur-

Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes

face novel issues that are worth further study,

sections o f JPSP,

and it is a central function o f ethnography.

found that 7 3 % o f the 4 4 articles used North



m a k e s other claims,

volume 6 6 ( 1 9 9 4 ) ,


American undergraduate samples, 9 5 % used

including some that directly link it to the

analysis o f variance ( A N O V A ) , and just 7 %


used observation or interview methods.


that social

psychologists prefer and that, at first sight,

Fortunately, data from randomized labora-

seems so antithetical to ethnographic prac-

tory experiments analyzed by A N O V A consti-

tice. Y e t , as explicated by Becker


tute one o f the strongest frameworks for a

ethnography involves formulating a hypothe-

certain kind o f causal inference-making in

sis from observations, thinking through the

the social sciences today. Heavy reliance on the

implications o f this hypothesis, and

experiment makes the description o f causal


going out into the field to collect data to

relationships o f an if-then kind (Cook

examine these implications. W h e n the data

Campbell, 1 9 7 9 ) the dominant framework for

and theoretical implications fit imperfectly,

constructing research problems and organizing

the earlier hypothesis about implications is

thinking in social psychology today (Kenny,


revised and new implications are then devel-

1 9 8 5 ) . But causal description is not necessarily

oped and tested. If the next round o f data still

causal explanation, and science values expla-

fails to fit the new implications, then the

nation over description. T o make the transi-

hypothesis is revised again, new implications

tion from description to explanation requires

are developed, and new data are collected.

selecting for study only those causal hypothe-

This iterative hypothetico-deductive process

ses that have been deduced as central postu-

continues until closure is reached.

lates from an explicit and overarching theory

Few social psychologists k n o w about this

that seeks to explain a given phenomenon.

correspondence between epistemology and

Hence, in the method section o f their journal

practice in ethnography and social psychol-

articles, researchers give considerable attention



both to describing and to justifying their inde-


pendent and dependent variables in terms of

But we suspect few o f them




because the data ethnographers collect are

some broader theory as well as to illustrating

mostly qualitative. Y e t the data are clearly

just how the selected if-then causal proposition

empirical, and they are products o f the same

will be tested.

disciplined process o f theory development, hypothesis deduction,

collection that drives so much psychological practice.

O t h e r types o f question are relatively


neglected, whether about the prediction o f an

o f social

outcome, about the form o f structural rela-

and empirical

tionships among the multiple causes o f an

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH outcome, or about the exploration of new ideas

measures or the same number o f them. It is

emanating from outside established theoreti-

progress indeed to move beyond statistical sig-

cal b o x e s .

nificance testing as a flawed way to compute

Cause o f an




paramount, and A N O V A is responsive to this

the size o f an effect. But standardized effect

primacy. So is the laboratory setting, which is

sizes, although superior, are far from perfect

designed to keep competing alternative inter-

for carrying out the comparative mission to

pretations out o f the explanatory system so

which they speak. Fields such as economics

that the hypothesized cause-effect relationship

choose not to use them, preferring instead to

can play out without perturbation from irrele-

frame their questions around effects that are

vant outside forces. T h e A N O V A emphasis

measured in easily understood interval scale privileges


metrics so that results can be reported out as

search for simple main effects caused by few

unstandardized regression coefficients. Dealing

causal variables. O n e manipulation (relative

with variables that are more hypothetical, psy-

to no-treatment controls) seems to be as

chology does not have the same luxury.

c o m m o n as t w o manipulations o f explicit theoretical interest. Higher-order experiments are rare, as are


T h e dominance o f A N O V A also means that it is rare to find social psychological the-


ories explicitly constructed around interac-

experiments that vary many levels o f the

tions between different treatments or between

independent variable in order t o identify the

a given treatment and either person or setting

functional form o f the cause-effect relation-

variables. Rozin's review o f JPSP


ship. S o , the central question is whether there

that fewer than 1 0 % o f the articles reported

is a causal relationship from A to B and not

participants' social class or race or religion or

identifying the form o f this relationship. It is still rare to find effect sizes being

the year or season in which data were collected. Researchers did report participant sex

reported in order to characterize the size of a

in 7 2 % o f the articles; however, they did not

causal relationship, though meta-analysis and

necessarily report the relationship between

the 2 0 0 1 APA publications manual are chang-

sex and the observed outcome. It is as though

ing this, as is the requirement by some journals

respondents are considered interchangeable

to report them. Even so, greater use of effect

or simply sources o f error variance, not

sizes probably will engender further method-

sources o f information about the possible

ological discussion. One likely topic is the

boundaries o f a causal connection.

desirability o f using dependent variables with

The reason for this neglect is that most

grounded metrics that are easily communicable

social psychologists seem willing to believe

and do not need to be standardized (such as

that most cause-effect relationships are gen-

time or money). Another is the comparability

eral across persons and settings. If one believes

of effect sizes when certain choices exist for

this assumption to be true, then there is no

computing them. One is when they can be

reason to search for interactions between inde-

computed with or without covariates. Using

pendent variables and person or setting char-

covariates increases effect sizes, but not all

acteristics. T o do so would entail the hassle o f

studies have them or the same set of them.

constructing a different kind o f theory, build-

Another is when effect sizes can be computed

ing a different kind o f design, and then col-

as a difference between means or between

lecting and

slopes. With repeated measures, the effect size

without any guarantee that one will learn any-

analyzing data differently, all

of a final point difference might be much less

thing important about restrictions to the gen-

than the effect size for the contrast between

erality o f a causal claim. Campbell ( 1 9 6 9 )

the slopes. But not all studies have repeated

asserted that physical scientists also assume

The Methodological


that any independently replicated finding is

setting, or time had

of Social Psychology been used.



universal until subsequent research shows oth-

relationships constitute the key theoretical

erwise. Given that, and because the value o f a

issues in the field, not preexisting group mean

substantive theory is widely held to be contin-

differences. T h e latter is the province o f per-

gent on its reach, why should social psycholo-

sonality theory and research.

gists assume that


Even if a causal relationship should turn out

universal? T o do so denigrates the very theory

their theories are

to be contingent, some types o f contingency

they are about to test.

have more serious theoretical implications than

In this connection, consider the contact

others. Moderator variables that reverse the

hypothesis. As a simple main effect, it asserts

sign o f a causal connection clearly restrict

that increasing the amount of contact between

causal generalization. So, if this were the pre-

individuals from different groups will reduce

ferred criterion for inferring that effects are

any intergroup conflict between them. This

non-universal, then the technical stringency of

idea was o f great interest in social psychology

meeting the sign-reversal criterion makes it rea-

5 0 years ago, but research on it almost petered

sonable to surmise that causal effects in social

out once it emerged that such contact worked

psychology generally are universal and that

only under a large number o f quite disparate

overgeneralization is not much o f a problem.

circumstances that still cannot be integrated

However, the case is murkier with a less strin-

into a novel, parsimonious theory (Hewstone,

gent generalization criterion, such as differ-

1 9 9 6 ) . Researchers abandoned the contact

ences in slopes without a necessary difference

hypothesis as overly contingent.

in their sign. Using this criterion, we would be

The validity o f the ontological assumption that most causal relationships are universal is of great moment. O n it depends the utility o f

more likely to discover that the world is more complicated than simple main effects. It would therefore be useful to assess the fre-


quency o f stable statistical interactions in social

complicated designs that entail different kinds

psychology that involve person, setting, and

of theory and more extensive or more repre-

time features, both with and without sign

sentative sampling designs, measurement, and

reversals. However, this enterprise would be

simple A N O V A designs rather than

analysis. Social psychologists are conscious o f

fraught with perils. It is notoriously difficult to

relying on college samples, stripped down lab-

conduct statistically powerful tests o f interac-

oratory settings, few and short-lasting inter-

tions and to uncover stable ones that replicate.

ventions, and simple data-analytic procedures

T o achieve this requires (a) strong theory spec-

like A N O V A . In this regard, Sears ( 1 9 8 6 ) out-

ifying the exact form o f the interaction, (b) reli-

lined some special properties of student popu-

ably measured samples of persons and settings

lations that can be inferred


that manifestly include the tails o f the distribu-

psychological work. Among other things, he

tions, (c) samples that are large, (d) causal vari-


noted that their late-adolescent status proba-

ables that are not truncated, (e) dependent

bly makes them especially susceptible to social

variables without floor or ceiling effects, and

influence. However, most psychologists (e.g.,

(f) dependent

variables whose theoretical

M o o k , 1 9 8 3 ) do not worry that individual

meanings would change if their interval scales

differences o f person, setting, or time might

were arithmetically transformed.

affect levels o f compliance. Their concern is

these requirements is difficult in all social

only whether such differences condition h o w

research but clearly more so in laboratory than

the manipulation and compliance are related,

survey work.

thus creating a different list o f causal factors than would emerge if a different population,



the incidence o f interactions

cannot be tested sensitively, indirect evidence



FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH suggests that stable interactions are quite rare

study results like those o f Milgram ( 1 9 7 4 ) ,

and that the world might be organized accord-

Latane and Darley ( 1 9 7 0 ) , and Zimbardo,

ing to many broad main effects. Few of the

and those laboratory results that are counter-

meta-analyses conducted to date o f which we

intuitive or otherwise provocative. Even so,

are aware have resulted in many stable inter-

laboratory results do not seem to command as

actions between a treatment class and either

much respect in the human sciences as do

person, setting, or time variables. Moreover,

results from surveys, field experiments, and

Cronbach and Snow (1977) tried to develop a

longitudinal studies, a verdict that would be

list o f replicated interactions involving some

unfair if laboratory results do indeed routinely

kind of teaching intervention and student or

generalize to other settings and kinds o f

teacher characteristics. They met with what we

respondents. But the criticism is nonetheless

judge to be little success. In addition, many

made and, because o f its laboratory

social psychologists are proud that ordinary

undergraduate emphasis, social psychology

Americans seem to recognize themselves in

does less well in the public relations domain

reports about laboratory studies that get into

than many other social sciences.


the media, suggesting that these reports speak to Everyman's experience, or at least to the experience of the North American Everyman. (However, a selection factor would operate


here if journalists choose to feature a result


because it seems to them to be general.) In any


event, the empirical evidence on the universality


assumption is far from complete and difficult to evaluate. Such as it is, that evidence does not seem to seriously invalidate the assumption.

The Social Cognitive Revolution If A N O V A and the laboratory experiment

T w o things are clear, though. Just as the

are the knife and fork of social psychology,

logic o f designing multi-experiment studies is

then cognitive explanatory variables are cur-

different in subtle and important ways from

rently its bread and butter. Indeed, the central-

the logic o f designing single studies, so the

ity o f information

logic and practice o f testing interaction pre-

representations led Markus and Zajonc ( 1 9 8 5 )

processing and


dictions is subtly different from the logic o f

to remark that social psychology has essen-

testing main effects. Few social psychologists

tially become the study o f the social mind.

seem to realize this, perhaps because they

They suggested that social cognition is no

need not do so as long as they continue t o

longer concerned with an " O - S - O - R " (i.e.,

assume that the majority o f interesting causal

stimulus-organism-response) formulation that

connections are universal.

privileges how attributes o f the organism medi-

T h e belief in causal universality that allows

ate causal relationships. Instead, they prefer an

social psychologists to rely on college sopho-

" O - S - O - R " formulation

mores, laboratory settings, and short-lasting

causally central the organism's subjective con-

because it makes

interventions is not shared by other social sci-

strual o f the world, not the world itself.

entists or policy actors. Social psychology is

In the 1 9 7 0 s and 1 9 8 0 s , social psychologists

routinely criticized for an overreliance on the

unearthed or resurrected many biases that tes-

laboratory that seems to undermine the face

tify to the mismatch between external reality

validity o f results. This is not to deny that

and human perception of it, including unrealis-

some social psychological findings are com-

tic optimism (Irwin, 1 9 4 4 ) and the actor-

mented on beyond the field, particularly field

observer attributional bias (Jones & Nisbett,

The Methodological


of Social


1 9 7 2 ) . Once the key influence on a person's

Milne, & Bodenhausen, 1 9 9 4 ) , or through

thought, feeling, and behavior was recognized

presenting the face o f a member o f a stereo-

not to be reality but to be the perception

typed group (e.g., Fazio, J a c k s o n , Dunton, &

thereof, then the mental processes that created

Williams, 1 9 9 5 ) . All are valid operational def-

and reacted to these perceptions became the

initions o f the same latent construct, o f the

proper focus o f social psychology. The objec-

same psychologically active mechanism.

tive nature o f the world assumed a lesser status.

Other examples o f the relative lack of con-

By the time this turn was being made in

cern with operational specifics can be found

social psychology, cognitive psychologists had

within social cognition. Researchers have

already been exploring perception, reasoning,

demonstrated that the accessibility of a repre-

categorization, mental representation,


sentation (e.g., a stereotype) shapes information

other ways in which the mind imposes struc-

processing in basically the same way regardless

ture on the world. Their concepts and meth-

of whether the accessibility results from a

ods were now keenly explored by social

chronic traitlike tendency to have that repre-



sentation accessible or from a temporary prim-

applied them to the social domain. Social cog-

ing o f that representation in the laboratory

nition was born. Sixteen years later, Tesser

(Bargh, Bond, Lombardi, & T o t a , 1 9 8 6 ) . Belief

and Bau ( 2 0 0 2 ) set out to review the current

that there are many ways to manipulate the

themes in the field and concluded that social

same underlying process has the

cognition was still dominant. Indeed, they






o f enhancing construct validity,

characterized the 1 9 9 0 s as "the decade o f

especially when it can be empirically shown

social cognition" (p. 8 1 ) . T h e perceiver's

that several different manipulations all activate

"black b o x " had become the central concern

the same measured mechanism and have the

of social psychology, in sharp contrast to the

same relationship with the outcome. W h e n this

stimulus-response approach.

pattern o f results emerges, it is clear that the


methodological implications o f this

particular form o f the manipulation

is an

shift included a need to develop ways to tap

irrelevancy and that causal potency may well

hidden cognitive processes (e.g., via reaction

lie with the common mechanism each manipu-

times, error rates, and other alternatives to

lation elicits.

introspection). Also implied was less emphasis

Pursuing a strategy that assigns secondary

on the precise characteristics o f the indepen-

status to observable independent

dent variable because the primary aim o f


experimental stimuli was n o w to activate a

instance, awareness o f the prime, however


requires considerable care. F o r

relevant mental representation. Whether it

induced, does matter, and it can produce con-

was specifically conceived o f as a stereotype or


trait category, the mental representation was

attempts to correct away from its influence

effects in judgment

as the


usually held to be an abstraction (Sherman,

(Schwarz & Bless, 1 9 9 2 ) . So, the theoretically

1 9 9 6 ) . Because an abstraction is, by defini-

mundane and merely vehicular components o f

tion, a synthesis across multiple, partially dif-

independent variables should not be decided

ferent stimuli, the precise characteristics o f

on lightly.

independent variables are no longer crucial. It

Moreover, the assumption is made that

hardly matters whether a stereotype is acti-

external environments do not affect individuals

vated through unscrambling a stereotype-

other than through individuals' perception of

related sentence (e.g., Banaji, Hardin, &c

them. Is this universally true o f neighborhood,

R o t h m a n , 1 9 9 3 ) , through subliminal priming

school, family, peer, media, and work influ-


ences (Cook, Herman, Phillips, & Setterston,

a stereotyped

category (e.g., M a c r a e ,


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH 2 0 0 2 ) , let alone true of the influence o f more


distal social events such as city and national

escalated, intervened with cooperative tasks. It

politics? It is true that perceptions o f neighbor-

would not be possible to collect such long-term

hoods are more strongly correlated


adolescent outcomes than are objective neigh-

conflict, and,



data in a conventional laboratory setting using paid undergraduates.

borhood attributes (Jessor & Jessor, 1 9 7 3 ) ,

However, confederates can be used in the

but this does not mean that the objective char-

laboratory to manipulate controlled interper-

acteristics play no independent role (Cook,

sonal events, as they have since the days of

Herman, et al., 2 0 0 2 ; Furstenberg, C o o k ,

Asch's ( 1 9 5 2 ) conformity studies. Even so,

Eccles, Elder, & Sameroff, 1 9 9 9 ) .

many interpersonal events are rather resistant t o experimental control, and even when they can be brought into the lab, it can be difficult

The Relative Neglect of Theories of Interpersonal Dynamics

to analyze the data they provide


A N O V A . This is because people influence each

Given the dominance of social cognition

other in complex ways through time, entailing

and laboratory settings, modal research prac-

observations that rarely are independent. As

tice pays little attention to theories o f interper-

Kenny ( 1 9 8 5 ) noted, this violates the indepen-

sonal dynamics. Pennebaker ( 2 0 0 2 ) noted that

dent errors assumption of A N O V A and forces

there is no APA division devoted to language

researchers to use more complicated hierarchi-

even though language "is the basis o f most

cally ordered statistics that few social psychol-

human communication

ogists now know (Bryk &c Raudenbush, 1 9 9 2 ;


is the


through which we understand and learn about

Gonzalez & Griffin, Chapter 1 4 , this volume).

ourselves and others" (p. 9 ) . The Interpersonal

So, for quite different reasons, interpersonal

and Group Processes section of JPSP often has

interdependence is a tepid topic in social psy-

the least journal space devoted to it, and the

chology today, left to an intrepid but perhaps

articles published there tend to focus on phe-

increasing few. W h e n preferences are clustered

nomena like social comparison that involve

around a dominant theory class (such as social

social cognition about a specific (but not nec-

cognition), this limits not just the form o f pre-

essarily present) person or group o f people.

ferred theory but also method choices. There is

Identity negotiation researchers w h o


little immediate need to venture into the novel

directly on the dynamic exchange between a

methodological territories that different kinds

perceiver and target, for example in the case o f

of theoretical framing require.

self-fulfilling prophecies (e.g., Swann, 1 9 8 7 ) , are the exception rather than the rule. Admittedly, it is difficult to capture interpersonal dynamics in a short-term lab study. In the early years o f social psychology, when theories about interpersonal relations were more

The Neglect of High-Impact Manipulations and the Kinds of Theory They Promote In social psychology's history, the words

prevalent, field studies were conducted that

" l a b " and "experiment" did not automatically

allowed participants to interact relatively freely

go together as they do today. Involvement in

over a significant period of time, during which

both non-experiments and field experiments

the researchers observed and


was more c o m m o n . W h e n researchers are

interventions. For example, Sherif, Harvey,

willing to proceed on the basis o f a direct rela-

White, Hood, and Sherif ( 1 9 6 1 ) arranged a

tionship between objective situations



overt behavior, field experiments are enabled.

randomly to teams, observed the resulting

Thus, to take one from many examples,

summer camp where they assigned

The Methodological Milgram, Bickman, and Berkowitz ( 1 9 6 9 ) induced varying numbers o f confederates t o


of Social


The Average Person as the Locus of Explanation

stare up at the sixth floor o f an arbitrarily chosen N e w Y o r k building. As predicted, the percentage o f passersby joining in the "gawking" was a diminishing


o f the

number o f confederate "gawkers."


Asch ( 1 9 5 2 )




regarded the interaction between person and situation as the critical subject matter of social psychology. Neither one nor the other claimed

It is not the purpose of experiments to re-cre-

special status, but their intersection did. W h e n

ate reality. Rather, it is to decompose and

one considers modern practice in social psy-

recombine what is in the world, often heighten-

chology, it is apparent that the field does not

ing it but always clarifying it—in Bacon's words,

share this interactionist emphasis. Instead, it

"Twisting Nature by the Tail." High-impact

places most emphasis on the individual, more

treatments push the boundaries of human expe-

accurately the average individual studied, leav-

rience, as in Milgram's work and in the labora-

ing less room for supra-individual phenomena

tory simulation of prison life by Haney, Banks,

as explanatory constructs. T h e field seems to

and Zimbardo (1973) that had to be terminated

have reasserted F. H. Allport's ( 1 9 2 4 ) reduc-

prematurely because of the sadistic tendencies

tionist view that collective phenomena

that developed among the "guards"

understood properly with reference only to the



their "prisoners." But since then, few other lab-

minds o f individuals—primarily as these indi-

oratory experiments can be offered as examples

viduals perceive the social world and process

of high impact. Motivationally, most operate in

information about it.

a lower key, as short-term analogs to deeper and longer lasting experiences.

Individual differences are rarely part o f the modern story, though they would be required

Ironically, it was probably ethically ques-

for a full interactionist perspective (see Shoda,

tionable attempts to construct high-impact

Chapter 6, this volume, for a detailed discus-

manipulations in the laboratory that helped

sion o f different

crown the low-impact laboratory study as

including individual differences). There are

possible approaches


sovereign and that hastened the move toward

both moral and ideological reasons why indi-

explicitly analog, nondeceptive


vidual differences have lost their appeal. T h e

(e.g., Prisoner's Dilemma games to study coop-

assumption o f universal responsivity to causal

eration, lists of traits to study impression for-

agents is compatible with the egalitarian, mer-

mation). Jones ( 1 9 8 5 ) has even opined that

itocratic ideology o f the West. Moreover,

Milgram's obedience study and Festinger's dis-

social psychologists have tried to avoid the

sonance experiments bear partial responsibility

mistakes o f individual difference researchers,

for "the range o f available procedures [being]

whose early work (say, on group differences in

restricted by ethical concerns enforceable by

intelligence) seemed t o support questionable

human subjects committees" (p. 9 8 ) . W h a t we

political actions (Kamin, 1 9 7 4 ) . Also psychol-

want to note here is that the timing of these eth-

ogists may be sensitive to their own proclivity

ical concerns (Baumrind, 1 9 6 4 ) coincided with

as laypersons to overlook situational explana-

the rise of an information-processing paradigm

tions of behavior in favor o f dispositional

that rarely requires high-impact manipulations


(see also Kimmel, Chapter 3, this volume).

(Nisbett & Ross, 1 9 8 0 ) . Fears like these prob-

Thus, there were both theoretical and ethical

ably have helped reinforce the field's move





reasons why social psychologists moved away

toward assigning a major causal role to indi-

from the study o f "hot" motivated behavior

vidual psychological constructions o f situa-

and toward "colder" social cognition.

tions rather than to individual dispositions



constructs are evident in notions such as

Unfortunately perceptions of social situa-

person actually takes on a different self when

objective situations or to the


between the two.

according to which


tions are not always anchored in a broad range

acting as a group member (e.g., Turner

of comparative experience and so may be quite

Onorato, 1 9 9 9 ) . T h e contrast here is with

unstable. They certainly run the risk o f over-

American cousins to these ideas, such as the

looking stable structural forces that might have

interdependent self-construal of M a r k u s and

serious long-term repercussions. Eagly's social

Kitayama ( 1 9 9 1 ) that again places most con-

role theory of sex differences in psychological

ceptual focus on the individual.


functioning (Eagly, W o o d , & Diekman, 2 0 0 0 )

Moving away from an individual focus has

is sensitive to this last dilemma, being an

methodological repercussions. For instance,

attempt to sketch how social structure creates

data analyses would have to take account o f

power and resource inequalities that have per-

h o w social systems are hierarchically ordered,

petuated stable but learned sex differences in

with individuals nested within groups

psychological functioning. Her perspective on

groups within larger aggregates like schools or

objective and sustained social contexts is much


more like what sociologists assume in their

move analysis toward

studies of how family, school, and neighbor-

modeling ( H L M ) rather than A N O V A (see


or universities. This would hierarchical linear

hood forces sustain cross-generational stability

Gonzalez & Griffin, Chapter 1 4 , this volume;

in social class standing. For them, as for Eagly,

West, Biesanz, & K w o k , Chapter 1 3 , this vol-

perceived contexts count; but actual contexts


also do.

also has methodological repercussions. M o s t

Even cross-cultural psychologists locate



are conceptualized

social psychologists prefer a variable-centered

culture in the individual mind, with B o n d




concepts such as race, age, and gender or sin-

researchers for falling prey to the ecological

gle personality attributes such as neuroticism

fallacy o f ascribing to the person properties


that are only demonstrably true o f the group

developmental psychologists are experiment-



o f individuals,


degree o f loneliness. In contrast, some

(as with the construct o f individualism). A

ing with person-centered approaches to indi-

similar reluctance is evident when it comes to






reciprocal causation between the person and

Bergmann, 1 9 9 0 ) that require tricky multi-

environment. For instance, prejudice tends t o

variate techniques such as cluster analysis to

be studied either in terms o f perceiver bias

construct multivariate profiles o f types o f indi-

and representations (e.g., Devine, 1 9 8 9 ) or in

viduals. Knowledge o f A N O V A will not suf-

terms o f the consequences o f stigma for the

fice for anyone studying either interpersonal

target (e.g., Crocker & M a j o r , 1 9 8 9 ; Steele &

relationships or individual

Aronson, 1 9 9 5 ) . But Shelton ( 2 0 0 0 ) recently

ceived as multivariate profiles.

differences con-

asked why psychologists are not examining

Most social psychologists like to believe they

the actual interactions between, say, African

are studying the "average human" or at least

Americans and European Americans in order

"the average North American," but they actually

to explain prejudice. Like culture, prejudice

study the average person in whatever sample

seems to be "psychologized," restricted to

they have at hand. This sample is rarely ran-

being a property o f individuals.

domly selected from a clearly designated and the-

Attempts by European social psychologists to




oretically justified population,



strategy for generalization in science. Purposive

The Methodological


of Social


samples are the order of the day. These can

O f course, individual differences are not

sometimes promote generalization, but only

completely ignored; nor are statistical inter-

when accompanied by ancillary information and

actions with treatments.

analyses (Cook, 1 9 9 3 ) . Furthermore, even with

they occur, the focus is mostly on those



purposive samples, detailed description of the


sample is very important for generalization, but

moderate psychological mechanisms assumed


factors t h a t


social psychologists rarely provide such descrip-

to be universal. F o r example, Oyserman,

tion in detail. True, there are some researchers


with interests in more circumscribed popula-


tions, for instance the average neurotic, the aver-

"identify cultural contingencies that moder-




(2002) as




age shy, or the average African American person.

ate general processes o f human cognition,

At a rninimum, these researchers need to show

affect, and behavior" (p. 1 1 0 ) . These "cul-

that the persons they sample in their studies


belong in the target class, even if they were not

framed in terms o f psychological processes

randomly selected from that class and even if the

such as values and traditions rather than in

correlates of class membership (and hence poten-

terms o f sociological or political processes





tial confounds for interpretation) have not been

such as class inequality or the distribution o f

described as fully as they might have been.

resources. W h e n national

Sample description is rudimentary in social psy-

demonstrated, most social psychologists are



chology because practitioners generally believe

then inclined to move t o a m o r e abstract level

that individual differences do not matter much

o f theory that subsumes the differences by

and that theories about specific populations are

invoking some novel underlying c o m m o n a l -

less important than theories about people in gen-

ity. J a h o d a ( 1 9 8 6 ) has argued against this,

eral. So why go to all the trouble?

however, contending that it is better to stay

Given this belief system, social psycholo-

with the national particulars and to construct

gists do not develop theories about individual

different psychologies for different countries.

differences that might interact with an inter-

In his view, it is better to gain a full and data-

vention. N o r , in general, do they test many

based psychological understanding that is

interaction possibilities in post hoc fashion. O f

applicable in at least some national contexts

course, with the small samples and truncated

than it is to create some universalist explana-

distributions they typically use (because o f

tion framed

w h o is recruited into experiments), the statis-


in exclusively individualistic

tical power o f the interaction tests they do conduct is limited. This points to a serious inferential difficulty that would ensue if interaction predictions were more c o m m o n in the field, as well as to the need for social psychologists to be more knowledgeable about the design and sampling modifications that serious interaction testing requires. In any event,

The Assumption of Irrelevant Domains and Hence the Generation of Theories With Minimal Grounded Content For the modal social psychologist, the pro-

believing that social psychology deals with the

cesses acting upon mental representations are

reactions o f the average person helps promote

construed to be essentially similar, not only

the field's status as a cumulative science that

across all human beings but also across all

does not have to worry much about

domains of content. Evolutionary psychologists

population dependence o f results.


(e.g., T o o b y & Cosmides, 1 9 9 2 ) do not share

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH this view, believing that the human mind is an

Third, G. W . Allport's ( 1 9 5 4 ) description

evolved set of tools specialized for discrete

of social psychology invokes social contexts

domains of life that were important to survival

that are real, implied, or imagined, without

(e.g., face perception, mate preferences). They


postulate that some psychological processes will

domain generality, the need to differentiate

therefore be domain-specific, an

is reduced.


otherwise rarely shared in social psychology. The






In this regard,





diverse ways that social rejection has been operationalized.



domain generalizability—is more widespread

(a) using live confederates who exclude the

and has several important implications. First,

participant from a game o f catch (Nezlek,

it effectively erases the line between social

Kowalski, Leary, Blevins, & Holgate, 1 9 9 7 ) ,

and nonsocial cognition (Hastie & Carlston,

(b) using "internet chat r o o m s " that remove

1 9 8 0 ) . This justifies the construction of social

face-to-face contact but not the perceived real-

cognition as an enterprise concerned more

ity o f the interaction (Gardner, Pickett, &

with a standard cognitive analysis applied to

Brewer, 2 0 0 0 ) , and (c) asking participants to

social phenomena than with the generation o f


unique analyses designed to identify h o w cog-

Kimball, & Rehak, 1 9 7 9 ) . Using Immersive

nitive performance differs because a social ver-

Virtual Environment Technology, Blascovich





sus nonsocial object is being appraised. This

et al. (in press) studied the conditions under

last emphasis is clear in early social psycho-

which participants would show social influ-

logical work on the symbolic properties o f

ence effects such as maintaining interpersonal


such as Bruner and


distance or conforming to the level o f bets

( 1 9 4 7 ) demonstration that the value associ-

placed by others in a virtual casino. Results

ated with (heavily socially imbued) coins influ-

showed differences depending on whether the

enced people's judgments about the size o f


circles—a social cognitive cause o f a seemingly

with figures or with "avatars" that either pos-

nonsocial perception.

sessed photographic realism (e.g., were repre-

Second, social psychologists w h o assume


they were


sented by a computerized person rather than a

cross-domain generalization can avoid study-

beach ball), or corresponded to a real person

ing such problematic domains as divorce,

rather than a simple computer program.

bereavement, parenting, cults, and so on, so

These results all suggest that the assump-

long as they can plausibly argue that the

tion o f stimulus-independent processes is not

same social, cognitive, and emotional pro-


cesses account for most o f the variance found

cannot be used willy-nilly in lieu o f more

between these domains. But h o w can this

realistic ones. Similarly, real and perceived


neighborhoods are not always substitutable.

be tested



except through a laborious process o f measurement,








Social psychologists seem to believe that nature is structured with important general

across these various domains? Until empiri-

truths (laws?) at its center, and with less

cal research on domain specificity is done,


social psychology will seem rather content-

periphery. T h e r e is n o obvious reason why

free to most outside observers, not imbued

the social psychological world

with deep insider knowledge o f the behav-

organized around general laws rather than

iorally grounded

around a vast collection o f w-way interac-

phenomena to which its

theories and results are thought t o apply.





its be

tions that would be detected if research were

The Methodological


of Social


more sensitively designed so as to detect

for collecting relevant data. Sometimes, a single

interactions rather than main effects.

method will suffice, like use o f the sample

Even so, epistemologists value parsimony

survey when a population description is called

more than complexity, and the prestigious

for. M o r e often, though, multiple methods

physical sciences employ a law-oriented view

will be needed, given the limitations o f many

of knowledge growth. T h e y have generally

individual methods. Even then, though, there


is no justification for using multiple methods

replication justifies the assumption that results

willy-nilly. An explicit justification is required


believing that


are general until subsequent research proves

for the several methods chosen because they

otherwise. Given these realities, we cannot

have to differ in their imperfections and in the

envisage social psychologists mounting a seri-

direction o f any biases presumed to attend

ous attack to describe a more complex onto-

these imperfections ( C o o k , 1 9 8 5 ) .

logical structure than they n o w assume.


main problem for a field is when

c o m m i t m e n t t o a particular style o f research inadvertently precludes theoretical growth


by restricting the kinds o f questions asked.

Methodological practice in social psychology

psychology as it is practiced in Sociology

has changed over time and will continue to

departments, the social psychology we have

do so. T h e rigid impression o f research meth-

described here runs that risk. Seen meta-the-

ods one finds in most introductory textbooks

o r e t i c a l l y , it rarely

C o m p a r e d both t o its own past and to social




is an illusion. F r o m the w a y the questions are

notions, including multivariate and recipro-

formulated t o the w a y data are collected,

cal causation. It rarely deals with the social

analyzed, and interpreted, empirical w o r k

and individual determinants o f the social

involves hundreds o f choices at every stage.

factors it varies. It rarely probes the person,

Some o f these choices are not conscious

setting, and time factors that might condi-

because the alternatives are not known, or

tion a causal relationship, instead assuming

are rendered invisible or inappropriate by the

a routine generalization o f findings that indi-

collective decision o f the social psychology

vidual studies can rarely test, given the small

community to do things a particular way.

and homogeneous samples typically used. In

But the alternatives are still there.

addition, field research is rare relative t o lab-

Although this chapter is a plea for greater

oratory research; research with populations

diversity o f method choice in social psychol-

other than university students is also rare;

ogy, we acknowledge that taking the position

and exploratory research is much rarer than

of the modal social psychologist has limited

hypothesis testing. Cognitive theories are

our account o f the variation that already

still dominant, though interpersonal, e m o -

exists in the field. Fortunately, the chapters

tional, biological, and cultural concepts are

following this one put some o f this variation

gaining in currency, albeit often linked to

back into play, as they seek t o introduce

cognition, as in cognitive neuroscience. T h e

social psychologists t o newer techniques and

best case for methodological pluralism in the

hence to extend their options.

field is not that better answers can be pro-

However, we see no virtue to methodolog-

vided t o traditional questions; it is that a

ical pluralism per se. T h e key need is for

wider range o f questions can be asked that

researchers to get their questions or issues

will encourage a wider

straight and then to use the best available tools


range o f theory


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Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Research ALLAN J . KIMMEL ESCP-EAP,



School of


t is n o w c o m m o n l y understood within

research practices have entered into the collective

social psychology that decisions about

psyche of investigators within the discipline.

particular research questions and associ-

Less than 5 0 years ago, research ethics rarely, if

ated methodological issues are inextricably

ever, represented a formal component of the

bound to a wide range o f ethical considera-

training and practice of social psychologists. As

tions. This understanding, however, has not

Kelman ( 1 9 9 6 ) has noted, prior to the 1 9 6 0 s

always been as evident as it might have been,

the idea had not yet taken hold that systematic

but rather grew out of an extended process of

attention to researchers' moral obligations to

self-reflection and debate. Focused attention on

research participants and to society as a whole

ethical issues within the discipline also devel-

represented an integral element o f the research

oped amid fears that future research necessarily

process. The fact that today these matters are

would be restricted as a result o f the growing

considered as a matter of course suggests that

influence of external regulation by governmen-

social psychologists have taken great strides in

tal and other regulatory bodies. Although ethi-

terms o f acknowledging and responding to their

cal considerations played a minor role, if any

ethical and moral responsibilities. Nonetheless,

role at all, in the research process during social

it is understandable that the ethical dimension

psychology's formative period, today they have

can be seen as a source o f added complications

a formidable influence on most of the decisions

in the actual conduct of a research investiga-

relative to the planning and conduct of investi-

tion. Confronted by an increasingly daunting

gations, from the recruitment o f participants to

array o f ethical guidelines, governmental regu-

the subsequent application o f research findings.

lations, and institutional review, investigators

It is impressive to recognize the relative

often are compelled to weigh methodological

rapidity by which the moral imperatives of

and ethical requirements in order to choose

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The author thanks the volume editors for their constructive comments during the preparation of this chapter.

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH whether and how to pursue particular research

immediate data-collection setting also have

questions. The practical difficulties imposed by

been addressed. For example, research find-

attempts to cope with these two sets o f demands

ings might be exploited for various political or

often are linked to the recognition that the most

personal ends to the detriment o f certain soci-

methodologically sound study is not necessarily

etal groups; ethical misconduct could reduce

the most ethical one, and vice versa.

public trust in psychologists or negatively

In retrospect, much o f the impetus for ethical progress in social psychology was sparked

influence perceptions o f the scientific process; and


accounts o f unethical

by a significant increase in the implementation

social psychological research could tarnish the

of ethically questionable research practices.

discipline's public image and ultimately jeop-

For example, by the m i d - 1 9 7 0 s , the practice

ardize community support and funding for the

of deceiving research participants in social

research enterprise. Indeed, it is essential that

psychology studies had

judgments pertaining t o an

become c o m m o n -

place. According to various estimates, the


moral dimension take into account the possi-

percentage o f studies using deception in the

ble effects o f the research on all those impli-


cated by it, whether directly or indirectly.

of Personality and Social


(JPSP) rose from around 2 0 % in 1 9 6 0 to nearly 7 0 % in 1 9 7 5 (e.g., Adair, Dushenko, & Lindsay, 1 9 8 5 ; M c N a m a r a & W o o d s , 1 9 7 7 ) . W h e n psychological journal editors


asked to nominate studies they considered to be empirical landmarks in social psychology, the five most frequently nominated involved elaborate laboratory deceptions o f the studies' purpose





M o r t o n , 1 9 7 8 ) . It is possible that most of, if not all, these studies would not have been approved (at least in their original form) by contemporary ethical review boards, reflecting the necessity to bear in mind the impact o f the prevailing ethical climate on judgments pertaining to research issues.

CHAPTER OVERVIEW This chapter focuses on ethical issues in social psychology pertaining

to decisions a b o u t

particular research questions and associated methodological approaches. T h e discussion begins with a consideration o f the evolution o f ethical debate and regulation in the discipline. Next, an overview is provided o f the ethical issues that emerge in the conduct of experimental, field, and applied research, including a focus on problems related to the use o f deception. At various points, I refer to my own ongoing research on rumors in order to illus-

Although deception arguably has proven t o

trate some o f these issues. T h e last section o f

be the most pervasive ethical issue in social

the chapter addresses issues related to ethical

psychology research, other practices also have

safeguards and the impact o f ethical review.

aroused considerable concern, including the invasion o f participants' right to privacy, failure to protect the anonymity o f respondents


or the confidentiality o f data,



observations o f unsuspecting participants, and


the use o f psychological or physically risky manipulations

in experimental studies. In

Developments toward ethical regulation often

addition t o the possibility that research prac-

tend to follow in the wake o f disclosures o f

tices may pose a risk o f harm directly to indi-

ethical misconduct and

vidual participants, issues pertaining to the

studies involving the mistreatment o f research

implications o f research that go beyond the

participants (Kuschel, 1 9 9 8 ) . For example, in

the reporting


Ethical Issues in Social Psychology sociology, trade"







social psychology is Milgram's (1963) obedience

o f h o m o s e x u a l behavior in

studies, a series o f laboratory investigations

public restrooms aroused considerable contro-

conducted from

versy and prompted sociologists to reevaluate

research volunteers w h o were led to believe



they were administering dangerous electric

Humphrey did not inform the participants

shocks to an innocent victim. Although osten-

discipline's formative


1 9 6 0 to

1 9 6 4 involving

w h o congregated in the restrooms that he was

sibly presented as a study about learning, the

observing their conduct for research purposes;

experiment's intent was to observe the extent

later, he altered his appearance and presented

to which the participants would obey the

himself as a health service worker in order to

orders o f a malevolent authority (the experi-

interview the men at their homes for the pur-

menter). W h a t aroused great concern in the

pose o f obtaining information about homo-

scientific community, in addition to the fact

sexual lifestyles. In political science, a study

that 6 5 % o f all participants in the standard

that aroused extensive controversy was Project





Camelot, a 1 9 6 4 research project conducted

" s h o c k s " in response to the authority's com-

under the auspices o f the U.S. government that

mands, was that participants apparently expe-

was intended to study counterinsurgency in


Latin America (Horowitz, 1 9 6 7 ) . The project

physical distress as a function o f the experi-

was quickly condemned on ethical grounds as

mental guise. Despite the lack o f direct evi-

a blatant attempt by the project sponsors to

dence that anyone suffered lasting harm as a

identify means for suppressing popular revolts

result o f the research, the obedience experi-

in foreign countries.

ments remain at the forefront o f most discus-


psychological upset


These and similar studies added fuel to the

sions o f research ethics in social psychology

fire o f public and professional discourse on

and related disciplines. Although the target o f

matters related t o scientific ethics and the

scathing ethical and methodological attacks

treatment o f research participants. This also

for m a n y years, M i l g r a m ' s research


was the case in psychology, most notably as a

received renewed attention by those w h o have

result o f experimentation involving deception.

praised its insights into obedient behavior

In a series o f field experiments conducted

(Miller, Collins, & Brief, 1 9 9 5 ) .

during the early 1 9 6 0 s , young military recruits

Social psychology experiments rarely elicit

unknowingly were subjected to bogus life-

the sorts o f intense reactions in participants

threatening emergencies (such as the apparent

as in the studies described here; nonetheless,

imminent crash landing o f their aircraft) in

the latter were instrumental

order to study their reactions to psychological

an impetus for ethical scrutiny within the

stress (Berkun, Bialek, Kern, & Yagi, 1 9 6 2 ) .

discipline and the public domain.



In another controversial study, alcoholic volunteers were led to believe they were participating in an experiment to test a possible treatment for alcoholism but instead were injected with a drug that caused a terrifying,

Governmental Regulations for Behavioral Research in the United States

albeit temporary, respiratory paralysis, lead-

Federal safeguards concerning the rights

ing many o f the participants to believe that

and welfare o f human research participants

they were dying (Campbell, Sanderson,

have been in place as part o f U.S. Public Health


Laverty, 1 9 6 4 ) . N o doubt the most widely known

Service (PHS) policy since 1 9 6 6 , although the and

initial focus was limited to clinical research in

controversial example o f deceptive research in

medical fields. In 1 9 6 9 , PHS policy was

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH extended to cover all research involving human

argued that deceptive procedures pose certain

participants, including biomedical and behav-

psychological risks to participants, including

ioral investigations. T h e concept o f consent

loss o f self-esteem and dignity and a possible

was emphasized in these initial governmental

loss o f trust in legitimate authority. In view of

regulations as well as the necessity for commit-

the methodological drawbacks of some decep-

tee review of research that put participants at

tion studies, she further questioned whether

risk. In July, 1 9 7 4 , following Senate hearings

such studies held much potential for serious

on some prominent cases o f research abuses,

benefit. According to other prominent critics,


deception had become a commonplace proce-






Research Act ( 1 9 7 4 ) , which led to the creation

dure that increasingly was being employed

of the National Commission for the Protection

even in research situations where it was unnec-


essary (Kelman, 1 9 6 7 ) .






Behavioral Research.

Largely in response to the changing nature

Following an extended period o f review,

of research in the discipline, the American

the National Commission ( 1 9 7 9 ) issued its

Psychological Association (APA) has taken

final recommendations in 1 9 7 8 along with the two-volume Belmont


which proposed

norms for ethical conduct in various areas,

steps to codify and periodically modify ethical principles for human participant


These principles have served as a model for

including competence o f the researcher, iden-

other professional associations around the

tification o f risks and benefits, appropriate


selection o f participants, voluntary informed

derived largely through an empirical approach

consent, and compensation for injury. Formal

based on a survey o f critical incidents pertain-

regulations were published by the Department

ing to ethical dilemmas experienced by the

and are unique in that they were

of Health and H u m a n Services ( D H H S ) in

association's members. The current version o f

the January 2 6 , 1 9 8 1 , issue o f the


the code (APA, 2 0 0 2 ) , is the result of a 5 0 -

M o s t noteworthy among the regula-

year history o f development and revision and



is presumed to reflect the values of APA

review by institutional review boards (IRBs)

members as well as the moral growth of the

for the approval o f DHHS-funded research

discipline o f psychology (Jones, 2 0 0 1 ) .

tions were requirements mandating

projects, including the exemption of broad

T h e APA research principles became sub-

categories o f research that posed little or no

stantially more stringent in the 1 9 7 3 version of

risk o f harm. The current D H H S regulations

the code (American Psychological Association,

governing the implementation o f the National

Ad H o c Committee on Ethical Standards in

Research Act, which have been amended over

Psychological Research, 1 9 7 3 ) , as well as in

the years, are available in the Code of Federal

subsequent versions, in light o f the controversy

Regulations issued by the Office for Protection

surrounding the dramatic increase in deception

From Research Risks ( O P R R ) ( 1 9 9 1 ) .

experiments and

criticisms regarding


broadly stated and qualified nature of some of the principles. M a n y apparently perceive the

Professional Ethical Standards

current principles to be more exacting than

By the m i d - 1 9 6 0 s , a growing number o f

they were intended to be, as they were meant

critics had begun to question the prolifera-

to be applied within a cost-benefit framework

tion o f deceptive and potentially


that permits the researcher to consider whether

in psychological research.

the benefits o f the research outweigh possible

For example, Baumrind ( 1 9 6 4 ) , largely in

harm to participants. This utilitarian approach

reaction t o M i l g r a m ' s obedience research,

has continued to fuel further debates over


Ethical Issues in Social Psychology interpretation

o f the principles and






Research consent

\ are

allowed under federal regulations and profes-

The current principles emphasize voluntary

sional standards when certain conditions are

participation and informed consent as funda-

met, such as the research involves no more

mental prerequisites for human

than minimal risk to participants; the study


research. The principle o f voluntary informed

could not practically be carried out


consent was most notably introduced in the

informed consent; the research consists o f

Code ( 1 9 4 9 ) , a general set o f stan-

anonymous questionnaires, naturalistic obser-

dards formulated to prevent atrocities like

vations, or archival research for which disclo-

those perpetrated by Nazi researchers during

sure o f responses would not result in negative

World W a r II and the forerunner t o all subse-

consequences for participants; and so forth


quent guidelines governing experimentation with human

(Schuler, 1 9 8 2 ) .


(see APA, 2 0 0 2 ; O P R R , 1 9 9 1 ) .


partially or fully informed consent in practice

Following increasing disclosures o f objection-

can be difficult, particularly when the cogni-

able research in the social and behavioral

tive capacity o f participants is limited or

sciences, it became apparent that the Nuremberg

impaired. Such is the case when participants

Code (along with the subsequent Helsinki dec-

are selected from vulnerable groups, such as

larations for guiding the conduct o f health and

children, the elderly, the mentally disabled and

medical researchers) was insufficient to ensure

handicapped, and underprivileged persons.

the safety and well-being o f research participants (Kuschel, 1 9 9 8 ) .

from vulnerable groups consist o f whether

Consistent with U.S. federal guidelines and

they understand what they are told about the


nature and purpose o f a study, are able to

the APA standards require informed

weigh the risks that a study may entail for

some scientific journals (e.g., Science),

The primary ethical concerns for persons

consent for nearly all human research. W h e n

them, and can consent on their own, without

obtaining informed consent from prospective

the agreement o f a legal guardian. There also

research participants, social psychologists are

is the possibility that they may have a lower

expected t o communicate the following types

tolerance for potentially risky or deceptive

of information (APA, 2 0 0 2 ) : (a) the purpose

manipulations. Professional ethics codes are

of the research, expected duration, and pro-

consistent in specifying that research involving

cedures; (b) the right to decline to participate

children and participants with

and to withdraw from the research once par-

that will limit their understanding

ticipation has begun; (c) the foreseeable con-

special safeguarding procedures. A c o m m o n

impairments requires


approach to dealing with the issue o f consent

(d) reasonably foreseeable factors that may be

is to use parental or proxy consent as a substi-


o f declining


expected to influence willingness t o partici-

tute for, or in addition to, obtaining consent

pate, including potential risks, discomfort, or

from the vulnerable participant (e.g., British

adverse effects; (e) any prospective research

Psychological Society, 1 9 9 5 ) .


(f) limitations on


A related issue that emerges in considerations

(g) incentives for participation; and (h) w h o m

of informed consent pertains to the potential

to contact for questions about the research

coercion (and related forms o f exploitation) of

and participants' rights. F o r guidance as to

individuals for research participation. This issue

the design, administration, and evaluation o f

has been most widely discussed in terms of the

valid consent forms and

use o f students for research purposes. University



Kimmel ( 1 9 9 6 ) .




see and

subject pools typically comprise students who are encouraged (and sometimes required) to

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH participate in campus research in order to obtain

response rates (American Association for

some sort of incentive. Although the incentive

Public Opinion Research [ A A P O R ] ,

may be monetary in nature, it is more likely

Bearden, Madden, & Uscategui, 1 9 9 8 ) , has


to take the form of course credit or fulfillment

increased in psychology over the past decade as

of a prerequisite to obtaining a course grade

psychologists have made a more concerted

(Lindsay & Holden, 1 9 8 7 ) . Despite college

effort to include nonstudent adult participants

recruits representing a convenient, inexpensive

in their samples (Kimmel, 2 0 0 1 ) .

study population, several ethical concerns have

With regard to deception, the APA code

been voiced about the use of this population

dictates that deception should be used only if

(e.g., Korn, 1 9 8 8 ) . Specifically, there are fears

a study's results are likely to be sufficiently

that alternative means of satisfying course

important, an alternative nondeceptive proce-

requirements may not be offered or else are

dure is not feasible, the research is not likely to

excessively time-consuming or noxious; that

cause physical pain or severe emotional distress,

students may receive little if any educational

and the deception is to be explained to partici-

debriefing; and that readily accessible complaint

pants as early as possible. In short, the critical

procedures are not available. Several guidelines

determinant o f the acceptability of deception

have been proposed for the ethical use of

is that it is "justified by the study's significant

student subject pools (see, for example, APA,

prospective scientific, educational, or applied

1 9 8 2 ) , and in recent years students have

value" and that the only way the study feasibly

been offered an increasing array of alternatives

could be carried out is by introducing deception

to the research requirement (McCord, 1 9 9 1 ;

as an integral aspect of the research procedure

Raupp & Cohen, 1 9 9 2 ) .

(APA, 2 0 0 2 , p. 1 1 ) . The criterion o f value has

Keeping in mind individuals' freedom to

proven contentious for critics who point to the

decline to participate, several strategies for

subjective nature inherent in die researcher's

recruiting research participants have been pro-

determination of a study's prospective benefits.

posed, including financial inducements, lotter-

However, in recent years, the federal require-

ies, gifts, or the simple promise to provide a

ment that scientists obtain institutional approval

summary of the study's results. Perhaps the

prior to conducting research has evolved as an

most serious ethical concern related to recruit-

important component of the APA code.

ment involves the point at which offers of

In addition to governmental regulations and

inducements to participate become coercive,

the APA code, social psychologists can obtain

thereby threatening one's right not to partici-

guidance for research conduct by consulting

pate or one's freedom to withdraw from an

standards that have been promulgated by other

ongoing study. As of yet, there are no clear

professional groups. For example, codes of

ethical standards for obtaining guidance in

ethics for survey research have been developed

such cases beyond the necessity for researchers


to maintain a sensitivity to the possibility that

Chamber of Commerce/European Society for

organizations such as the International

they are exerting excessive pressure on targeted

Opinion and Marketing Research (ICC/ESO-


to enhance recruitment.


M A R ) ( 2 0 0 1 ) , the Council of American Survey

example, the APA code recommends


Research Organizations (CASRO) ( 1 9 9 5 ) , the

"reasonable efforts" be made to avoid offers

American Association for Public Opinion

of excessive or inappropriate inducements to

Research (AAPOR) ( 2 0 0 2 ) , and the Council

potential participants that "are likely to coerce

for Marketing and Opinion Research ( C M O R )

participation" (APA, 2 0 0 2 , p. 1 1 ) . T h e use o f

( 1 9 9 9 ) . As well as clarifying the rights of

monetary incentives, which has been recom-

respondents, clients, or sponsors and

mended as an effective practice for maximizing

professional responsibilities o f researchers,


Ethical Issues in Social Psychology



these codes offer extensive ethical principles in

ethical decision making. Consequently, social

the conduct of public opinion research and in

psychologists should be particularly sensitive to

the use of such research for policy and decision

foreign ethical guidelines during the conduct o f

making in the public and private sectors. The

cross-cultural research, as different standards o f

codes vary in specificity with regard to the

acceptable and unacceptable conduct are likely

range o f major ethical issues involving research

to prevail in different country contexts.

participants, including deceptive practices, invasion o f privacy, and lack o f consideration/concern for respondents (N. C. Smith &


Klein, 1 9 9 9 ) . Bearing in mind that many social


psychologists are employed in applied settings, it is important to note that corporate codes o f

Investigations into widely researched social

conduct have been implemented by a number

psychology subject areas such as attitudes,

of companies in North America and Europe

aggression, prejudice, intimate relationships,

(Berenbeim, 1 9 9 2 ; Chonko, 1 9 9 5 ) .

group dynamics, impression formation, and

Finally, professional codes of ethical conduct

social identity commonly touch upon a variety

have been developed by a number of psycho-

of interests and values that are prerequisite and

logical associations around the world, includ-

central to ethical decision making. Because of

Psychological Society

the sensitive nature of much social psychologi-

( 1 9 8 6 ) , the Canadian Psychological Associ-

cal research, the question is not whether ethical

ation ( 1 9 9 1 ) , the British Psychological Society

dilemmas will be encountered, but rather when




( 1 9 9 5 ) , the German Association o f Profes-

and under which circumstances they are likely


to pose the most difficult problems for the





Psychological Society ( 1 9 7 6 ) , the Netherlands

researcher (and other parties) involved, how

Institute o f Psychologists ( 1 9 8 8 ) , the General

such dilemmas can be anticipated before they

Assembly for the Scandinavian Psychological

emerge, and what steps can be taken by the

Associations (European Federation o f Psycho-

researcher to either avoid or satisfactorily

logy Associations, 1 9 9 8 ) , the Psychological

resolve the dilemmas. At the core o f most o f the

Association of Slovenia ( 1 9 8 2 ) , the Spanish

ethical conflicts encountered within social psy-

Psicologo (Colegio Oficial de Psicologos,

chology are the sometimes opposing interests o f

1 9 8 7 ) , and the Swiss Federation o f Psychol-

science and the protection of others. This point

ogists (Federation Suisse des Psychologues,

was emphasized in an insightful early critique

1 9 9 1 ) . Each of these codes emphasizes and


promotes an overriding high regard for the

Vinacke ( 1 9 5 4 ) , w h o raised important ques-





well-being and dignity o f research participants,

tions about the "proper balance between the

as reflected in the attention given to such top-

interests of science and the thoughtful treat-

ics as informed consent, protection from harm,

ment of the persons who, innocently, supply the

and privacy issues (including confidentiality)

data" (p. 1 5 5 ) .

(Kimrnel, 1 9 9 6 ) . Nonetheless, the codes differ in terms o f the degree o f specificity with which principles are formulated and in the basic ethical positions taken, with stronger emphasis

Defining "Ethics," "Morality," and "Ethical Dilemma"

placed either on research benefits or risks to

A first step in being able to anticipate an

research participants. Such differences are

ethical dilemma is knowing what this and

reflective o f cultural variations in value sys-

related terms represent in the context o f

tems, moral judgments, and approaches to

research decisions. T h e word

" e t h i c s " is




meaning a

valid measure of behavior) against the ethical

person's character or disposition, whereas

imperative of informed consent. T h e decision

"morality" is derived from the Latin

to opt for deception in an attempt to maxi-


meaning custom, manners, or character. As it

mize the validity of a study runs counter to

has evolved in c o m m o n usage, the


the obligation to be forthcoming with research

has come to pertain to questions

participants. In one form or another, argu-

about whether specific acts are consistent

ments against deception claim that because it


with accepted notions o f right or wrong. T h e

involves lying and deceit, its use in research is

is more likely to be used to

morally reprehensible and may have poten-

connote rules o f behavior or conformity to a

tially harmful effects on each o f the parties

code or set o f principles (Frankena, 1 9 7 3 ;

implicated by it (e.g., Ortmann & Hertwig,

Reynolds, 1 9 7 9 ) .

1 9 9 7 ) . Adair et al. ( 1 9 8 5 ) clearly summarized

term ethical

For example, we have seen that the APA research principles condone the use of deceit

some o f the key concerns about its use in psychology by suggesting that deception

under certain specified circumstances, meaning that an investigator who deceives research participants could be considered as acting within the bounds of ethical propriety.


we still may feel that the researcher's behavior was not right in a moral sense by applying the deontological principle that deceiving others can never be justified. As is apparent, deception in this case might be viewed as proper according to one set of principles (those by

violates the individual's right to voluntarily choose to participate, abuses the basic interpersonal relationship between experimenter and subject, contributes to deception as a societal value and practice, is a questionable base for development of the discipline, is contrary to our professional roles as teachers or scientists, and will ultimately lead to a loss of trust in the profession and science of psychology, (p. 61)

which professional psychologists are guided), but not according to another more general set

W h e n considering the potential dilemmas

of principles derived from a particular moral

involving the use o f deceptive research prac-

reasoning approach.

tices, it is important to recognize that the

Choices for conduct in each research situ-

effects o f deception may be positive (i.e., ben-

ation are related to the decision maker's

eficial to recipients) or negative (i.e., harmful

values, and these values must be weighed

to recipients), short or long term, and imme-

carefully when important decisions are to

diate or delayed. For example, a research

is apparent in

participant may be initially unaffected by the

made. An ethical


research situations in which two or more

awareness o f having been duped into believing

desirable values present themselves in a seem-

that a fictitious organization had sponsored

ingly mutually exclusive way, with the values

the study but may experience a short-term loss

suggesting different courses o f action that

of self-esteem when later reading a magazine

cannot be maximized simultaneously. M a n y

article about h o w easily people are deceived

ethical issues that arise in social psychology

by researchers. In this case, the deception

research result from conflicting sets o f values

effects are negative, delayed, and short term.

involving the goals, processes, or outcomes o f

Although deception is most readily thought o f

an investigation.

as a practice that is employed during the data

Deception often lies at the core o f ethical

collection stage, in fact it may be used at each

dilemmas for social psychology researchers,

stage o f the research process (see Table 3 . 1 ) .

w h o must weigh the scientific requirements o f

Specific issues linked to the use o f deception

validity (i.e., in obtaining an objective and

are considered in detail below.

Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Table 3.1 Subject


Use of Deception at Various Stages of the Research Process Recruitment


Identity of researcher and/ or sponsor



Misrepresentation of purpose

Purpose of research

False information about procedures, measures, etc.

Participation incentives

Withholding information

Involving people in research without their knowledge

Concealed observation

Violation of promise of anonymity Breach of confidentiality Misrepresenting implications of research results False feedback during debriefing session

SOURCE: Adapted from Kimmel and Smith (2001).

about research procedures and instructions,


false feedback given to the participant, and misleading information about the timing or setting o f the investigation (e.g., when the

W e next turn our attention to some o f the

study actually begins and ends or related stud-

ethical considerations that emerge in the use

ies presented as unrelated).

of specific methodological approaches com-






monly employed in the investigation o f social

deception in laboratory settings is that if

behavior. T h e degree o f control over a study's

researchers conformed to the letter o f the law

circumstances and the characteristics o f one's


role obligations are two o f the more important

deceive participants at all, then many investi-

factors likely to engender a variety of unique

gations either would be impossible to conduct

ethical dilemmas in laboratory, field,



consent and



or would result in biased findings. Consistent

applied settings. I have recognized some o f

with this point, it has been shown

these varying dilemmas at first hand in the

informing participants o f the true purpose


o f my research




and procedures o f a study can exacerbate the

rumors, as described in the following sections.

problem o f research artifacts, distorting participant responses and severely jeopardizing the tenability o f inferred causal relationships

Laboratory Research Issues

(see Broder, 1 9 9 8 ) . O n e can readily imagine

Issues related to deception have dominated

h o w a completely informed consent obtained

ethical concerns linked to social psychological

during investigations into social psychologi-

research conducted in laboratory settings. T h e

cal phenomena such as altruism and prejudice

controlled conditions o f the laboratory offer

could cause participants to behave differently

the experimenter

in order to present a more socially acceptable

a ready



actively mislead participants about the true

(as opposed to a natural or typical) image to

nature o f the situation and purpose o f the

the researcher. In this way, informed consent

investigation. Other active deceptions

in labo-






the use o f

variable—studies conducted with or without

research "confederates" w h o act out predeter-

it may come up with vastly different results

mined roles, untrue statements about


(Resnick & Schwartz, 1 9 7 3 ) . Thus, for some


intended investigations, the decision to be


settings have included

researcher's identity, incorrect

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH made is not whether to use deception, but

risks were far outweighed by the importance of

whether the research is necessary. T h e decision

the subject matter and potential gain in knowl-

not to do a study because it would require

edge about helping behavior during emergen-

deception is perhaps as morally problematic

cies. Deceiving participants about the


as the decision to do a study involving decep-

nature of the project may have been the only

tion when one considers the potential loss o f

feasible way to collect data to test the causal


hypotheses under study.




Rosenthal & R o s n o w , 1 9 8 4 ) .

By contrast, I have chosen to eschew the

In addition to eliciting more spontaneous behavior from participants


laboratory setting in my own research on the


factors that give rise to marketplace rumors

might be the case, deception can increase the

and the efficacy of strategies to offset their

researcher's degree of methodological control

effects. Although the rumor process has effec-

over the experimental situation. These advan-

tively been investigated in some ingenious lab-

tages were evident in some of the classic stud-

oratory experiments (e.g., Kamins, Folkes, &c

ies of helping behavior carried out by Latane

Perner, 1 9 9 7 ; Tybout, Calder, & Sternthal,

and Darley ( 1 9 7 0 ) in order to

1 9 8 1 ) , I chose to study the circumstances


whether the number o f bystanders


surrounding naturally occurring rumors using


non-experimental field approaches (such as in-

likelihood of intervention by any one bystander.

depth consumer interviews and mail surveys


involving brand managers). In so doing, I was

during an emergency would the






expected an emergency to occur repeatedly in

willing to sacrifice a large degree o f method-

a natural setting under precisely the same cir-

ological control that the laboratory setting

cumstances with a different number o f onlook-

would have provided. Moreover, I did not

ers present during each occurrence. Instead, it

want to exacerbate the rumor problem by cre-

was more feasible for them to conduct their

ating false information in the laboratory and

studies in the laboratory, where the number of

running the risk that (even debriefed) partici-

bystanders present could be systematically

pants might spread it to others once their

manipulated in a series o f carefully contrived

involvement in the study had ended.

"emergencies" (such as an apparent fire in an adjoining room or an epileptic seizure experi-

Criticisms o f deception have been directed t o the very core o f the


enced by a research confederate). By creating

assumptions upon which the use of the proce-

such fictional environments in the laboratory,

dure depends: (a) that the level of naivete

investigators can manipulate and control the

among research participants is high, (b) that

variables of interest with much greater facility

the procedure does not produce cues that sug-

than if deception is not used.

gest to participants that deception is taking

One might legitimately question whether

place, and (c) that participant suspiciousness

the extreme deceptions used in the helping

of deception does not alter the experimental

experiments can be justified. In addition to

effect. D o u b t has been raised that deception

moral concerns about misleading research par-

adequately serves its methodological purpose

ticipants, it can be argued that the research

in many research situations, that o f preventing

paradigm exposed participants to psychologi-

participants from discovering the study's true

cal risks, including guilt and a threat to their

purpose or certain aspects o f the procedure

self-esteem for not helping, stress during the

that could influence their natural response to

emergency itself, and embarrassment at being

experimental variables. For example, some

duped by the researchers. However, one might

evidence suggests that Milgram's obedience

defend the procedures by contending that the





Ethical Issues in Social Psychology



because several participants may have seen

t o justify when ethical principles are applied


and are more likely t o encounter problems

the deception

(Orne 8c Holland,

1968; Patten 1977). One difficulty in assessing


the degree to which a deception study pos-


sesses experimental realism has to do with

unlikely to cause harm to participants, they

the "pact o f ignorance" that may develop

still can be morally problematic (N. C . Smith,


Klein, 8c Kimmel, 2 0 0 2 ) . Some o f the possi-








committee mild




(Orne, 1959). Participants may conceal that

ble consequences o f deception for each o f the


parties involved in the research process are






because it would compromise the value o f

summarized in Table 3.2.

their participation, and researchers may make

Another set o f related potential problems

little effort to uncover information that would

particularly salient in laboratory research

invalidate a participant's data and thereby

pertains to the levels o f suspiciousness that

delay completion o f the study. With regard to the potential consequences

participants bring to the research setting, especially for individuals w h o have been deceived

of deception, the degree o f severity o f any neg-

in previous studies, and the effects o f suspi-

ative effects must enter into decisions about

ciousness and deception on subsequent exper-

whether or not to proceed with a study as

imental performance. Some persons come to

planned. "Severe deceptions" are those that

the laboratory setting unaware that deception

create false beliefs about central, important

may take place or else have only a vague

issues related to participants' self-concept or

knowledge that it is a possibility. In such

personal behavior, as when an experimental

cases, suspicions may be aroused by demand

manipulation leads participants to believe they

characteristics (i.e., various

lack self-confidence. " M i l d deceptions" are

hints and cues), such as certain comments in

those that create false beliefs about relatively

the instructions which suggest that something

unimportant issues peripheral to participants'

is going on that is different from the experi-


self-concept, such as misleading them about

menter's description. Others may

the research sponsor or study purpose (Toy,

harbor suspicions as a result o f information


Olson, 8c Wright, 1989). Severe deceptions

obtained elsewhere (such as in the recruitment

can be expected to create negative effect both

appeal or campus scuttlebutt).

during and after actual participation in the

Additionally, there is some evidence that

research (e.g., upset or anxiety linked to a

research participants w h o have been debriefed

reduced self-image), whereas mild deceptions

may communicate the true purpose and other

are unlikely to create negative beliefs and

details o f studies to future

effect until the debriefing session at the end o f

tendency referred to as "leakage" (Diener,

the study (e.g., disappointment that the study

M a t t h e w s , 8c Smith, 1972). Expectations

participants, a

was not really supported by an environmental

about a study could have a counterproductive

protection group).

effect on the results, motivating participants to

The fact that social psychologists are more

behave in ways that do not reflect their natural

likely to employ severe deceptions that are

behaviors or compelling them to behave in

relevant to the fundamental beliefs and values

uncooperative ways in order to undermine the

of research participants than are investigators


in related fields, such as consumer research,

There has not been much research on the

to some extent explains why deception has

extent of suspiciousness or leakage in the

been such a central issue in social psychology.

research setting, and researchers do not rou-

Studies involving severe deceptions are harder

tinely probe levels of participant suspiciousness.


Potential Costs and Benefits of Deception Studies





Increased understanding of science and the research process Feeling of having contributed to science Self-insight (from personal content revealed by deceptive probes)


Capacity to elicit spontaneous behavior from Legal sanctions participants (e.g., if confidentiality breached) Increased degree of methodological control Undermines integrity and Enhanced reputation from successful endeavors commitment to the truth Tarnished image


Facilitates attempts to determine validity of theories, previous research, and assessment instruments


Scientific advancement and progress Increased understanding of behavior Insight into applications toward the betterment of humanity

Inflicted insight Embarrassment Image of science lowered Mistrust of others

Exhausts pool of naive participants Jeopardizes community and industry support for the research enterprise Undermines trust in expert authorities and science Increased suspiciousness (e.g., self-consciousness in public)

SOURCE: Adapted from Kimmel and Smith (2001).







problem o f suspiciousness is its potential for

participants identified as suspicious in social

influencing research performance. Research

psychology laboratory studies have ranged

results on the effects of participant distrust are

from only 1 . 8 % to 3 % (Adair e t a l . , 1 9 8 5 ;

somewhat inconsistent (e.g., Epstein, Suedfeld,

Kimmel, 2 0 0 1 ) . These results may be some-


what suspect given that participants cannot be

Jackson, 1 9 6 7 ) and have led some behavioral

counted on to be totally forthcoming

Silverstein, 1 9 7 3 ; Strieker, Messick, &


scientists to conclude that in general there are

revealing their suspicions or knowledge about

no major differences between the data of

research procedures and hypotheses. Along

suspicious and reportedly naive participants

these lines, Taylor and Shepperd ( 1 9 9 6 ) have

(Kimmel, 1 9 9 6 ; Schuler, 1 9 8 2 ) . The effects o f


the following suggestions: (a) the

suspicion on behavior in an experiment is

simple admonishment t o participants not to

likely to be mediated by several factors, includ-

discuss the details o f an experiment among

ing the participant's perceptions of the situa-

themselves is inadequate, (b) the experimenter

tion, motivations for acting on the suspicions,

should not leave participants

and the possibility that suspicion can operate


during a deceptive experiment in situations

differentially across different conditions of a

where information about the study could be

study (Rosnow & Aiken, 1 9 7 3 ) .

discussed, and (c) investigators should more

A final set o f considerations pertaining to

carefully evaluate the procedures they use to

the use o f deception has to do with societal

assess perceptions o f the study and levels o f

attitudes regarding its use, participant reac-

participant suspiciousness.

tions to having

Perhaps the issue that has raised the greatest concern among

researchers regarding


been deceived and, in a

broader sense, the impact o f deception on perceptions o f the discipline and science in


Issues in Social Psychology



general. Surveys intended to assess reactions

Miller (Chapter 5 ) in this b o o k , including

to deception have shown that individuals in

archival and cross-cultural research. Field research offers investigators a ready

the general population do not have serious objections






alternative to ameliorate some o f the ethical

research purposes (Collins, Kuhn, & King,

issues that arise in the laboratory context.

1 9 7 9 ; Sullivan & Deiker, 1 9 7 3 ) and that

M a n y social psychological research problems

attitudes toward behavioral science research


have not been negatively affected by the

necessitating the deception or manipulation of

continued use o f deception by psychologists

participants. For example, I was able to gather

(Sharpe, Adair, & Roese, 1 9 9 2 ) .

be studied in everyday reality without


a wealth o f information about the ways com-

studies have revealed that individuals w h o

panies treat rumors about their consumer

have participated in deception experiments

offerings by having brand managers respond

versus nondeception experiments

to a mail questionnaire in the very settings


that they did not mind being deceived and


viewed the deception research as

encountered (Kimmel & Audrain, 2 0 0 2 ) .


greater educational benefit (e.g., Christensen,

the rumors




Unlike the approach used in my rumor

1 9 8 8 ; C. P. Smith, 1 9 8 1 ) . Overall, it appears

research, in which managers could choose

that researchers and regulators tend to be

whether or not to respond to a questionnaire,

more severe critics o f deception than are

in some field investigations participants are

current or potential research participants.

unaware that they are being observed or

Evidence suggests that deception rates in

otherwise taking part in a research study. For

social psychology have declined in recent

example, early investigators obtained samples

years as researchers respond to ethical guide-

of ongoing conversation among unsuspecting

lines, review mechanisms, and social pres-

people in such natural settings as railroad

sure. Concurrently, social psychologists have

stations, college campuses, restaurants, and

become more inclined to utilize alternative

streets in residential and commercial areas

circumvent some o f the

(e.g., Landis & Burtt, 1 9 2 4 ; M o o r e , 1 9 2 2 ) .

ethical issues, such as nondeceptive field

One obvious difference between naturalistic

research (Kimmel, 2 0 0 1 ; N i c k s , K o r n ,

field investigations and laboratory research is




that it is evident to participants in the latter

Mainieri, 1 9 9 7 ; Vitelli, 1 9 8 8 ) .

that they are participating in a research study; in fact, the very act o f entering a psychology

Field Research Issues

laboratory implies a certain degree o f tacit

A substantial amount o f behavioral science

consent to undergo scientific procedures and

research is conducted "in the field"—that is,

experiences that may involve something more

outside the artificial setting o f the laboratory.

than what is readily apparent.

Although laboratory research continues to be

Although many ethical issues emerge in non-

the preferred choice for a majority o f social

laboratory settings, two major areas of concern



stand out. The first has to do with the privacy

potential value o f field research, and there is

rights o f participants. Because the inherent

evidence that its use in social psychology has

nature of much field research is to elude the





increased over recent


(Adair et al., 1 9 8 5 ; Kimmel, 2 0 0 1 ) .

awareness of those w h o are observed, the


possibility that participants' privacy will be

includes a rise in use o f some o f the develop-

invaded must be fully considered. The second

ing research approaches that serve as the

area o f concern involves the informed consent

focus o f the chapters by King (Chapter 8) and

of participants. As in laboratory


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH informed consent can be problematic in the

their own homes). A second dimension is the

field because much research simply could not

publicness o f the person—public personalities

be carried out with the full awareness o f

regularly are subject to observations

research participants.

reporting that would be considered invasions


of privacy by less public individuals. Third, the degree of anonymity provided must be consid-


ered. Privacy clearly is maintained when the

T h e circumstances characterizing participa-

linkage between the individual and the infor-

tion in field research are such that the individ-

mation obtained for research has been com-

ual's determination


pletely severed; conversely, the risk of privacy

participate frequently is violated. This occurs

invasion is high when information can be

when people are not informed o f their role as

linked to identifiable persons. The aforemen-

research participants and are unaware that a

tioned conversation studies can be justified on

study is in progress. A social contract has not

ethical grounds by the public and anonymous

o f whether

or not


nature o f the observations, as well as by the

informed consent cannot be given, and indi-

fact that the risks posed (in this case, having

viduals cannot choose to refuse to participate

information o f a private nature revealed to

or leave once the study is in progress. In many

others) were no greater than those encountered

cases, it will not be possible to debrief partici-

in daily experience.





pants or inform them o f the results once the

A final factor in privacy considerations

study has been completed. (These points also

is the nature o f the information disclosed

are relevant to the use o f archival data for

during a study. Certain information (e.g.,

research purposes.) Under such circumstances,

income level, alcohol and drug use, birth

if researchers obtain or reveal (wittingly or

control practices) can be expected to raise



privacy issues. Ethical judgments must take

motivations, or behavior that a participant



into account the possibility that disclosed

would prefer not to have revealed, the latter's


basic right to privacy will have been breached

associated with individual participants, may

(see Allen, 1 9 9 7 , for an example from field

be perceived as an invasion o f privacy.

particularly when

it can


research on special cultures). At least four dimensions underlie the placement of different research situations on an



invasion o f privacy continuum, a continuum

It is difficult to consider the ethical issues

that ranges from situations in which privacy

pertaining to privacy fully without taking into

could not be said to be violated (e.g., observa-

account the principle of informed consent. Even

tions of the public behavior of public figures)

the most private settings can be studied without

to situations in which privacy could be said

raising ethical concerns if the people within

to be violated (e.g., nonpublic figures who pre-

those settings freely consent to observation

sumably are unaware of the possibility they are

once sufficiently informed. However,

being observed) (Webb, Campbell, Schwartz,

field research involves situations in which

Sechrest, & Grove, 1 9 8 1 ) . First, there is the

informed consent either is not feasible or is

element o f publicness in the location o f behav-

detrimental to the interests of the research. O n


ior under study. People can lay less claim to pri-

the other hand, informed consent will be irrele-

vacy protections for behavior that takes place in

vant for many research activities that involve

public settings (shopping malls, airports, etc.) as

observations of ongoing public behavior or the

opposed to behavior in private settings (such as

analysis of public records and archives.

Ethical Issues in Social Psychology



Field investigations are less likely to involve

adequacy o f informed consent and debriefing

the direct presentation o f mistruths to partici-

procedures, and the potential loss of participant

pants than

anonymity or confidentiality.

are laboratory studies. Unlike

active deceptions, where false information is provided to the participant, passive


involve truths that are left unspoken


The absence of an investigator to a certain extent reduces the potential for coercion and thus represents an ethical benefit o f Internet-

withholding key information about the study).

based research. However, it also means that

W h e n I obtained the consent o f consumers for

the researcher likely will be unable to respond

an interview study on rumors related to elec-

to participant concerns or adverse reactions

tricity that I was conducting for the French

once the study is under way. Moreover, should

national electric company (EDF), I chose to

the participant choose to withdraw early from

inform participants that the study pertained to

a study, this will undermine the possibility that

their usage behavior and concerns related

an adequate debriefing can be carried out.

t o electricity (which, in part, it did), but not

Thus, special care should be taken to ensure

that we specifically were interested in rumors.

that the informed consent process is thorough

This was to see if participants would sponta-

and includes clear instructions that will enable

neously mention rumors on their own prior to

debriefing for those persons w h o leave the

our asking direct rumor-related questions. In

study early (see Nosek et al., 2 0 0 2 , for more

our judgment, the use o f passive deception

specific recommendations). Researchers also

during the recruitment stage was justified

should take all steps necessary to protect

because it did not pose any identifiable risks

against the possibilities that data may be inter-

and we presumed that the decision to partici-

cepted by a third party or accessed once stored

pate would not have been different had par-

in files on an Internet-connected server (see

ticipants known that the study focused on

Sharf, 1 9 9 9 ) .

rumors. It would have been more difficult to justify withholding




study sponsor, as many o f our French participants may have been upset at having learned after the fact that the research was sponsored by the national utility company.

Applied Research Issues Applied research is oriented toward the acquisition o f information that will prove relevant to some practical problem, defined as such from the perspective o f the researcher, society, or a specific group (such as a govern-




and the

ment agency, community association, or busiInternet

ness organization) (see Part V o f this volume).

As an increasing number o f social psychol-

T h e goals o f applied research are oriented

ogists begin to exploit the potential o f the

toward modifying or improving the present

Internet and other emerging technologies for

situation, as would be the case for a study

research purposes, it is likely that new ethical

intended to develop an effective advertising

dilemmas will emerge and some familiar ones

campaign for the use o f condoms in an

will be recast in a different light (see Birnbaum,

attempt to control the spread o f AIDS. M a n y

Chapter 1 6 , this volume). In their analysis of

social psychologists are employed as applied

issues pertaining to Internet-based research,

researchers in industrial

Nosek, Banaji, and Greenwald ( 2 0 0 2 ) identi-

research firms, advertising agencies, treat-

fied three key differences between Internet and

ment facilities, and government agencies to


evaluate the effectiveness o f current policies

laboratory research: the physical

absence o f a researcher, the



and programs, or to design new ones.



T o illustrate, we can consider h o w ethical

the context o f applied research are those

dilemmas might have arisen during the con-

involving the misuse o f new scientific knowl-

duct o f my rumor study for E D F . O n e o f the

edge or the improper


company's overriding interests in electricity-

widely accepted procedures and principles.

related rumors was to identify the kinds o f


T h e inappropriate utilization o f research find-

beliefs and fears prevalent among the French

ings outside clearly stated limiting conditions

consuming public relative to electromagnetic

can have serious and quences, and

far-reaching conse-

such utilization raises some






power plants. W h e n company representatives


explained to me prior to data collection that

researchers consult with and report their data

their goal was to better inform consumers and

to organizations, human service and commu-

reduce anxieties linked to distorted

nity agencies, legal and educational officials,

about E M F s , I recognized that the company's






and the like. Granted, these considerations

expectations were consistent with my own.

also are relevant within the realm o f more the-

T h e project enabled me to gain further insight

oretical (or so-called "basic") research, despite

into the social-psychological dynamics under-

the often-expressed position that non-applied

lying the emergence and spread o f rumors in

research is value free and morally neutral (see

the context o f an ongoing problem situation,

Kimmel, 1 9 8 8 ) . Ethical dilemmas pertaining

while the company searched for more effective

to the use o f research findings are more likely

means o f communicating with its customers.

to emerge, however, when the research is

W e shared mutual interests in ultimately being

conducted in collaboration with others whose

able to reduce public misconceptions and the

goals, interests, and values may be at odds

spread o f fear-inducing rumors.

with those of the researcher or, more gener-

By contrast, imagine how opposing interests

ally, those o f the scientific discipline (Mirvis &

or role conflicts could have led to ethical dilem-

Seashore, 1 9 8 2 ) .

mas in this case. If I had suspicions that the

Researchers must fulfill the obligation to treat research participants fairly; in addition,

company intended to use the results o f the research to scare homeowners



they should attempt to fulfill the expectations

areas where the company planned to erect new

of the client or research user. T h e investiga-

power stations or to foment the spread of

tor also has a responsibility to protect the

rumors so as to increase the purchase of elec-

well-being o f the public when the results are

trical safely devices, I would not have been able

put into action. Ethical conflicts may arise as

to continue my involvement with the research

the researcher recognizes that certain duties

project. T h e company's goals would have con-

and responsibilities toward one group are

flicted with my own moral values and with the

inconsistent with those toward some other

ethical standards o f my profession, which clar-

group or with one's own values. For example,

ify that research findings should not be applied

it may be that the only way t o obtain reliable

to the detriment o f individuals or groups.

data that will satisfy certain obligations to a

Ethical dilemmas involving conflicting role

client is by deceiving respondents about the

expectations should be anticipated prior to

true nature o f a study. It thus becomes one's

carrying out an investigation, especially when

responsibility as a researcher to clarify and

entering a relationship with a client whose

openly communicate from the outset one's

priorities may subsequently change. As an

own role in the situation and t o establish

alternative to forgoing involvement with a

limits in terms o f assisting the organization in

troublesome study altogether, a determination

meeting its anticipated goals.

should be made as to whether a more ethical


Issues in Social Psychology



research approach for obtaining the desired

APA, 2 0 0 2 ) . Ethical decision making involves

information or outcomes is available. With

balancing a set o f considerations as to how

regard to the potential misuse of scientific

best to contribute to science and human wel-

knowledge, it is important to consider such a

fare. Important aspects of this decision-making

possibility as one weighs potential costs and

process are the recognition that most research

anticipated benefits prior to conducting the

questions in science can be pursued in more

research. T o be sure, scientists should not be


considered responsible for a misreading or mis-

researcher is one who selects the methodologi-

interpretation of their work as long as special

cal approach that is most likely to satisfy







care has been taken, when publicizing the

research goals while minimizing potentially

research, to state boundary conditions perti-

negative consequences.

nent to the usefulness o f the research in applied contexts.

Debriefing and Other Safeguards Ethical guidelines typically necessitate that


all deceived participants


within a reasonable period following their

be fully


involvement in a study. This requirement is Whereas formal review and external monitor-

often cited as an important safeguard against

ing originally were limited mostly to large,

some of the potential risks inherent in the use


of deception. T h e debriefing session can serve

research projects, nowadays


human participant studies are subjected to

a variety o f functions, foremost o f which are to

some kind o f external review process. In fact,

provide researchers with a means o f assessing

the proliferation and increased role o f ethics

whether participants were adversely affected

committees, professional standards, legalities,

by the research procedures and to serve as an

and other external restrictions have already

opportunity to eliminate any harm or lasting

subjected psychologists to a higher level o f

false impressions about the study. It is during

professional ethical accountability than is

the debriefing period that psychologists should

found in many other professions (including

refer a participant to an appropriately trained

law, politics, and marketing), where

provider if something problematic (such as


passive and active forms o f deception are

severe depression) has been revealed about

commonplace (Rosnow, 1 9 9 7 ) . Over time,

that person during the study. Moreover, in

participation in research has become much

special cases in which confidentiality must be

safer than many o f the everyday activities in

breached (e.g., studies in which it is learned

which people engage (Diener, 2 0 0 1 ) .

that certain individuals are suicidal or intend to

Although there are a number o f safeguards

harm others), participants can be reminded

in place for preventing most of the serious

about any limitations to confidentiality that

breaches o f ethics that might occur in social

were agreed upon during the consent proce-

psychology research, the first line o f defense for

dure, if feasible (see Behnke & Kinscherff,

the protection o f the various interests involved

2 0 0 2 , for additional recommendations).

in and affected by the research process consists

The effectiveness o f debriefing in success-

of researchers themselves. This point has been

fully correcting a participant's misconceptions

emphasized in most ethics codes, which point

resulting from deception is questionable, par-

out that

ticularly in cases where the debriefing proce-

researchers have a


responsibility to evaluate carefully and thor-

dure involves only a cursory attempt by the

oughly the ethics o f their investigations (e.g.,

researcher to inform participants that they



FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH were deceived. Effective debriefing may require

Lepper, & Hubbard, 1 9 7 5 ) . It is for these

both "dehoaxing" (i.e., convincing deceived

reasons that some researchers have recom-

participants that the information they had


been given was in fact fraudulent and relieving

focusing on the psychological processes that

a process approach to


any anxiety resulting from that information)

underlie the effects o f deception and debrief-

and "desensitizing" (i.e., helping deceived par-

ing and structuring postexperimental proce-

ticipants to deal with new information about

dures accordingly (see Aronson & Carlsmith,

themselves acquired as a consequence o f their

1 9 6 8 ; Mills, 1 9 7 6 ; and T o y , Wright, e t a l . ,

behavior during the study). It is possible that

2 0 0 1 , for specific suggestions for designing

the realization that one has been deceived

thorough process-oriented debriefings).

could result in a loss o f self-esteem and embar-

Given these points, it is clear that an effec-

rassment, in addition to creating a negative

tive debriefing interview should be treated

attitude toward the researcher or science (e.g.,

seriously as an

Baumrind, 1 9 8 5 ) . In this light, it is important

research process. T h e researcher should bear

to recognize that


in mind its functions as an educational tool as

although designed to resolve ethical problems

well as a method for identifying and amelio-



the debriefing

essential element o f the

a methodological check

research methods, paradoxically can









researcher should explain the procedures and

unintended adverse effects on research partic-

reasons for them in language that is under-

ipants (Toy, Wright, & Olson, 2 0 0 1 ) . In some

standable to participants (this may require

cases, for example, it may be appropriate to

pilot testing), including a discussion o f the


importance o f the study and its relevance to

certain information



debriefing (e.g., about individual differences)

understanding social behavior. W h e n decep-

when it is judged that awareness could cause

tion is revealed, the researcher should sensi-

more harm than good to participants.

tively explain that the procedure was selected

Unless debriefing is carried out with "care,

as a last resort, apologize for having used it,

effort, and vigilance" (Holmes, 1 9 7 6 , p. 8 6 7 ) ,

and fully explain h o w the deception was car-

there is the possibility that persons already

ried out, perhaps by displaying and explaining

deceived once may question the validity o f the

specific research materials. During the entire

information provided during the debriefing.

process, one needs to carefully monitor and

This is one reason that deceptive debriefings




to the



are especially ill-advised. T h e so-called "perse-


verance process," whereby perceptions and

encouraging honest feedback about the study.



beliefs created during a study continue long

As previously discussed with respect to

after they have been discredited, also may cast

research using the Internet, debriefing tends to

doubt on the effectiveness o f debriefings in

be more difficult to carry out in nonlaboratory

undoing the effects o f deceptive manipula-

settings, especially in cases where participants

tions. It has been shown that self-relevant and

initially are unaware that they have been stud-

nonself-relevant perceptions (e.g., created by

ied for research purposes, are no longer acces-

deceptive feedback following


sible to the researcher, or are unwilling to pay

tasks) may become cognitively detached from

attention t o the debriefing. In certain situa-

the evidence that created them; as a result,

tions, such as the naturalistic studies o f

even after the basis for the perceptions is dis-

conversations described above,

confirmed (via a debriefing), individuals may

participants once the observations have been

tend to cling to the original beliefs (Ross,

made could do more harm than good. There



Issues in Social Psychology



is not much a researcher can do if a participant

system o f external review for overseeing the

indicates displeasure at having been secretly

ethicality o f research. T h e review process con-

observed, given that the observation already

sists o f a set of mechanisms, including I R B

has been carried out. Moreover, the debriefing

evaluations o f research proposals near the

could serve to raise levels o f discomfort or

beginning o f a study and continuing through

paranoia in other public settings and could

journal editor scrutiny of the procedures in

have a negative impact on the image o f scientists

research reports submitted for publication.

in general.


Another somewhat more uncertain remedy for some o f the potential adverse effects o f deception is forewarning,

whereby researchers

ethical review o f proposals now is

required at nearly all American and Canadian research institutions

before researchers are

given a green light to proceed with planned

take steps to brief participants about the study

investigations. (External review o f human

at the outset, informing them that certain


information may have to be withheld until the

North America; see Kimmel, 1 9 9 6 ) . Certain

research varies greatly


end o f the investigation and that they are free

additional hurdles may have to be cleared

to withdraw at any time. T h e researcher then

prior to reaching the review board stage (e.g.,

can carry out the study only with those indi-

departmental approval in academic and orga-

viduals who are willing to continue. As a form

nizational settings; parental consent; school,

of limited consent, forewarning may be seen

hospital, or prison

as ethically preferable to not obtaining con-

further review may occur at various intervals

sent at all because individuals essentially agree

once data collection has begun.




to be deceived and the researcher will not

T o ensure the protection and welfare o f

have directly misled them (Diener & Crandall,

participants, review boards typically attempt

1 9 7 8 ) . However, some participants may be

to ascertain that the anticipated benefits o f an

sensitized by the forewarning to engage in

investigation are greater than any risks posed

problem-solving behavior aimed at identifying

and that informed consent procedures are ade-

the nature o f the deception (Geller, 1 9 8 2 ) . In addition to forewarning, other alterna-

quate. Whereas at one time this formal review process emphasized the protection o f partici-

tive procedures to deception in the laboratory

pants from "extraordinary risks," the identifi-

setting have been proposed, such as role play-

cation o f even everyday risk n o w is obligatory

ing and simulations (see Greenberg, 1 9 6 7 , and

for all proposals. During such a review, the

Geller, 1 9 8 2 , for a discussion o f these proce-

investigator is required to present

dures). In general, these procedures appear to

information about all aspects o f a proposed

have only limited potential and are unlikely to

study, including specifics about the character-

supersede the use o f deception in the foresee-

istics o f participants,

able future.

research materials, the nature o f any decep-


the procedure


tions, confidentiality, risks, and method o f

Institutional Review Beyond the decision-making responsibilities

debriefing. Over the years, membership requirements and review criteria for IRBs have undergone

of the individual researcher, whose objectivity


may come into question as a result o f a vested

Hansen, 2 0 0 1 ) . The initial U.S. federal regula-

interest in conducting a study guided more by

tions requiring I R B review stipulated that an



&c C o o k e , 1 9 8 0 ;

methodological and theoretical concerns than

I R B was to consist o f at least five members with

ethical ones, there now exists an extensive

varying backgrounds and fields of expertise, at


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH least one member who was not affiliated with

whether the scientific aspects of investigations

the institution, and representation from each

ought to be taken into account by IRBs, espe-

gender (Department of Health, Education, and

cially by members w h o lack scientific expertise

Welfare, 1 9 7 5 ) . The composition of review

(e.g., C o l o m b o , 1 9 9 5 ; Diener, 2 0 0 1 ) .

boards n o w has broadened so that a majority

Evidence regarding

the effectiveness o f

of the participants may not be researchers,


but rather members o f the clergy, lawyers,

research participants

medical professionals, and the like w h o have

impact o f such committees on research is


committees from



risk and


minimal familiarity with the methodological

somewhat mixed. Mueller and Furedy ( 2 0 0 1 )

intricacies o f the research process and per-

have pointed out some o f the


haps little appreciation o f the potential merits

inherent in attempts to assess review board

of scientific research. T h e efficiency and fair-

performance, including the probability that

ness o f an I R B no doubt can be maximized


when it consists o f a diversity o f members

review process entirely; the built-in inade-

whose expertise is commensurate with the

quacies o f considering number o f incidents

researchers will bypass


types of research that the committee typically

(e.g., participant complaints) over time as an

reviews. Diversity is essential in light o f evi-

indicator o f effectiveness; and the misconcep-

dence suggesting that differences in individual

tion that "a problem found" with a research

background characteristics (such as gender,

proposal equates with "an incident avoided."


Further, a growing body o f evidence suggests

moral philosophy) lead to predictable biases

age, professional experience, culture,

that there may be important deficiencies in


the performance o f some I R B s (Ceci, Peters,





Schlenker & Forsyth, 1 9 7 7 ) .

& Plotkin, 1 9 8 5 ; M o r d o c k , 1 9 9 5 ; Prentice & Antonson, 1 9 8 7 ; Shea, 2 0 0 0 ) ,


in terms o f inconsistencies in the application

Impact and Effectiveness of the Review Process T h e expanded influence o f external review






recommendations. Several





has brought with it a growing concern that

review process have been offered. For example,

review boards are overstepping their intended

to sensitize I R B members to the costs and ben-

role in an overzealous effort to force behav-

efits o f doing and not doing research, a case-

ioral and social research into a biomedical

b o o k of actual research protocols that have

mold, thereby making it increasingly difficult

received extensive review and analysis by both

for many researchers to proceed with their

investigators and participants can be provided

studies. Considerations that are not specifi-

(Rosnow, Rotheram-Borus, Ceci, Blanck, &

cally related to the rights and welfare o f

Koocher, 1 9 9 3 ) . For unique research cases, an

research participants, such as the study design

advisory board could be created within a disci-

and methodology, now are routinely included

pline's professional association, and that board

in evaluations of research proposals. Because a

would be charged with analyzing and review-

poorly designed study can have serious ramifi-

ing an I R B decision when

cations and costs, one might argue that the

emerge. Another approach to improving the

technical elements of a proposed investigation

review process is to take steps to minimize

in fact should be included as a dimension o f

problems o f communication

ethical review (Rosenthal, 1 9 9 4 ) . Nonetheless,

members and investigators and to encourage

there remains widespread disagreement over

regular communication between IRBs (see


between I R B

Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Hansen [ 2 0 0 1 ] and Tanke and Tanke [ 1 9 8 2 ] for further discussion). Among other recommendations for temper-



ing review panel evaluations o f research, especially research posing minimal risk (e.g.,

It is understandable that many social psychol-

Ilgen & Bell, 2 0 0 1 ) , Diener ( 2 0 0 1 ) has pro-

ogists react with trepidation when confronted

posed that (a) exemptions should be granted

with the maze o f apparently


with greater frequency for research without

rules and regulations that have evolved over

true risk o f harm; (b) prototypes o f certain

the years to respond to research issues. As

types o f research protocols can be given

described by R o s n o w ( 1 9 9 7 ) , "even experi-

approval, with subsequent research


enced researchers often find themselves caught

these prototypes granted expedited review;

between the Scylla o f methodological and the-

(c) review boards should recognize their obli-

oretical requirements and the Charybdis o f

gation to foster potentially beneficial research,


in addition to protecting research participants;

(p. 3 4 5 ) . Nonetheless, these developments are

and (d) compensation assistance should be

typical o f ethical progress and are essential for

provided to researchers to offset the costs

providing a c o m m o n set o f values by which





accrued as a result o f lengthy and unreasonable

scientific discovery can proceed. Moreover,

delays and demands (e.g., help in completing

whenever ethical sensitivities have been raised



as a result o f an increased attention to moral

approved). (See Azar [ 2 0 0 2 ] for an overview o f

issues within society or because o f unfortunate

several ongoing projects oriented toward the

research abuses, many positive changes within





rewriting o f current I R B regulations, education

the scientific disciplines have followed, includ-

of researchers and review board members, and

ing innovative procedures that conform to

standardization o f the system.)

both scientific and ethical standards.

REFERENCES Adair, J . G., Dushenko, T. W., 8c Lindsay, R. C. L. (1985). Ethical regulations and their impact on research practice. American Psychologist, 40, 59-72. Allen, C. (1997). Spies like us: When sociologists deceive their subjects. Lingua Franca, 7, 30-39. American Association for Public Opinion Research. (2002). Code of professional ethics and practices. Retrieved February 15, 2 0 0 3 , from American Psychological Association. (1982). Ethical principles in the conduct of research with human participants (Rev. ed.). Washington, DC: Author. American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct 2 0 0 2 . Retrieved February 17, 2 0 0 3 , from code2002.html American Psychological Association, Ad Hoc Committee on Ethical Standards in Psychological Research. (1973). Ethical principles in the conduct of research with human participants. Washington, DC: Author. Aronson, E., 8c Carlsmith, J . (1968). Experimentation in social psychology. In G. Lindzey 8c E. Aronson (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 1-79). Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Australian Psychological Society. (1986). Code of professional conduct. Parkville, Victoria, Australia: Author. Azar, B. (2002). Ethics at the cost of research? Monitor on Psychology, 33, 38-40. Baumrind, D. (1964). Some thoughts on ethics of research: After reading Milgram's "Behavioral study of obedience." American Psychologist, 19, 4 2 1 - 4 2 3 . Baumrind, D. (1985). Research using intentional deception: Ethical issues revisited. American Psychologist, 40, 165-174. Bearden, W. O., Madden, C. S., & Uscategui, K. (1998). The pool is drying up. Marketing Research, 10, 26-33. Behnke, S. H., & Kinscherff, R. (2002). Must a psychologist report past child abuse? Monitor on Psychology, 33, 56-57. Berenbeim, R. E. (1992). Corporate ethics practices. New York: The Conference Board. Berkun, M., Bialek, H. M., Kern, P. R., & Yagi, K. (1962). Experimental studies of psychological stress in man. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 76, 1-39. British Psychological Society. (1995). Code of conduct, ethical principles and guide­ lines. Leicester, UK: Author. Broder, A. (1998). Deception can be acceptable. American Psychologist, 53, 85-86. Campbell, D., Sanderson, R. E., & Laverty, S. G. (1964). Characteristics of a conditioned response in human subjects during extinction trials following a of Abnormal and Social single traumatic conditioning trial. Journal Psychology, 68, 627-639. Canadian Psychological Association. (1991). Canadian code of ethics for psycholo­ gists (Rev. ed.). Old Chelsea, Quebec: Author. Ceci, S. J . , Peters, D., & Plotkin, J . (1985). Human subjects review, personal values, Psychologist, 40, and the regulation of social science research. American 994-1002. Chonko, L. B. (1995). Ethical decision-making in marketing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Christensen, L. (1988). Deception in psychological research: When is its use justified? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 14, 6 6 4 - 6 7 5 . Colegio Oficial de Psicologos. ( 1 9 9 3 ) . Codigo deontologico del psicologo [Deontological code of the psychologist]. Madrid: Author. Collins, F. L., J r . , Kuhn, I. F., J r . , & King, G. D. (1979). Variables affecting subjects' ethical ratings of proposed experiments. Psychological Reports, 44, 155-164. Colombo, J . (1995). Cost, utility, and judgments of institutional review boards. Psychological Science, 6, 318-319. Council for Marketing and Opinion Research. (1999). Respondent bill of rights. Retrieved February 15, 2 0 0 3 , from Council of American Survey Research Organizations. (1995). Code of standards for survey research. Port Jefferson, N Y : Author. Department of Health and Human Services. (1981, January 2 6 ) . Final regulations amending basic HHS policy for the protection of human research subjects (45 CFR, Pt. 4 6 ) . Federal Register, 46(16), 8 3 6 6 - 8 3 9 1 . Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. (1975, March 13). Protection of human subjects: Technical amendments (45 CFR, Pt. 4 6 ) . Federal Register, 40, 11854-11858. Diamond, S. S., & Morton, D. R. (1978). Empirical landmarks in social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 2 1 7 - 2 2 1 . Diener, E. (2001). Over-concern with research ethics. Dialogue, 16, 2.

Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Diener, E., &c Crandall, R. (1978). Ethics in social and behavioral research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Diener, E., Matthews, R., & Smith, R. (1972). Leakage of experimental information to potential future subjects by debriefed subjects. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, 6, 2 6 4 - 2 6 7 . Epstein, Y . M., Suedfeld, P., & Silverstein, S. J . (1973). The experimental contract: Subjects' expectations of and reactions to some behaviors of experimenters. American Psychologist, 28, 2 1 2 - 2 2 1 . European Federation of Psychology Associations. (1998). Ethical principles for Scandinavian psychologists. Brussels: Author. Lausanne, Federation Suisse des Psychologues. (1991). Code deontologique. Switzerland: Author. Fischman, M . W. (2000). Informed consent. In B. D. Sales & S. Folkman (Eds.), Ethics in research with human participants (pp. 35-48). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Frankena, W. K. (1973). Ethics (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. French Psychological Society. (1976). Code de deontologie. Paris: Author. Geller, D. M . (1982). Alternatives to deception: Why, what, and how? In J . E. Sieber (Ed.), The ethics of social research: Surveys and experiments (pp. 39-55). New York: Springer-Verlag. code of German Association of Professional Psychologists. (1986). Professional ethics for psychologists. Bonn: Author. Gray, B., & Cooke, R. A. (1980). The impact of institutional review boards on research. Hastings Center Report, 10, 3 6 - 4 1 . Greenberg, M . (1967). Role playing: An alternative to deception? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 7, 152-157. Grundner, T. M. (1986). Informed consent: A tutorial. Owings Mills, M D : National Health Publishing. Hansen, C. (2001). Regulatory changes affecting IRBs and researchers. APS Observer, 14(7), 13-14, 2 5 . Haywood, H. C. (1976). The ethics of doing research . . . and of not doing it. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 81, 311-317. Holmes, D. S. (1976). Debriefing after psychological experiments. American Psychologist, 31, 858-867. Horowitz, I. L. (1967). The rise and fall of Project Camelot. Cambridge: M I T Press. Humphrey, L. (1970). Tearoom trade. Chicago, IL: Aldine. Ilgen, D. R., &c Bell, B. S. (2001). Informed consent and dual purpose research. American Psychologist, 56, 1177. International Chamber of Commerce/European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research. (2001). ICC/ESOMAR international code of marketing and social research practice. Retrieved February 14, 2003 from Jones, S. E. (2001). Ethics code draft published for comment. Monitor on Psychology, 32(2), 76. Kamins, M . A., Folkes, V. S., & Perner, L. (1997). Consumer responses to rumors: Good news, bad news. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 6, 165-187. Kelman, H. C. (1967). Human use of human subjects: The problem of deception in social psychological experiments. Psychological Bulletin, 67, 1-11. Kelman, H. C. (1996). Foreword. In A. J . Kimmel, Ethical issues in behavioral research: A survey (pp. xiii-xv). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Kimmel, A. J . (1988). Ethics and values in applied social research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Kimmel, A. J . (1991). Predictable biases in the ethical decision making of American psychologists. American Psychologist, 46, 7 8 6 - 7 8 8 . Kimmel, A. J . (1996). Ethical issues in behavioral research: A survey. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Kimmel, A. J . (2001). Ethical trends in marketing and psychological research. Ethics & Behavior, 11, 131-149. Kimmel, A. J . , & Audrain, A.-F. (2002, August). Rumor control strategies within French consumer goods firms. Paper presented at the 110th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Chicago. Kimmel, A. J . , 8c Smith, N. C. (2001). Deception in marketing research: Ethical, methodological, and disciplinary implications. Psychology & Marketing, 18, 663-689. Korn, J . H. (1988). Students' roles, rights, and responsibilities as research participants. Teaching of Psychology, IS, 74-78. Kuschel, R. (1998). The necessity for code of ethics in research. Psychiatry Today: Journal of the Yugoslav Psychiatric Association, 30, 2 4 7 - 2 7 4 . Landis, M . H., 8c Burtt, H. E. (1924). A study of conversations. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 4, 81-89. Latane, B., 8c Darley, J . M . (1970). The unresponsive bystander: Why doesn't he help? New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. Lindsay, R.C.L., 8c Holden, R. R. (1987). The introductory psychology subject pool in Canada. Canadian Psychology, 28, 45-52. McCord, D. M . (1991). Ethics-sensitive management of the university human subject pool. American Psychologist, 46, 1 5 1 . McNamara, J . R., 8c Woods, K. M . (1977). Ethical considerations in psychological research: A comparative review. Behavior Therapy, 8, 7 0 3 - 7 0 8 . Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 3 7 1 - 3 7 8 . Miller, A. G., Collins, B. E., 8c Brief, D. E. (1995). Perspectives on obedience to authority: The legacy of the Milgram experiments. Journal of Social Issues, 51, 1-19. Mills, J . (1976). A procedure for explaining experiments involving deception. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2, 3-13. Mirvis, P. H., 8c Seashore, S. E. (1982). Creating ethical relationships in organizational research. In J . E. Sieber (Ed.), The ethics of social research: Surveys and experiments (pp. 79-104). New York: Springer-Verlag. Moore, H. T. (1922). Further data concerning sex differences. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 17, 2 1 0 - 2 1 4 . Mordock, J . B. (1995). Institutional review boards in applied settings: Their role in judgments of quality and consumer protection. Psychological Science, 6, 320-321. Mueller, J . H., 8c Furedy, J . J . (2001). Reviewing for risk: What's the evidence that it works? APS Observer, 14(7), 1, 2 6 - 2 8 . National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. (1979). The Belmont report: Ethical principles and guide­ of human subjects of research. Washington, DC: lines for the protection Government Printing Office. National Research Act, Public Law 93-348, Title II—Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (Part A). (1974). Netherlands Institute of Psychologists. (1988). Professional code for psychologists. Amsterdam: Author. Nicks, S. D., Korn, J . H., 8c Mainieri, T. (1997). The rise and fall of deception in social psychology and personality research, 1921 to 1 9 9 4 . Ethics & Behavior, 7, 69-77.

Ethical Issues in Social Psychology Nosek, B. A., Banaji, M . R., 8c Greenwald, A. G. (2002). E-research: Ethics, security, design, and control in psychological research on the Internet. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 161-176. Nuremberg Code. (1949). In Trials of war criminals before the Nuremberg military tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10,2 (pp. 181-182). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Office for Protection From Research Risks, Protection of Human Subjects. ( 1 9 9 1 , June 18). Protection of human subjects: Title 4 5 , Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4 6 (GPO 1 9 9 2 O-307-551). OPRR Reports, pp. 4-17. Orne, M . T. (1959). The nature of hypnosis: Artifact and essence. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 2 7 7 - 2 9 9 . Orne, M . T., 8c Holland, C. H. (1968). On the ecological validity of laboratory deceptions. International Journal of Psychiatry, 6, 2 8 2 - 2 9 3 . Ortmann, A., & Hertwig, R. ( 1 9 9 7 ) . Is deception acceptable? American Psychologist, 52, 746-747. Patten, S. C. (1977). Milgram's shocking experiments. Philosophy, 52, 4 2 5 - 4 4 0 . Prentice, E. D., 8c Antonson, D. L. (1987). A protocol review guide to reduce IRB inconsistency. IRB: A Review of Human Subjects Research, 9, 9 - 1 1 . Psychological Association of Slovenia. (1982). Code of ethics for psychologists. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Author. Raupp, C. D., 8c Cohen, D. C. (1992). "A thousand points of light" illuminate the psychology curriculum: Volunteering as a learning experience. Teaching of Psychology, 19, 25-30. Resnick, J . H., 8c Schwartz, T. (1973). Ethical standards as an independent variable in psychological research. American Psychologist, 28, 134-139. Reynolds, P. D. (1979). Ethical dilemmas and social science research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Rosenthal, R. (1994). Science and ethics in conducting, analyzing, and reporting psychological research. Psychological Science, 5, 127-134. Rosenthal, R., 8c Rosnow, R. L. (1984). Applying Hamlet's question to the ethical conduct of research: A conceptual addendum. American Psychologist, 39, 561-563. Rosnow, R. L. (1997). Hedgehogs, foxes, and the evolving social contract in psychological science: Ethical challenges and methodological opportunities. Psychological Methods, 2, 345-356. Rosnow, R. L., 8c Aiken, L. S. (1973). Mediation of artifacts in behavioral research. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 9, 1 8 9 - 2 0 1 . Rosnow, R. L., Rotheram-Borus, M . J . , Ceci, S. J . , Blanck, P. D., 8c Koocher, G. P. (1993). The institutional review board as a mirror of scientific and ethical standards. American Psychologist, 48, 821-826. Ross, L., Lepper, M . R., 8c Hubbard, M . (1975). Perseverance in self-perception and social perception: Biased attributional processes in the debriefing paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 880-892. Schlenker, B. R., 8c Forsyth, D. R. (1977). On the ethics of psychological research. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 3 6 9 - 3 9 6 . Schuler, H. (1982). Ethical problems in psychological research. New York: Academic Press. Sharf, B. F. (1999). Beyond Netiquette: The ethics of doing naturalistic discourse Critical research on the Internet. In S. Jones (Ed.), Doing Internet research: issues and methods for examining the Net (pp. 2 4 3 - 2 5 6 ) . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Sharpe, D., Adair, J . G., 8c Roese, N. J . (1992). Twenty years of deception research: A decline in subjects' trust? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18, 585-590.


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Shea, C. (2000). Don't talk to the humans: The crackdown on social science research. Lingua Franca, 10, 2 6 - 3 4 . Smith, C. P. (1981). How (un)acceptable is research involving deception? IRB: A Review of Human Subjects Research, 3, 1-4. Smith, N. C , & Klein, J . G. (1999). Ethics in marketing research and the use of remedial measures to mitigate the deception of respondents. Unpublished manuscript, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University. Smith, N. C , Klein, J . G., & Kimmel, A. J . (2002). The ethics of deception in consumer research. Unpublished manuscript, London Business School. Strieker, L. J . , Messick, S., & Jackson, D. N. (1967). Suspicion of deception: Implications for conformity research. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 379-389. Sullivan, D. S., & Deiker, T. A. (1973). Subject-experimenter perceptions of ethical issues in human research. American Psychologist, 28, 5 8 7 - 5 9 1 . Tanke, E. D., & Tanke, T. J . (1982). Regulation and education: The role of the institutional review board in social science research. In J . E. Sieber (Ed.), The ethics of social research: Fieldwork, regulation, and publication (pp. 131-149). New York: Springer-Verlag. Taylor, K. M., & Shepperd, J . A. (1996). Probing suspicion among participants in deception research. American Psychologist, 51, 886-887. Toy, D., Olson, J . , Sc Wright, L. (1989). Effects of debriefing in marketing research involving "mild" deceptions. Psychology & Marketing, 6, 69-85. Toy, D., Wright, L., & Olson, J . (2001). A conceptual framework for analyzing deception and debriefing effects in marketing research. Psychology & Marketing, 18, 663-689. Tybout, A. M., Calder, B. J . , & Sternthal, B. (1981). Using information processing theory to design marketing strategies. Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 73-79. Vinacke, W. E. (1954). Deceiving experimental subjects. American Psychologist, 9, 1 5 5 . Vitelli, R. (1988). The crisis issue assessed: An empirical analysis. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 9, 301-309. Webb, E. J . , Campbell, D. T., Schwartz, R. D., Sechrest, L., & Grove, J . B. (1981). Nonreactive measures in the social sciences (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.



Developing a Program of Research

SUSAN T . FISKE Princeton



prospective graduate student yesterday

appropriate, much the way one calibrates a

asked me h o w I ended up doing the

certain amount o f snow as appropriate for a

work I do. This question


proper winter. I don't claim that the neigh-

with alarming frequency—a sign, one fears, o f

borhood's integration was flawless, but it was

becoming a Fixture in the Field. Fixtures are

deep and abiding, and the adults I knew

fixed, and science is moving, so in the spirit o f

seemed proud o f it. M o v i n g to Boston for col-

motion, let's consider the process o f develop-

lege, I was struck by an absence that t o o k me

ing, growing, maintaining, and refreshing a

a while to place. Although there was the right

program o f research. M y own entry into the

amount o f fluffy white stuff, the people were

field was motivated by both nature and nur-

far t o o white. T h e lack o f ethnic variety in

ture (my father a psychologist, my mother a

the Boston I encountered—the result o f heavy

community volunteer), both o f which suited

de facto segregation—seemed odd to me.

me to puzzle over experiences with people in

Probably primed by my mother's interest in

social contexts. T h e influences o f the social

communities, I couldn't

context, o f course, are what social psychology

people would want to live that way. Probably

is all about, so it makes sense that a social psy-

primed by my father's orientation t o research,




chologist would believe that the nature o f a

I realized there must be empirical answers.

person's social contexts shapes that person's

Puzzle number one gave rise to my research

research program. Whatever your own social

on stereotyping, about which more later.

contexts and resulting research puzzles, I will

Some time later, I observed up close some

suggest in this chapter that the processes o f

organizations with few women in high places,

developing a research career are knowable,

though plenty in low places. Some women who

manageable, and even fun.

were extremely competent, by all reasonable

Consider four cases o f social contexts that

standards, simply were not promoted. None

produced creative puzzles, for at least one

were obvious cases o f gender discrimination

budding social scientist. As a kid in the 1 9 5 0 s

because some women—a very few—seemed to

on the South Side o f Chicago, I calibrated a

be getting ahead. But the proportions and the

certain level o f ethnic diversity as natural and

standards were off. O n e case in point was Ann


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Hopkins, a would-be partner in a top accounting

Finally, puzzle number four resulted from a

firm, who brought in millions o f business

continuing sense of wonder about people as

dollars but was faulted for lacking interper-

unbelievably complex. H o w in the world do

sonal skills. Because the advice from her sup-

we manage to make sense o f each other? As an

porters included the exhortation to be more

adolescent, it's a normal developmental task to

feminine, gender clearly played some role,

think about your peers' opinions. Like my

according to the Supreme Court, where her

peers, I worried especially about how people

case ended up. This setting (in which I testified

made sense of me and what they thought of

as the plaintiffs expert witness) was not an iso-

me. Later, I became more concerned about

lated instance o f the phenomenon. In various

how I and others made sense o f other people,

organizations, women who behaved like door-

and whether we were being fair. In particular,

mats apparently had a better chance o f being

I worried about whether people were putting

promoted than women who did not, so some

too much emphasis on often

combination of gender and personality was at

aspects of each other: appearance, ethnicity,

play. Clearly, personality matters a lot to men's

gender, and the like. Puzzle number four led to

success as well, but it was mattering more for

an abiding interest in social cognition.

some unarguably competent women. Probably primed to notice because of my



This chapter takes us from scattered realworld phenomena o f personal and social inter-

grandmother and great-grandmother, I could-

est to a long-term program o f research. Topics

n't figure out why organizations would shoot

will include how to generate the following: a

themselves in the foot by depriving themselves

personal perspective, compelling hypotheses,

of such considerable talent. Puzzle number two

convincing research, readable write-ups, appro-

gave rise to my research on ambivalent sexism.

priate outlets, programmatic approaches, and a

Puzzle number three came from a more

willingness to be wrong. T h e chapter will also

directly personal experience. At the time, I

address critically important sideshows to per-




out why,

as an


research: collaboration,



funding, and service. All o f this intends to sug-

head's every gesture and expression. It was a

gest that the processes o f developing a long-

hierarchical place, and the department head

term research program are knowable, and one

held a lot o f power over my fate. Outcomes

can manage one's progress toward a research

professor, I was glued to my


program by becoming and remaining aware of

research funds all depended heavily on this

choices one makes at each step—and still solve

person's opinion o f me. I wasn't the only one

some personal puzzles along the way.

such as salary, promotion,


w h o analyzed his every twitch. In a heavily vertical organization, attention seemed to be directed upward. Spurred by this observation,


reflecting back on graduate school, I recalled


a similar phenomenon among all the graduate


students, whereby we all overanalyzed our advisers' every reaction. As a professor rising

A social psychologist straddles the domain

in the field, I began to notice students w h o

between social sciences, which have clear

overreacted to my slightest irrelevant grimace

political and social implications, and most o f

or tired sigh. Later, in a more democratic,

psychology, which deals with parts o f the per-

horizontal department, I noticed much less o f

son. Social psychology, because it deals with

that vigilance. This kind o f puzzle motivated

the whole person in a social context, has

my research on outcome dependency.

implications for our own perspectives not


a Program



only as scientists and intellectuals, but also as

might argue for a hierarchy here, but to the

insightful people with group identities, poli-

extent that one can combine these levels of

tics, and even moral beliefs. Empirically exam-

insight, my experience and perception are that

ining a variety o f perspectives through social

one does better acknowledging

psychological research deepens and tests our

sources. In my view, one does not have to

all these

own perspectives. Because each o f us brings a

choose among theoretical sophistication, social

unique combination o f perspectives, each o f

problems, and everyday appeal. What's impor-

us has a particular starting point for a research

tant is keeping in mind ideas that are interesting

program. Social psychology needs a variety o f

from a big-picture perspective. (For another

perspectives to be a healthy science precisely

perspective on big-picture sources of ideas,

because it deals with people in social context.

read McGuire's [ 1 9 7 3 ] " T h e Y i n and Yang of

Competing perspectives, with solid empirical

Progress in Social Psychology: Seven K o a n . " )

evidence, will better approximate the truth. As a college senior, I recall auditing a course on gender differences and thinking that the dif-

Intellectual Sources

ferences all seemed to put women at a disad-

T h e most c o m m o n intellectual fount o f

vantage. For example, it certainly sounded

ideas is a theoretical discontent. Existing per-

better to be field independent than field depen-

spectives simply prove inadequate. Perhaps

dent (guess which gender and which race are


field dependent). Then I wondered: W h a t if

Perhaps they possess internal contradictions.

one called the variable "field sensitivity"

Perhaps they omit important aspects o f the

instead? Likewise, internal control or primary


control sounded better than succumbing to

thing, so they are untestable.



explain the




they explain every-

external control or secondary control (again,

Just as one may move forward by rejecting

with gender, ethnicity, and cultural differences

current theory, one may progress by reviving

going in one direction). But what if one called

old theories viewed through modern lenses.

it "social harmony control" instead? Clearly, I

For example, the Z a j o n c ( 1 9 9 4 ) theory o f

realized, people's values inform the research

emotions as regulating cerebral blood flow

questions they bother to ask, the methods they

came in part from an older theory proposing

use, the interpretations they make, and cer-

similar ideas, but without modern techniques

tainly what they name their variables. It

to test it. Historical revival also underlies some

seemed important, then, to have researchers

of my own w o r k on the continuum model of

with a variety o f perspectives compete in the

impressions (S. T . Fiske, Lin, 8c Neuberg,

contest of ideas. I also realized that one cannot

1 9 9 9 ; S. T . Fiske & Neuberg, 1 9 9 0 ) , which

have a credible voice without the correspond-

partly came from contrasting Solomon Asch's

ing methodological expertise. So one has to

( 1 9 4 6 ) two processes o f impression forma-

take one's puzzles




conceptualizations and operationalizations.

tion. M o r e generally, William James ( 1 8 9 0 ) and Fritz Heider ( 1 9 5 8 ) are rich sources o f ideas to be newly framed and tested afresh. A general meta-theoretical perspective can


provide ideas as well. For example, a pragmatic


approach (James's "thinking is for doing"; S. T .


Fiske, 1 9 9 3 b ) can provide hypotheses about

The sources o f one's research ideas can be intel-

testing people's reactions against the practical

lectual, personal, group, or worldview. Some

functions served. Similarly, an evolutionary

why people think, feel, or do what they do, by


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH standpoint, a cultural contrast, a consistency

for systematic analyses by theoreticians o f

theory perspective, or a

interpersonal perception processes.


assumption each can shape hypotheses. Synthesis across areas also provides a rich source o f ideas. O n e can work across similar

Group Sources


In parallel, one's perspective on the exist-

example, competing models o f impression for-

ing viewpoints m a y be informed by one's

mation or attitude change, which may turn out

social group identity. M y budding insights

to be two equally valid modes that operate

into the ways that values inform the research

under different circumstances (Chaiken and

process were fueled no doubt by the fact that




Trope, 1 9 9 9 , collected 3 5 theories that com-

most o f the researchers whose theories I stud-

bine two modes in this way). O r one can read

ied were men. W h e n I graduated from col-

or talk to other social scientists—such as polit-

lege, the editorial board o f the Journal


included 1

ical scientists, sociologists, or economists—

Personality and Social Psychology

w h o operate at a more macro level but m a y

w o m a n and 2 0 men, the reviewers for each

make assumptions about psychological pro-

issue averaged about 1 w o m a n and 2 0 men,

cesses that seem psychologically undeveloped

the senior authors averaged about 1 w o m a n

or implausible but salvageable for new theory

per issue, and the editors included

nonetheless. Some o f the most innovative work

Social psychology as a field began t o include


occurs at the boundaries between disciplines

women more rapidly than many areas o f psy-

and subdisciplines.

chology and more than many areas o f science

O n e also may develop theory by critiquing the theory o f specific other viewpoints. M o r e often than not, though, pure critique does not go far. Building hypotheses merely as a reaction to someone else's hypotheses leaves limited ground t o explore. O n e ends up by picking at the toenails o f giants. Better to

(see Berscheid, 1 9 9 2 , for a compelling discussion). M y point here is simply this well-worn one: If certain socially significant groups do not participate, then the field loses the variety of perspectives needed for a healthy set o f dialogues. An underrepresented point o f view can counter unconscious biases in prior work

stand on their shoulders.

or in the dominant approach.

Personal Sources

Worldview Sources People's explicit value systems—religious,

Intuition, hunches, and personal experience also can inform



ethical, political—can create a conviction that

People often will develop a sense that their


own experiences, or those o f people they

Whatever value-driven basis one may have







(the good Samaritan study o f Darley and

phenomenon that has been overlooked. Case

Batson, 1 9 7 3 , comes to mind), the research

studies can c o m e from real people or even

itself must be logically reasoned and method-

from literature, songs, and movies. Psychol-

ologically rigorous in order to survive the

ogical insight is many people's hobby, though

scientific review process, which looks with

k n o w well, represent a more

only well-trained methodologists k n o w how

justifiable suspicion on research with a value-

to formulate a logical series of testable pro-

based agenda. Nonetheless, if one can con-

positions from it. In Heider's ( 1 9 5 8 ) view,

ceptually articulate and operationally define

commonsense psychology was a foundation

one's predictions, a value-inspired


Developing remains a valid perspective for


a Program



See whether your idea has general appeal. T h e "cocktail party test" is whether you can

empirical tests.

explain your idea to a nonspecialist in a way that is clear, brief, and interesting. If the lis-

General Principles, Regardless of Source

tener immediately develops an urge for hors d'oeuvres, you may not have focused enough

W h e t h e r the source is intellectual, per-

on the m o s t compelling aspect o f your

sonal, group, worldview, or—most likely—a

hypotheses. Y o u r idea should

combination, several principles contribute to

enough that a neophyte can remember the

be simple

uncovering an idea. First, one must mind the

main point the morning after. One journal

gap, in any o f the preceding sources. While

editor told me that he would read manuscripts

reading, hearing, or teaching the research

in the evening and see whether he could

literature, listen to the still, small voice o f dis-

remember the main idea during his next-

comfort, disturbance, or disruption. It takes

morning jog. If so, the author had made a last-

a subtle inner ear to hear that voice, but cul-

ing impression. As J a c o b Cohen ( 1 9 9 0 ) put it,

tivate it. W h e n you do hear the voice, ponder

in promoting simplicity, "less is more."

what's wrong or missing, m a k e a note, and

W a l l o w in a reliable effect, to generate compelling hypotheses. Especially if you

then w o r k with it later. Some people keep a folder o f ideas. I f you

yourself have uncovered a reliable, original

do, you'll be surprised at h o w often the same

effect, pursue its moderators. See what other

or similar ideas occur t o you. This is your

theoretically interesting independent variables

perspective. F o l l o w it. Patterns in w h a t tends

shape it. Boundary conditions

t o annoy you will turn into a program o f

define any phenomenon. If you can make an


effect come and go at will, then you begin

research. In sorting through your ideas, pick perspec-

truly to understand it. Besides moderators,

tives that are underrepresented. A fresh idea

pursue mediators. W h a t underlying psycho-

creates an excited following. Few ideas, how-

logical mechanisms explain your effect? W h a t

ever, start a procession o f follow-up studies. If

process comes between your main indepen-

you can't lead the parade, at least anticipate

dent and dependent variables? I f your effect

the parade route and get there early to point

matters, then its moderators and mediators

the way. W a t c h smart, interesting people and

will matter t o o . Consider stereotype threat

see what they are beginning to consider, before

(Steele, Spencer, &c Aronson, 2 0 0 2 ) . T h e first

most people have noticed. Think about the

generation o f research demonstrated


implications o f their work and the probable

black people and w o m e n could underperform

directions in which it will move the field. D o n ' t

in contexts that made salient the relevant neg-

imitate those you observe, but apply their gen-

ative stereotypes about their groups, even

eral direction to your own interests.

when their performance would otherwise be

Beware, however, o f runaway


equivalent. T h e second wave o f research

ons. O n c e a trend has swelled beyond a cer-

addressed generalizability (defining modera-

tain size, you w o n ' t have that much to add to

tors and boundaries), showing that a variety

it. Avoid crowds: Y o u w o n ' t stand out, and

of groups are vulnerable to stereotype threat

your pocket is likely t o get picked. I f you

in domains where they have negative reputa-



tions: men on emotional sensitivity, lower

crowded, it is hard t o say anything new, and

classes on academic performance, whites in

it is all t o o easy t o be scooped.

sports, whites in academics relative to Asians,

in an



it b e c o m e s



FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH and more. T h e second wave o f research also

If you indicate that you value colleagues'

tackled potential mediators such as anxiety,

intellect, they are more likely to value yours,

distraction, vigilance, and

assuming the dialogue is equal. If you approach

effort. Second-

generation research can create those all-impor-

a senior colleague with a draft of a research

tant publications at certain career stages, but I

design or a grant proposal, they cannot plausi-

wouldn't make a career of tweaking someone

bly claim later that it was all their idea. But it's

else's finding. When you tweak your own orig-

fine if they later say they had an influence on

inal finding, it's called programmatic research

some aspect o f it. Consider their suggestions

on a series of compelling hypotheses.

without being defensive, and use the useful

Whatever you w o r k on, follow your pas-

ones. Find a comfortable balance on the con-

sion. Enjoy it. Study what intrigues you. W h y

tinuum from being overly isolated to being col-

else put up will all the grief associated with

legial to being overly dependent. Chances are,


you'll err on the side o f being too independent, so don't be embarrassed about asking whether someone might have time to give you feedback.


Better too early than too late. Having to talk about your research also puts it into perspective. Y o u have to explain

M a n y problems in research design are most

first why you are conducting this particular

easily solved by conversation and feedback—

research, and that will keep your eye on the

early and often. All o f us think we should go it

big picture. I have noticed a pattern among

alone without help. Graduate students and

my students, especially undergraduates, over

junior faculty often think help-seeking will

the years. W h e n w e first discuss

(a) bother the busy important senior faculty or

research together, or when they describe their

(b) reflect badly on them when they are evalu-

research to someone else, they almost always

ated. Au contraire. W h e n you are evaluated,

start with the method and forget to mention


someone (preferably several someones) will

the hypothesis. This is like deciding whether

have to be your advocate(s), or else the cynical

to drive, bike, walk, or swim—before you

critics (of which academia has many) will win

k n o w where you want to go. There may be

and you will lose. T o be an advocate, the per-

times when the ride is the point, but typically

son has to k n o w your research intimately. If

not in science. Different destinations require

the person has talked with you about your for-


mative decisions, the person will be a far more

hypotheses suggest different methods. If you





credible advocate than if he or she reads your

want to go for a bike ride, with n o destination

work one night before the meeting. This does

in mind, that's fine, but don't conduct an

not require you to collaborate and coauthor

experiment just because you thought o f a

with more senior people—a little o f this is O K ,

clever procedure. Probably, if you have a

but too much leads to obvious problems in

method in mind, a hypothesis may be lurking

attributing credit. All you need to do is seek

in a mental corner somewhere. Some search-

advice sometimes. People love to give advice;


they love to feel invested in your work and

hypotheses, which then need to be specified






your career. Benjamin Franklin once said

and developed. But do wait to choose a

something to the effect o f "ask a favor, gain a

method until after the concepts are clear

friend; do a favor, lose a friend." Even older

(novices tend t o seize on a method too early).

faculty want to feel appreciated and valued.

Moving from concept to operation, from

All social psychologists know about reciprocity:

hypothesis to method, disciplines the mind.


a Program

of Research


For example, to create a working definition o f

t o choose one's battles. Sometimes, inventing

aggression for an experiment, the researcher

a new procedure is worthwhile, if that is the

must decide what kinds o f aggression count:

focus of one's contribution, but sometimes

Indirect as well as direct? Passive as well as

effort and energy must go elsewhere. M a k e a

active? Nonverbal as well as verbal? H o w does

conscious choice.

aggression differ from assertiveness? After hav-

In general, many impactful social psychol-

ing decided on a particular kind (e.g., physical

ogy experiments display drama in the depen-

violence), what levels are appropriate for the

dent variable and subtlety in the independent

hypothesis, the participants, and the setting?

variable. Small changes in the situation (such

W h a t is ethical and feasible? Will it be possible

as an experimenter merely saying "the exper-

to study people blasting another person with

iment requires that you continue") cause dra-

noise? Shocking another

matic changes in the participants' behavior



another person? Any area poses challenges o f


operationalization: Being forced to specify, for

Milgram, 1 9 6 5 ) . This advice, credited

instance, what specific activities are interesting

Stanley Schachter (L. Ross 8c Nisbett, 1 9 9 1 ) ,



else t o

death; to

or boring, what is discrimination versus preju-

fits other famous studies' seemingly trivial

dice, what is the affective versus cognitive

independent variables ( $ 1 versus $ 2 0 pay-

aspect o f an attitude, all helps one to think

ment, many or few bystanders, having retirees

more clearly about the concepts involved.

water their own houseplants or not) and dra-

Besides the conceptual discipline involved

matic dependent variables (liking a patently

in operationalization, practical discipline

boring task, rescuing an accident victim, mor-

accompanies the working definitions. M o s t

tality rates).

of the concerns are obvious: T h e procedure

Whatever your variables, multiple methods

must be feasible and plausible, in all the ways

matter. Whatever method you choose, it will

you will k n o w for your specific


have drawbacks. Only by converging opera-

Probably the most c o m m o n but not obvious

tions can researchers k n o w whether the effect

issues involve trying to do t o o much at once.

is true and not simply an artifact. T h e same

M o r e focused questions invite more careful

effect across methods is more compelling than

operationalizations, so they are more likely

the same method applied to many different

to yield results. O n e can't do everything well.

phenomena. For example, the bogus pipeline

Moreover, the first time you run a study, it

(E. E . Jones &c Sigall, 1 9 7 1 ) is one method for

may not work, so you will have t o fine-tune


at people's true racial


the method, which is more difficult with too

beyond the socially desirable response. If other



methods (subliminal priming, response times,




Simple and elegant is more effective than

nonverbal indicators) also show that people

complex and baroque. You'll just have to give

have racial prejudices that they fail to admit,

up testing some o f the side issues right away.

then the converging result, across methods, is

Because of all the uncertainties in blazing

compelling. In personality psychology, this

new trails, it can be helpful to build on estab-

idea—first expressed by Campbell and D . W .

lished paradigms that have worked in the past

Fiske ( 1 9 5 9 ) — h o l d s that a researcher more

for you, your collaborators, or others in the

reliably assesses personality traits by using

field. The method you know has certain estab-

multiple measures across multiple traits. In the

lished strengths and weaknesses. Inventing a

multitrait-multimethod matrix, one looks for

new method will almost certainly (a) take

traits that emerge reliably across methods, and

more time, (b) invite more criticism, and

one can detect methods that have their own

(c) not work out exactly as planned. O n e has

effects, regardless of particular traits. For


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH example, one might find that questionnaire

that people read like they take vitamins. Some



people will do it dutifully, but they won't ask

(acquiescence bias), whereas response time

for seconds and they won't successfully rec-

all c o n t a i n a c o m m o n

measures all contain another (age bias). F o r

ommend it to others. Presenting your work


effectively is more than mere showiness; it





methodological pluralism allows researchers

allows your ideas to communicate clearly

to triangulate on the same phenomenon from

what they can contribute.

the perspective o f different



different strengths and weaknesses.

Some great advice about writing psychology articles comes from Bern ( 2 0 0 3 )


Having collected the data, attack the analy-

Sternberg ( 1 9 9 3 ) . O n e particular highlight

ses with enthusiasm. Let your data do the talk-

includes the ideal hourglass shape o f an

ing. At the first stage, the researcher becomes a

article, starting with the broadest context;

detective, in Abelson's ( 1 9 9 5 ) terms, analyzing

becoming progressively more specific through

the data in every conceivably useful way. N o

the introduction; leading into the most con-

analysis is forbidden. Try anything, and see

crete, narrow specifics o f method and results;


then again broadening outward to the end o f

pulled, opened, shaken, and inverted the data,

the discussion, which takes the reader back to

you will see that some patterns keep appearing

the widest context.





and some seem elusive. T h e data are trying to

Considering the article's overall flow, one

tell you what the robust results really are. Trust

wants to create tension and suspense: Will the

the ones that don't disappear when the analytic

hypotheses hold up? Will the

assumptions change slightly.

interpretation win out? Where will it all end?


Having played the detective, the researcher

Suspense can be arranged by making a plausi-

moves to the next role, as a lawyer advocat-

ble case for the competing alternative to your

ing a particular interpretation o f the evidence.

favored hypothesis. Otherwise, with hindsight

T h e lawyer must play according to certain

bias (Fischhoff, 1 9 7 5 ) , your hypothesis and

procedural rules, agreed-upon methods, sta-

results will seem all too obvious to the reader,

tistical techniques, and ethical obligations.

w h o will fail to be impressed.

Nevertheless, having a certain perspective to

The single most important principle o f

argue, one tries to make the best scientific

writing anything is to make an argument for

case, within the rules. T o keep you honest, the

something. T h e argument in this chapter was

judge and jury are editors and reviewers, as

stated at the outset: T h e processes of develop-

well as other readers.

ing a long-term research program are knowable, and one can manage one's progress toward a research program by becoming and


remaining aware o f choices one makes at each


step—and enjoy it. In any kind o f writing,

Readers are busy, distracted people: W h y

make, but play by the rules. People forget this

always make an argument and have a point to should they bother with your article? T o para-

basic premise with surprising predictability.

phrase Dahl ( 1 9 6 1 ) , science is a sideshow in

W h a t do you want to say? W h a t is the take-

the great circus o f life. People read your arti-

home message? W h e n my students (both grad-

cles because they thereby acquire nuggets o f

uate and undergraduate) read research articles

knowledge, insight, entertainment, ideas, and

for class, I always insist that they tell me what

clues. T o assume that people will read your

the author(s) were trying to do. It is surpris-

work because it is good for them is to assume

ingly hard to find the hypothesis in many


a Program

of Research


research articles and harder still to find the

your work after a break. Both lend an outside

argument in a review article. Having collected

perspective t o the too-familiar prose. Better

all that data and read all those articles, what

still, find an honest friend and heed the per-

did you learn and what do you want to tell us?

son's advice. However annoying, the reader is

A well-written article o f any sort has a thesis.

always right (or at least diagnostic). T h a t is, if

It does not read like a string o f note cards

one reader has a problem, others will too. It

joined as a string o f paragraphs. Instead, use

is better to hear the bad news from a friend,

specific aspects o f specific studies to support

w h o may save you a round o f rejection and

each point.


T o make a strong empirical article, which is a data-based argument, go with the strongest studies. M o s t researchers are



having gone to enormous trouble to run each study, having tended it through conception,

Assess the market value o f your research. It

realization, and analysis—to include every last

almost all hinges on the quality o f your data,

one, with every last measure that might be

n o matter h o w elegant your theory. Y o u may

relevant. Unfortunately, several weak studies

have a hypothesis that deserves to be true,

do not equal one strong study. Readers do not

but reviewers are trained to attack at the sign

sum the quality o f evidence over studies; they

of any weakness, and editors go with the

average it, so weak data dilute strong data.

most negative review (Fogg & Fiske, 1 9 9 3 ) .

Try not to become so attached to each study

Be ruthless with the quality o f your evidence;

that you cannot evaluate it with a cold, hard

don't waste your time and reviewers' time

eye, and k n o w when it is time to leave it aside.

with outlets that simply w o n ' t w o r k . If you

M o r e generally, admit your limits. K n o w

are t o o close to your product to judge it

the strengths o f your data (that part is easy),

yourself, ask some colleagues. It is better to

but also anticipate the reviewers' criticisms,

hear bad news from allies than critics.

however unreasonable. T h e n , explain their

Develop a thick skin: The criticisms are not

possible criticism ("A critic might argue . . . " )

directed at you personally, no matter how

and show why it is wrong or at least not

nasty they may seem. It's not you; it's this par-

deadly. Readers are more impressed when

ticular version o f this particular set o f studies.

authors do not oversell their work. M a n y

O f all the people I've known well enough to

reviewers are impressed when they can say,

trade rejection stories, practically none receives

"Every time I thought o f a flaw or potential

an immediate acceptance for any study, no

problem, the authors addressed it on the

matter how brilliant. (This says nothing about

next page."

my choice of friends!) M o s t o f us make person-

Finally, do pay attention to the basic rules

specific attributions for our rejections: This

of good writing. Learning to write is a lifelong

editor or suspected reviewer hates me, I am a

project. Y o u can get a leg up from Strunk and

foreigner, I am unknown, I am too famous, my

White's slim classic, The Elements


ideas are too mainstream, my ideas are too

( 2 0 0 0 , currently priced at about $ 6 . 9 5 ) . T h e

new. T h e more parsimonious explanation is


most c o m m o n problems in writing psychol-

the 9 0 % rejection rate for the best journals.

ogy are passive voice and needless words.

Rejection is part of the ritual, so get used to it.

Learn to excise the fat, leaving only the lean,

M o s t o f us cope by going through stages of

muscular, healthy prose. If this proves diffi-

grief: first shock, then anger at the stupid

cult, try editing on paper as well as on the

*#@& %

computer screen, and try coming back to

I should sell shoes), then


reviewers, then sadness


(after a decent

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH interval) the gradual realization that maybe the

and people often acquire them unconsciously

reviewers made a few reasonable points. As

from others, or perhaps because those ideas

one considers how to address their criticisms,

are the next plausible step in the progress of

one begins to feel relieved that they didn't

science. W h a t you do own is your work on the idea, developing it and operationalizing it.

accept the article with all its glaring flaws. If your article is rejected, heed your own

N o two people work in precisely the same

clarion call for more research: Consider doing

way, so you should have some new angle to

it. Alternatively, you may decide that you are

contribute. Besides, any one study is only one

willing to settle for a lesser outlet. There is

small part o f a research program. Keep your

almost always a trade-off between time and

eye on the big picture.

quality; it takes longer to get into the best journals. O n e professor publishes only in the best journals, jettisoning studies and doing new


ones until the reviewers cave in. This may be


hard on graduate students and junior faculty, however, w h o may not get publications in

T h e research program itself should be your

time to find or keep a j o b . Another equally

passion, so do not allow a few rejections to

successful professor used to have the envelope

set you back t o o far. Follow whatever inter-

ready for the next journal even before receiv-

ests you the most; this enterprise is t o o much

ing feedback from


w o r k to tolerate anything less. Caring about

grounds that reviews are arbitrary and non-

what you do will carry you over the bumps

overlapping, so revision to suit one bunch o f

in the road. If you don't k n o w for sure what

reviewers is futile. I take a slightly different

you want to pursue, you can discover your

tack, having

the first one, on





o w n preferences as revealed by the patterns

reviewers with differing expertise (D. W . Fiske

of your chosen research problems. It w o n ' t

& Fogg, 1 9 9 0 ) , so o f course they don't agree;

take you long to discover the pattern, and

they are evaluating the article on

then you can build on it.

dimensions. S o , one can learn

different from


Above all, as mentioned earlier, treasure a

reviews, and can collect new data or not, but

reliable effect when you find it. Domesticate it

the ultimate decision rests on the timing/qual-

by trying it in different theoretically interest-

ity trade-off, which may depend on the stage

ing contexts and variations. T e a c h it new

of your career (how important is it to get stuff

tricks by making it c o m e and go at will. If you


o f your

can make an effect appear and disappear, as

research topic (which also may determine how

noted, then you really understand it. In effect,

important it is to get stuff out quickly).

knowing the moderator variables explains

quickly) and

the trendiness

If you are scooped, don't panic. Chances

much about the effect. Also, learn


are, the other person did the research differ-

inside it: W h a t are the mediating variables

ently than you did. Being scooped is annoying

that link the primary cause to the primary

at best and deeply wounding at worst (though



Having played awhile with your treasured

relieved not to have to complete a study when

effect, don't fully housebreak it. Let it outside,

someone else does it first). Especially at the

for others to take for a walk. If you clean up

start o f one's career, when one has not yet

all the mess from your effect, no one else will

I k n o w one professor w h o claims to

had many ideas, each idea is even more pre-

be interested. Let other people do something

cious. Nevertheless, people do not really own

with it—unless, o f course, you are utterly

ideas; they own the work. Ideas are in the air,

driven to know every last detail of its nature.

Developing Some researchers believe in letting others



a Program




Research evaluators

housebreak their discoveries, whereas other

discount chapters in edited volumes. It can be

researchers are more possessive. In general,

good to do one or two as a graduate student, if

what B o b Abelson calls the "neats" like to

your adviser asks you to collaborate, because

clean up every detail, whereas the "scruffies"

the writing and literature review experience

like to propose an idea and let others clean up.

can be useful. But if you are going to do all that

Researchers w h o belong to the neats and

work, why not do it for a review journal? If

the scruffies differ also in their willingness t o

you are going to do all that work, why be sec-

be wrong. Scruffies generally believe it is

ond author? Within the bounds o f maintaining

better t o be wrong than boring, t o flame out

a good relationship with your adviser, discuss

in a burst o f fireworks, pick up, and start

the issues o f costs and benefits for you to do a

over after making a great but

chapter together. For junior faculty, there are


show. Neats generally believe it is better to

likely to be fewer invitations, either from edi-

be careful and cautious, building an argu-

tors or from more senior collaborators, but

ment brick by brick. B o t h perspectives have

that is probably just as well. For graduate

some merit, and each o f us has t o calibrate

students, chapters may be evidence o f some

our own willingness to be wrong. Research

form o f low-level activity, but for junior

requires taking some risks, trying on new

faculty, that isn't much help. L o o k up the cita-

ideas to see h o w they fit, and being willing to

tion rates for someone's chapters, compared to

discard them if they don't, but high-risk,

articles. The chapters are low, low, low.

high-gain research can leave you with nothing at the end o f the day. Balance is key.

So why do chapters at all? First, for fun. If you have something you want to say, and you

Besides individual differences in the willing-

don't want to have to deal with reviewers

ness to be wrong or to take risks, one's situation

(only the editors w h o invited you, probably

matters, of course. It is easier to take risks after

for the perspective they k n o w you have), a

achieving tenure; that's the whole point of life-

chapter is a good outlet. Second, for prestige.

long job security. It is easier to take risks with

Some very few volumes, o f course, carry a lot

one's left hand if one is already maintaining a

of prestige, and you will k n o w which ones

more reliable research program with one's right

and presumably

hand. It is easier to take risks if you have some

Third, for a particular audience w h o may not

accept those


solid publications already. Staking the initial

otherwise see your w o r k . Fourth, for a litera-

stages o f your career on one high-risk, high-

ture review you have written for another pur-

gain project probably is not a good idea.

pose. O n e o f my more cited chapters was

Evaluators do look for both quantity and

prepared originally as a grant proposal. It is

quality. T h a t is the hard truth. M o s t depart-

the rare edited b o o k , however, that has much

ments want t o k n o w what your own partic-

impact, and likewise the chapters therein.

ular phenomenon is. I was once told to find

Chapter invitations are gratifying, as a

a "Fiske effect." But most departments also

sign to you and your evaluators that you've



had an impact on the field in a particular

number o f publications per year (I've heard

area. T h e key is weighing the opportunity to


implicit e x p e c t a t i o n


the number two, in one o f the top few jour-

be associated with a particular collection o f

nals, but it varies a lot). T h e trick is to try t o

editors and authors, t o be able t o speculate

keep projects in the pipeline—some things at

and go beyond the data, to m a k e a contro-

the planning stage, others piloting, others

versial argument, and t o support the editors'

running, other analyzing, others (one hopes)

enterprise, on one hand, with the oppor-

writing, and others under review.

tunity costs, on the other hand, such as



time that


be spent


articles and grants.

assumptions that they do not test; political psychology and behavioral economics come

W h e n in doubt, concentrate on research

out of such collaborations. Some o f the latest

articles. I f you do chapters, do them as a sec-

work in cognitive neuroscience has discovered

ond priority, not a first priority. Save your

that it needs social psychologists to help inter-

best hours in the day for research writing.

pret the pesky intrusiveness of emotion and


other social variables. Social psychologists

weekends or during the evenings, when they

Some people write chapters at h o m e

need neuroscientists, physicists, and statisti-

have nothing more pressing to do. But if you

cians to do social neuroscience. Health psy-

put your name on it, you still have t o do a

chologists need collaborators with


good j o b . It should not be t o o far afield from

expertise. Psychologists and

your research program,

much to share. M a n y funding agencies are par-

so you





something intelligent to say, without under-

ticularly excited by interdisciplinary collabora-

taking a whole new line o f inquiry, and then

tions. Cross-boundary collaborations glue our

other people can see why you


field together at a time when it is threatening to

Otherwise and overall, all else being equal,

fly apart into tiny specialized pieces. Building

stick with the journal articles.


is useful




together. Cross-boundary collaboration also carries COLLABORATION: BESIDE

some risks, as I've recently suggested (S. T .


Fiske, 2 0 0 2 ) : T h e more micro


sciences l o o k down on the more ("softer")

sciences; b o t h

("harder") macro

may resent


In each arena—coming up with ideas, forming

intrusion or defection; neither side owes alle-

hypotheses, designing research, analyzing it,

giance t o you, so resources, alliances, and

writing it, dealing with rejection, and doing

identity may be at risk; and lack o f expertise

programmatic research—good collaborators

is a real issue. O n the other hand, collabora-

are priceless. In finding collaborators, as in

tion cures many o f these problems, and some


of the most creative w o r k emerges from this






serendipity but be choosy. Each of us has

kind o f project.

research interests and talents that form a tem-

Once you have agreed to collaborate, inter-

plate; this template can mesh with a variety o f

dependence can work marvels if each of you

other templates, but not all. T h e point is that

contributes in areas where the other one is

no one adviser or collaborator is the be-all and

learning. Managing the collaboration requires

end-all. Y o u can work happily with various

deliberate attention. Sometimes it is important

people. Y o u r template is at the ready; various

to have authorship discussions up front, to

prospects can fit. So choose what works, but

avoid later misunderstandings. Having the idea

don't agonize over the perfect match.

is not enough to merit first authorship. As with

Interdisciplinary collaborations in particu-

strangers in the field, so too with collaborators.

lar matter right now, given both the complex-

N o one can really own the free-floating idea;

ity of some paradigms and the potential for

only the work establishes ownership. Some

creativity at the boundaries of disciplines (see

researchers refrain from discussing their ideas

Cacioppo, Lorig, Nusbaum,

and Berntson,

with anyone except a collaborator, to avoid

Chapter 17, this volume, and Part V of this

being scooped. But even with a collaborator,

handbook). As noted, some o f the more macro

the ideas are likely to develop in ways that are

social sciences make strong psychological

difficult to track, so explicit discussions are key.


a Program

of Research


In discussing the w o r k that does establish

the students had not called whom they said

ownership, people typically award authorship

they had called; they simply spoke to the first

to the person w h o did more work. But

person available. This was a failure o f teaching

beware the self-serving bias here: Y o u r col-

and motivating on my part, as well as irre-

l a b o r a t o r s ) probably did more than


sponsibility on the R A s ' part. H a d they under-

think. Add together each person's estimate o f

stood the importance o f random sampling, one

his or her own contribution, and the total

hopes they would not have cut corners.

will be more than 1 0 0 % ( M . Ross & Sicoly, 1 9 7 9 ) . Even if you agree that one person did more, you each are likely to underestimate the


other(s). Respect for the self-serving bias sug-


gests giving the other person benefit o f the doubt. Include research assistants, staff, and


younger collaborators as coauthors, when-

indeed is a form o f collaboration. But o f

ever possible and appropriate. T h a t is, people

course it is more, because one person clearly

the research perspective,


deserve authorship for scholarly input, but

has more knowledge and authority, not to

they do not deserve authorship just for run-

mention power to evaluate, than the other.

ning participants for pay or providing techni-

Some departments recognize the teaching that

cal assistance. It is better to be direct, honest,

goes on in one-to-one supervision and lab

and blunt than to be perceived as exploitative,

meetings. M o s t departments do not, perhaps

unethical, or unfair. Although I usually err on

because they view research and teaching as

the side of inclusiveness, each new coauthor


dilutes the perceived impact o f the



are they?





authors. In general, communicate, communi-

research and teaching should be negatively

cate. (See Fine and Kurdek, 1 9 9 3 , for some

correlated, based on scarcity o f time and


energy, differing personality






authorship, and Z a n n a , 2 0 0 3 , on mentoring

and divergent rewards. O n e could also argue

graduate students.)

that the relationship should be positive, based

Responsibility for other people's training

on conventional wisdom

and the


suggests letting go of some control, letting the

requirement for intelligence. One could even

less experienced people try their hand at the

argue that the relationship should be zero,

next step for which they might be ready. Even

because they are different enterprises and the

if you could do the work more efficiently your-

relevant personality dimensions are unrelated.

self, you are responsible for training those w h o

Meta-analysis shows that the overall effect is

work with you. T h e care and feeding o f junior

ever so slightly positive, if anything, but it

collaborators entails not exploiting them or

depends heavily on the evaluative dimension

taking them for granted, but making

(Feldman, 1 9 8 7 ; Hattie &




research experience at whatever level a learn-

Active researchers rate high on knowledge,

ing experience in the conduct o f science. Both

commitment, enthusiasm, and organization.

good teaching and research quality control

Research conveys little or no advantage in


close supervision.








abound. I once told undergraduate research

course. Contrary to popular

assistants to follow a particular telephone sam-

teaching and research quality are correlated


pling procedure to obtain a stratified random

somewhat more at liberal arts colleges than at

sample. W h e n I called the participants later,

universities, perhaps because the variance on

for an unexpected follow-up, I discovered that

research productivity is greater. The small




positive relationship holds especially in the

undergraduate, it never occurred to me that

social sciences, compared t o natural sciences

faculty would want to w o r k with me because

and humanities. Across moderators of the

I k n e w I didn't k n o w anything. O n e o f my

effect size, the relationship is always slightly

r o o m m a t e s pointed out that I would be free

positive, though


labor, which motivated me to go volunteer to

enough, time spent on teaching does not

w o r k on a faculty member's research. M a n y

correlate with teaching quality.) T h e relevant

a research career has started that way. As a

typically small.

point here is that time spent on research does


not undermine quality o f teaching, but it does

choosy about your individual students. If you

predict articles published. Log those research

c a n , find people w h o will w o r k o n projects


or graduate student, be

hours, even when you are busy teaching. Set

of mutual interest. Point out that they will

aside time for course prep, meetings with

get more enthusiastic and expert help if it's a

students, and research. Protect each o f those

topic you're pursuing yourself. (Specific tips

spots on your schedule, to keep control o f

on h o w to teach lie outside the scope o f the

your time.

current volume, but see Bernstein, 2 0 0 3 . )

Given that our jobs entail both teaching and research, and that the two are at best loosely coupled, how can we help teaching improve





F U N D I N G : AHA! PLUS . . .


Teaching upper-level courses provides a built-

Funding your students—especially graduate


students—lies in both your and their best

incentive to






interest, because if they are funded, they are

Everyone knows that teaching a seminar in

less distracted from research by having to

your specially is a plum assignment, but even


lower-level survey courses c a n provide oppor-

Fundable research ideas occur in all the ways

students are graduates



in o t h e r

less useful


tunities to scan the literature for readable arti-

indicated for any piece o f research. T h e dif-

cles and


ference is that you have to plan it all in

lecture. Having to become expert on the topic

advance. In fact, even if you d o n ' t get funded


up-to-date e x a m p l e s

and explain it to students can provide insights


into unanswered

research program is not a bad idea. In the

research questions. Also,

a w a y , having

t o plan



some courses have a research component.

stress and overload o f the semester, when a

O n e professor has students with


new student is ready to w o r k with you, you

accents collect local housing discrimination

can pull one o f your proposed studies off the

data by making phone inquiries about rental

shelf (or at least out o f the proposal) and

listings and coding the agency's responsive-

develop it together. At least you will k n o w

ness (i.e., whether

that it fits well with your research program.

they even call


Another professor has students collect ques-


research, in my experience,

tionnaire data from family members and ana-

requires an interesting idea and proof o f feasi-

lyzes the data for class. Thinking about your

bility. T h e interesting idea maybe highly inno-

own research goals can enrich your teaching,

vative, or it may be the next logical step o f an

and vice versa.

old idea. Whichever it is, the good idea is eval-

In survey courses, keep an eye out for the

uated the way any o f our research ideas are

best, most enthusiastic students. Let them

evaluated for publication; all the same criteria

k n o w that they can do research with faculty,

apply. Perhaps with funding more than other

as an independent

research assis-

enterprises, the fine line between a great new

tantship, or senior thesis. W h e n I was an

idea and credibility established by a track


Developing record is particularly delicate. Some proposals

a Program

of Research


sometimes fail to get their own research done


because they do more than their share: being

claim is nothing new. Others are rejected for

everyone else's favorite statistical consultant,

get rejected for promising what

being so new that they are completely untried.

advising all the minority students, advising all

The best combination is a fresh new idea, con-

the women, advising all the athletes, or run-

vincing pilot data, and systematic develop-

ning the best meetings. Nevertheless, building

ment o f the approach over a series o f studies.

your program builds your home away from

Methods and statistics have to be credible, so

home where you spend all your days (and

one must prove one's expertise by compul-

some o f your evenings). If you want it to be a

sively specifying all the tiresome details in

place you enjoy, you have to contribute what-

advance. (For more thoughts on grant writing,

ever you do best.

see Steinberg, 2 0 0 3 ; Sternberg, 2 0 0 3 . )

In your department, also do your share,

All the advice about rejection by journals

but no more, unless you are building an

applies here as well. T h e difference is that you

administrative vita. Notice what other people

often get to try again (at least a couple o f

at your level do, and strive for equity. I f you

times) with the same funding agency and

do less, people will resent you. If you do

therefore the same reviewers. In the words o f

more, people may be grateful, but you w o n ' t

the / Ching, perseverance furthers. At a mini-

get your own research done, and they won't,

mum, the reviewers build some cognitive dis-

ultimately, promote you out o f gratitude.

sonance if they initially said the basic idea

In your university, o f course, you can also

was worthy, and then you keep doing every

build an administrative vita, if that is your

revision they ask. T h e y can still reject your

career trajectory, but m a k e it a deliberate

proposal, but at least it requires more mental

choice, not an accident. Active researchers

gymnastics than if you are less responsive to

can do well by doing good: Offer your partic-

their feedback. It is important to remember

ular forms o f expertise above all. (Let the less

that the reviewers are people like us, only they

productive people offer the general adminis-

are doing their bit for the field by plowing

trative labor that runs the university.) Y o u r


particular expertise can serve for its intrinsic


people's grant


W h i c h brings us t o . . .

usefulness. F o r example, social psychologists k n o w a lot about affiliation, which is useful for student retention; about identity, which is useful for student affairs and housing; about


diversity, which is useful on a multicultural Some wise colleagues pointed out that service

campus; about persuasion, which is useful in

is the least useful tool for acquiring tenure

marketing the university; and so on. In addi-

(Roediger, 2 0 0 3 ; Taylor, 2 0 0 3 ) . Nevertheless,

tion, social psychologists are trained to ana-

tenure, promotion, and collegiality require

lyze a social situation for the variables that

that each person carries some of the shared

matter, t o measure them, and t o interpret

load. Generosity presumably is owed from the

data. F e w other specialties prove as useful in

inside out, in concentric circles.

academic management. T h e other benefits to

In your own program, service helps to

offering your expertise to the



besides being the right thing to do, are that it

leagues' lives. It is to everyone's advantage to

earns you respect among your colleagues and

be part o f a lively, active program, which

gives you ideas for research.

build team spirit and facilitate your

requires some effort on behalf o f the group. Be generous, but don't be a chump. People

Service to our national organizations keeps psychology






FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH reviewing is the most obvious, c o m m o n form

psychological science from

of service. D o your share: Y o u will learn a lot

crazies, w h o wield considerable power and



about current work in the field by people

influence. T h e y must not be the only voices

most relevant to your own areas o f expertise.

telling Americans about psychology. Ditto

Y o u ' l l learn a lot about what it takes to get

granting interviews to the media.

published or funded. You'll keep the enter-

Service to the larger community is a matter

prise going. Y o u ' d be surprised at h o w con-

of conscience. M a n y o f us have active social

troversial peer review can be, outside modern

consciences. Our field is biased to select ideal-

scientific circles. It's a privilege for us to mon-

ists because we believe the interesting variance

itor ourselves, to uphold scientific standards,

lies in the situation. T h e situation is more

and to teach each other. O n e professor called


than variance that

allegedly lies

it on-the-job

wholly within the individual

(e.g., narrow





reviews, write about the manuscript or the

interpretations o f genetics, personality, prior

proposal, not the researcher as a person. Be

development). If you believe that the situation

direct but sensitive to the other person's feel-

influences people, then the answer to social

ings. D o n ' t use reviews to show how smart

problems lies in public policy that changes the

you are, at the other person's expense. D o use

situation. This is a liberal bias. (If you believe

reviews as a teachable moment. For grant

that the interesting variance lies within individ-

reviews, especially, be sure to mention the

uals, then public policy that changes the situa-

strengths o f the proposal. Social psychologists

tion is fruitless; it would be better to minimize

have a reputation for killing each other off,

interventions because people are responsible

leaving no one alive to be funded. Offer some

for their own outcomes. This is a conservative

praise, in case this imperfect proposal is nev-

bias.) Social psychologists tend to favor social

ertheless one o f the better ones and the pro-

change; the largest constituency of the Society

gram officer wants to fund it. Whether you

of the Psychological Study o f Social Issues is

do journal and proposal reviewing at h o m e or

social psychologists. T h e practical use of good

as part o f a review panel that requires travel

theories (Lewin, 1 9 4 3 ) dates back to the

may depend in part on your family situation

origins o f our field, for good reason.

or career stage. Weigh all the factors, but do your share somehow, sometime.

Ethnic minorities and women tend to feel some obligation to give back to their own

T h e mid-range organizations (Society for

communities and to help vulnerable in-group

Personality and Social Psychology, Society o f

members navigate the academic system. (For

Experimental Social Psychology) help all o f us

more on being an academic from one o f

by running journals and conferences. Typical

these groups, see J . M . Jones [ 2 0 0 3 ] and Park

stints on these committees are short, perhaps 3

[2003].) People from underrepresented groups

years, and you're off. If asked, you should do

also get asked to serve on committees precisely

it once in your career. T h e largest psychol-

so that their group is represented. This combi-

ogical organizations cal

(American Psychologi-

Association, American

nation o f factors can increase demands for ser-


vice. In addition are all the informal networks

Society) help all of us by lobbying Congress

that increase advising demands. Especially if

for research funding. N o one else can do it as

you are yourself from an

effectively as they can, and two organizations

group, keep an eye on people at comparable

are better than one. Consider your dues to be

rank. If you are doing a lot more, go to your



chair and discuss the issue. If the person won't

which is expensive but vital. Consider any

help you cut back, do it yourself by saying no

national service to be your bit in protecting

to additional commitments. If you sink under

your contribution

to the lobbying


a Program



an untenable load o f service, you are doing no

control resources. People higher up are less

one any long-run favors.

outcome-dependent on those lower down, so






they are free to attend less carefully. Hence,

remember that service is not portable. Research

they are vulnerable

is portable from job to j o b , and research repu-

(S. T . Fiske, 1 9 9 3 a , 2 0 0 0 ; Goodwin, Gubin,

tations are the ticket to the next job. Teaching

Fiske, & Yzerbyt, 2 0 0 0 ) . M e n and women have

is somewhat portable—the class you prep one

particular kinds of power relations, as well as




place may serve in another place. Service, how-

interdependence, which results in sexism having

ever, is not especially portable, again unless

more than one dimension, sexist male benevo-

you want to build an administrative career.

lence directed toward cooperative female subor-

Although service may earn you local gratitude

dinates, and sexist male hostility directed

and help you to network in the field, you can't

toward competitive female peers and superiors

live on gratitude, so keep a balance.

superiors (both measured by the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory or ASI) (Glick & Fiske, 1 9 9 6 , 2 0 0 1 ) . Social structure shapes reactions to a variety of out-groups, depending on perceived


status and competition, with predictable effects


on perceived traits and emotional prejudices a

(S. T . Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & X u , 2 0 0 2 ) . I give

research program is a bit mad. I have argued

these examples in an effort both to illustrate my

here that the processes o f developing


own social issues perspective and to illustrate

research career are knowable, manageable,

how different lines o f work end up connecting.


generic advice about building

and even fun. In doing this, I have drawn on


do all these personal-intellectual-

my own experience, observations made, and

social research puzzles become programmatic?

advice received. I have definitely drawn from

Some o f the links among these lines o f research

one particular perspective, and others will

are deliberate, such as Peter Glick and me

disagree. (For another perspective on begin-

thinking hard about the nature o f male-female

ning a p r o g r a m

o f research, see Z a c k s

interdependence and power relations, partly as

[ 2 0 0 3 ] ; for several wise perspectives on being

a result o f the prior work on outcome depen-

an academic, see the collection o f chapters in

dency. Some of the links are serendipitous,

Darley, Z a n n a , and Roediger [ 2 0 0 3 ] . )

such as being convinced that


Research careers are highly idiosyncratic,

include more texture than simple antipathy,

and none is a universal example. As noted at

and consequently thinking about envious prej-

the outset, my own research interests admit-

udice against groups all over the world who

tedly derive from a social issues perspective:

immigrate as entrepreneurs (Jews in Europe,

experiences with neighborhood diversity, job-

Indians in East Africa, Chinese in Indonesia,

related sexism, organizational dynamics, and

Koreans in Los Angeles), as well as paternalis-

sheer wonder. M y theoretical approaches have

tic prejudice toward traditional women and

tended to emphasize the importance of social

people with disabilities; only later did we make

structure in understanding these phenomena.

the link to subtypes o f women and the fit to the

Whether people stereotype or individuate each

ASI. Some o f the links are accident, pure and

other depends on situation-driven interaction

simple: M y adviser in graduate school studied

goals (S. T . Fiske, Lin, etal., 1 9 9 9 ; S. T . Fiske

attention in social situations (Taylor & Fiske,

& Neuberg, 1 9 9 0 ) . Attention focuses up the

1 9 7 5 ) , so I became interested in that as a

power hierarchy in organizations

dependent variable. Probably an undergradu-








ate degree in interdisciplinary social relations

FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH set the stage for these intellectual interests.

doing what you love to do figures prominently

People not only are shaped by their environ-

on the agenda. One of the joys and challenges

ments but also choose them. And this is only

of being an academic is that you do set your

one person's story. It is O K to have multiple

own research agenda, largely planning your

passions, to enter new areas, and to learn

own use o f time and energy. Y o u can control

throughout one's career as one moves through

your time and your research life, to some

different environments and areas o f concern.

extent, so managing your research career can

Seemingly separate lines o f work are likely to

be deliberate to some extent. At a minimum,

intersect over the course o f one's career.

being aware o f some o f the processes in devel-

Whatever trajectory you create in building, maintaining, or refreshing a research program,

oping a research program makes you more aware o f the choices.

REFERENCES Abelson, R. P. (1995). Statistics as principled argument. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Asch, S. E. (1946). Forming impressions of personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 41, 2 5 8 - 2 9 0 . Bern, D. J . (2003). Writing the empirical journal article. In J . M . Darley, M . P. Zanna, &C H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Bernstein, D. (2003). Tips for effective teaching. In J . M . Darley, M . P. Zanna, & H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Berscheid, E. (1992). A glance back at a quarter century of social psychology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 5 2 5 - 5 3 3 . Campbell, D. T., &c Fiske, D. W. (1959). Convergent and discriminant validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix. Psychological Bulletin, 56, 81-105. Chaiken, S., & Trope, Y . (Eds.). (1999). Dual process theories in social psychology. New York: Guilford. Cohen, J , (1990). Things I have learned (so far). American Psychologist, 45, 13041312. Dahl, R. A. (1961). Who governs? Democracy and power in an American city. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Darley, J . M . , &c Batson, C. D. (1973). "From Jerusalem to Jericho": A study of situational and dispositional variables in helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 100-108. Darley, J . M . , Zanna, M . P., & Roediger, H. L., III. (Eds.). (2003). The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Feldman, K. A. (1987). Research productivity and scholarly accomplishment of college teachers as related to their instructional effectiveness: A review and exploration. Research in Higher Education, 26, 2 2 7 - 2 9 8 . Fine, M . A., Sc Kurdek, L. A. (1993). Reflections on determining authorship credit American and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations. Psychologist, 48, 1141-1147. Fischhoff, B. (1975). Hindsight is not equal to foresight: The effect of outcome of Experimental knowledge on judgment under uncertainty. Journal 1, 2 8 8 - 2 9 9 . Psychology: Human Perception and Performance,


a Program


Fiske, D. W., 8c Fogg, L. F. (1990). But the reviewers are making different criticisms of my paper! Diversity and uniqueness in reviewer comments. American Psychologist, 45, 5 9 1 - 5 9 8 . Fiske, S. T. (1993a). Controlling other people: The impact of power on stereotyping. American Psychologist, 48, 6 2 1 - 6 2 8 . Fiske, S. T. (1993b). Social cognition and social perception. In M . R. Rosenzweig & L. W. Porter (Eds.), Annual review of psychology (Vol. 4 4 , pp. 155-194). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews. Fiske, S. T. (2000). Interdependence reduces prejudice and stereotyping. In S. Oskamp (Ed.), Reducing prejudice and discrimination (pp. 115-135). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Fiske, S. T. (2002). A case for lumping—neatly: Building bridges within and outside psychological science. American Psychological Society Observer, 15(7), 5, 37. Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J . , Glick, P., 8c X u , J . (2002). A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 878-902. Fiske, S. T., Lin, M . H., 8c Neuberg, S. L. (1999). The Continuum Model: Ten years later. In S. Chaiken 8c Y . Trope (Eds.), Dual process theories in social psy­ chology (pp. 2 3 1 - 2 5 4 ) . New York: Guilford. Fiske, S. T., 8c Neuberg, S. L. (1990). A continuum model of impression formation, from category-based to individuating processes: Influence of information and motivation on attention and interpretation. In M . P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2 3 , pp. 1-74). New York: Academic Press. Fogg, L., 8c Fiske, D. W. (1993). Foretelling the judgments of reviewers and editors. American Psychologist, 48, 2 9 3 - 2 9 4 . Glick, P., 8c Fiske, S. T. (1996). The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 4 9 1 - 5 1 2 . Glick, P. 8c Fiske, S. T. (2001). Ambivalent sexism. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 3 3 , pp. 1 1 5 - 1 8 8 ) . New York: Academic Press. Goodwin, S. A., Gubin, A., Fiske, S. T., 8c Yzerbyt, V. (2000). Power can bias impression formation: Stereotyping subordinates by default and by design. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 3, 2 2 7 - 2 5 6 . Hattie, J . , 8c Marsh, H. W. (1996). The relationship between research and teaching: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66, 5 0 7 - 5 4 2 . Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: Wiley. James, W. (1890). The principles of psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Jones, E. E., 8c Sigall, H. (1971). The bogus pipeline: A new paradigm for measuring affect and attitude. Psychological Bulletin, 76, 349-364. Jones, J . M. (2003). The dialectics of race: Academic perils and promises. In J . M . Darley, M . P. Zanna, 8c H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Lewin, K. (1943). Psychology and the process of group living. Journal of Social Psychology, SPSSI Bulletin, 17, 1 1 3 - 1 3 1 . McGuire, W. J . (1973). The yin and yang of progress in social psychology: Seven koan. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 26, 4 4 6 - 4 5 6 . Milgram, S. (1965). Some conditions of obedience and disobedience to authority. Human Relations, 18, 57-76. Park, D. (2003). Women in academia. In J . M . Darley, M. P. Zanna, 8c H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Roediger, H. L., III. (2003). Managing your career: The long view. In J . M . Darley, M. P. Zanna, & H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Ross, L., &C Nisbett, R. E. (1991). The person and the situation: Perspectives of social psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill. Ross, M., & Sicoly, F. (1979). Egocentric biases in availability and attribution. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 3 2 2 - 3 3 6 . Steele, C. M., Spencer, S. J . , & Aronson, J . (2002). Contending with group image: The psychology of stereotype and social identity threat. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 3 4 , pp. 379-440). San Diego: Academic Press. Steinberg, J . (2003). Obtaining a research grant: The view from the granting agency. In J . M. Darley, M. P. Zanna, & H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Sternberg, R. J . (1993). The psychologist's companion: A guide to scientific writing for students and researchers (3rd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press. Sternberg, R. J . (2003). Obtaining a research grant: The applicant's view. In J . M. Darley, M . P. Zanna, & H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Strunk, W., &£ White, E. B. (2000). Elements of style (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Taylor, S. E., &c Fiske, S. T . (1975). Point of view and perceptions of causality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 4 3 9 - 4 4 5 . Taylor, S. E. (2003). The academic marathon: Controlling one's career. In J . M. Darley, M. P. Zanna, & H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Zacks, J . (2003). Setting up your lab and beginning a program of research. In J . M. Darley, M. P. Zanna, &c H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Zajonc, R. B. (1994). Emotional expression and temperature modulation. In S.H.M. van Goozen & N. E. Van de Poll (Eds.),. Emotions: Essays on emotion theory (pp. 3-27). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Zanna, M. P. (2003). Mentoring: Managing the faculty-graduate student relationship. In J . M . Darley, M. P. Zanna, & H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), The compleat academic: A career guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Part III DESIGN AND ANALYSIS Section A Implications of a Heterogeneous Population: Deciding for Whom to Test the Research Question(s), Why, and How



Culturally Sensitive Research Questions and Methods in Social Psychology JOAN G . MILLER New School



ocial psychology is distinguished by its


attention to the power of the situation

resulting in a need to take culture into account

and to the dynamics o f social groups. It

also is highly sensitive to the active role of the




in all research designs, even in work conducted with single populations.

sense o f experience.

There are many answers to the question of

However, even with this sensitivity to context

why cultural considerations must be consid-

and to processes o f individual construal and

ered in social psychological research. It is per-

meaning making, the field gives little weight to

haps most commonly recognized that we need

observer in making

culture in its theories and methods. T h e present

to attend to culture for methodological

chapter offers methodological strategies for



It is critical to take into account cul-

enhancing the cultural sensitivity o f social psy-

turally related differences in individuals' back-

chology, strategies that are critical in increasing

ground, knowledge, experiences, or outlooks

the field's theoretical power and explanatory

that may differentially affect their understand-

breadth, as well as its applied relevance. While

ings o f methodological procedures and lead to

involving design decisions, entailing such issues

such procedures not having equivalent mean-

as sampling, choice o f procedure, and interpre-

ing for different subgroups. Thus, for example,

tation of findings, the strategies also involve

populations that are unfamiliar with certain


research stimuli may perform poorly on some

conceptual issues, with

strategies for

enhancing the cultural sensitivity o f research

of the standard items included on intelligence

methods in social psychology depending on

tests (Laboratory o f Comparative


understanding the theoretical role o f culture in

Cognition, 1 9 8 3 ) . Likewise, even such mun-

informing the field's core conceptual notions.

dane methodological strategies as tapping

It must

background information at the start of a ques-

be recognized that psychological

experience always occurs in and is, in part,

tionnaire can have detrimental




DESIGN AND ANALYSIS performance for certain subgroups, as research

Bromley, 1 9 7 3 ) , a trend not only believed to

on stereotype threat has documented (Steele &

be universal but also assumed to result from developmental changes in young children's

Aronson, 1 9 9 5 ) . A second motive for attending to cultural

cognitive facilities in abstraction and in the

This type

range of their experiences. M y research docu-

of effort is guided by concerns with assessing

mented that Hindu Indians do not display the

the assumed universality o f existing psycho-


issues is for theory-testing purposes.





logical theories through sampling culturally

observed among U.S. respondents. Rather,

diverse populations, as well as with identifying

they show an age increase in their emphasis on

mediating or moderating variables that affect

contextual factors—an age effect notably not

the manifestation o f particular psychological

observed among U.S. children. This work was

effects. An example o f this type o f approach

important in offering a new explanation of the

may be seen in comparative research that has

processes underlying developmental change in

tested the universality o f Baumrind's highly

social attribution. It became clear that previ-

influential model o f parenting, a framework

ous cognitive and experiential interpretations

that was developed initially based on data

of age changes were incomplete and that it

from middle-class samples (Baumrind, 1 9 9 6 ) .

was critical to recognize that enculturation

This research has uncovered the important

processes contribute to such age changes. It



also became clear that the direction o f devel-

practices that had been found to have negative

opmental change in social attribution is cul-



effects in middle-class environments tend to

turally variable rather

have positive effects in the context o f danger-

previously assumed.

ous and



than universal,



In sum, taking cultural considerations into

which they are associated with the provision

account in social psychological research is

of higher levels o f support and supervision

needed not only for the methodological reasons

(Baldwin, Baldwin, & Cole, 1 9 9 0 ) .

of ensuring the validity o f assessment tech-

Notably, culturally based research is also

niques but also for the theoretical reasons of


testing the universality of psychological theories

with this aim central to the newly

and of formulating new conceptual models.

reemerging perspective of cultural psychology

Extending beyond merely an understanding o f

(e.g., Fiske, Kitayama, M a r k u s , & Nisbett,

diversity in psychological functioning,

1 9 9 8 ; Markus, Kitayama, & Heiman, 1 9 9 6 ;

attention can provide new process understand-

Miller, 1 9 9 7 , 1 9 9 9 ; Shweder, 1 9 9 0 ) . This type

ings o f the psychological functioning of widely

of approach is concerned not merely with

studied Western populations.

increasingly guided by theory goals,


uncovering diversity in modes o f psychological functioning but also with identifying the previously unrecognized cultural dependence


of existing psychological theories. It was this


type o f agenda, for example, that motivated my early cross-cultural developmental investi-

Although recent years have seen a renewed

gation contrasting the everyday social expla-

interest in cultural issues in social psychology,

nations o f samples of Euro-American and

such considerations nonetheless remain in a

Hindu Indian adults and children



position in the field. Whereas

1 9 8 4 ) . Previous developmental research had

increasing efforts are being made to sample

documented an age increase in dispositional

culturally diverse subgroups, most contempo-

inference (Damon & Hart, 1 9 8 2 ; Livesley &c

rary social psychological research centers on

Culturally Sensitive Research




the predominantly middle-class Euro-American

1963) or in the prison simulation study of

college populations that historically have con-

Zimbardo and his colleagues (Haney, Banks

stituted the prototypic population for social

8c Zimbardo, 1973). In another example, this

psychological inquiry. Within the major text-

type o f insight also informs contemporary

books and substantive handbooks in the field,

research on priming and on the mere exposure

basic theory tends to be presented in universal

effect, work that is documenting the power o f

terms. Thus, in some illustrative examples,

situations to influence behavior in ways that

recent major handbooks of social psychology

are outside individuals' conscious awareness

include only a single chapter devoted to cultural

(e.g., Bargh, 1996; Bornstein, Kale, 8c Cornell,

psychology, with the indexes revealing rela-

1990). As approached within this dominant

tively few references to culture in the other

perspective, the situation is treated as present-

chapters in the volumes (e.g., Gilbert, Fiske, 8c

ing a veridical structure that can be known


1998; Higgins & Kruglanski, 1996).

through inductive or deductive information

T o give increasing weight t o sociocultural

processing. N o consideration is given to cul-

considerations in social psychology, it is criti-

ture as necessarily implicated in the definition

cal t o understand the reasons why culture

of the situation or to cultural presuppositions

tends to be downplayed in the field. It is these

as constituting prerequisites o f what is consid-


ered objective knowledge. It is assumed that

through gaining a greater understanding o f

variability in judgment arises from differences

the nature o f cultural processes and their role

in the information available to individuals or

in psychological p h e n o m e n a

from differences in their informative process-

types o f concerns that can be

as well


through the adoption o f m o r e culturally sen-

ing, resulting in certain judgments being more

sitive methodological strategies.

or less cognitively adequate or veridical than others (Nisbett

8c Ross, 1980).

This realist view o f situations gives rise to

Key Reasons for Downplaying of Culture

explanatory frameworks focused on factors in the situation and in the person. Within such

T h e reasons for the downplaying o f cul-

frameworks, culture is viewed merely as a dis-

ture in social psychology are both conceptual

tal causal factor with impacts on psychologi-


cal effects through its influences on proximal

assumptions in the field about the nature o f

situational or person factors, rather than as a

and empirical. T h e y reflect

social psychological explanation as well as


disappointment with the findings from vari-

explanatory force. Thus, for example, in cer-

ous traditions o f culturally based social psy-

tain early models in cross-cultural psychology,

chological research.

such as the eco-cultural model developed by Berry





(1976), the situation is treated as pre-

senting varied resources and constraints that Culture-Free


One o f the landmark



are seen as making varied forms o f psychologi-

contributions o f

cal response adaptive, such as field depen-

social psychology is that it has highlighted the

dence being linked to agricultural modes o f

power o f situations in affecting behavior. It is

subsistence and field independence

this insight that underlies some o f the early

linked to hunting and gathering modes (Berry,


groundbreaking programs o f research docu-

1976; Witkin 8c Berry, 1975). This type o f

menting ways in which situational influences

treatment of the situation, it should be empha-

can lead to antisocial behavior, such as in the

sized, is important in taking into account that

Milgram conformity experiments (Milgram,

individuals from different backgrounds may

DESIGN AND ANALYSIS be exposed to different ecological experiences.

vision as its dominant research

However, it treats culture merely as a consid-

social psychology has a tendency to consider

eration that

is already accommodated


the social psychological focus on situational factors.




as mere


effects and thus as factors that ideally should be held constant in order to focus on isolating

Equally, culture may be treated as an individual difference factor, a stance that is seen,

more fundamental underlying psychological mechanisms (Malpass, 1 9 8 8 ) .

for example, in the enthusiasm shown for assessing culture through individual difference approaches, such as scale measures o f individ-


ualism/collectivism (e.g., see the recent review

and Explanatory


by Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2 0 0 2 ) .

of Psychological


From such a perspective, cultural group mem-


bership is viewed as giving rise to individual differences in attitudes, understandings,


limited interest shown



research within social psychology also reflects


the sense within the discipline that social psy-

available information. Thus, it is viewed as a

chological findings, in fact, have been docu-

consideration that


mented in most cases to be cross-culturally

account in social psychological explanation,

robust and to have considerable explanatory


is taken

through the field's present attention to indi-

scope. It is thus concluded that no significant

vidual differences or person factors.

cross-cultural variation exists in basic psychological phenomena (Brown, 1 9 9 1 ) . The conclusion o f apparent universality in

Physical Ideals of

cross-cultural research is linked with method-


ological strategies o f administering existing


T h e tendency to downplay cultural considerations in social psychology also stems from the field's embrace o f an


physical-science model o f explanation. As Higgins and




explained, this type o f stance involves a view of psychological science as the search for deep structural explanatory mechanisms:

research instruments in diverse cultural settings, after making only minor changes in their content to ensure familiarity, and narrowing the scope of the phenomena being investigated in ways that exclude possibly significant cultural variation. An example o f the first type o f approach may be seen in the extensive body o f cross-cultural research that tested the universality o f Kohlberg's theory o f

A discovery of lawful principles governing a realm of phenomena is a fundamental objective of scientific research. . . . A useful scientific analysis needs to probe beneath the surface. In other words, it needs to get away from the "phenotypic" manifestations and strive to unearth the "genotypes" that may lurk beneath, (p. vii)

moral development, through


standardized Kohlbergian research protocols in more than 4 5 different societies (Snarey, 1 9 8 5 ) . Although the results revealed that the distribution o f the highest levels o f moral development were highly skewed and


highest levels tended to be found primarily in Western urbanized cultures, Kohlberg and his colleagues interpreted the results as confirm-

From this perspective, psychological pro-

ing the universality o f his stage model, because

cesses are viewed as resembling the laws o f

all responses could be seen as either higher or

physical science in being timeless, ahistorical,

lower stages o f Kohlbergian moral

and culturally universal. In adopting




(Kohlberg, 1 9 8 4 ; C. Levine,

Culturally Sensitive Research





disillusionment with cultural research that

example o f the strategy o f adopting method-

was stimulated by M a r k u s and Kitayama's

Kohlberg, &


1 9 8 5 ) . In turn,

arguably exclude

( 1 9 9 1 ) groundbreaking article on culture and

potentially significant sources o f variation

the self, with its introduction o f the distinc-

may be seen in research on the coding o f emo-

tion between independent and interdependent

tional facial expressions. T h e widely accepted

cultural self-construals. O n e o f the

conclusion o f fundamental similarity in basic

widely cited articles ever in social psychology,

emotion concepts that has emerged from the

this work has given rise to extensive research

extensive cross-cultural research conducted on

that has been inspired by this latter construct,

this topic (e.g., Ekman, 1 9 9 2 ; Izard, 1 9 9 2 )

with the focus on examining the extent to

ological procedures that


stems, at least in part, from the use o f proce-

which variation in psychological functioning

dures that tend to gloss over potentially signifi-

can be predicted by scale measures o f this

cant sources o f variation in emotion concepts,

construct (Singelis, 1 9 9 4 ; Triandis, 1 9 9 5 ) .

such as differences in h o w emotion concepts


as recent criticisms o f this

are expressed in everyday language usage, and

rapidly growing literature make clear, the

that downplay the significance of lexicalized

results observed utilizing scale measures o f

emotion terms whose translation into English-


language concepts is inexact (see critique in

have been disappointing (Hong, Morris, Chiu,

Russell, 1 9 9 4 ) .


& Benet-Martinez, 2 0 0 0 ; M a t s u m o t o , 1 9 9 9 ;

Indirect evidence for the universality of psy-

Oyserman et al., 2 0 0 2 ) . M u c h o f the work has

chological theories also comes from the high

been associated with a stereotypical stance

levels o f intercorrelation observed between


psychological constructs. T o illustrate, support

between and within cultures and that gives

glosses over




the universality o f the theory o f self-

insufficient attention to the impact o f context

determination developed by Deci, Ryan, and

on behavior. T h e same type o f sophisticated

their associates (Deci & Ryan, 1 9 8 5 , 1 9 9 0 ) is

understanding o f situational influences that is

based not only on research indicating that scales

evident in mainstream social psychological

of autonomy support show the same empirical

research is not evident in this type o f social

relationships in a country such as Bulgaria as

psychological work, which much o f is focused

they do in U.S. samples (Deci, Ryan, Gagne,

on cultural questions. Notably, work in this

etal., 2 0 0 1 ) but also through studies demon-

tradition is also yielding findings that, in some


cases, appear to contradict directly the claims




predict psychological functioning in related




domains. In this regard, for example, it is

construal paradigm,

demonstrated that self-determined motivation is

reported by Oyserman et al. ( 2 0 0 2 ) , based on

related empirically to such variables as adaptive

their extensive meta-review, that "relationship

parenting, higher self-esteem, and higher stages

and family orientation are not empirically

of Kohlbergian moral development (e.g., Deci,

closely linked to collectivism" (p. 4 3 ) .

such as the



Ryan, Gagne, etal., 2 0 0 1 ; Grolnick, Deci, & Ryan, 1 9 9 7 ; Grolnick & Ryan, 1 9 8 9 ) .

Disappointment Cultural




Recent Research


remainder o f this chapter focuses on

Finally, the downplaying o f the signifi-

specific methodological research strategies

cance o f cultural research also reflects certain

that are important t o adopt in enhancing the


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS cultural sensitivity o f social psychological

Symbolic approaches




research. Before turning directly to these

shared meanings that are embodied in arti-

methodological strategies, however,

facts and practices and that form a medium


tion first focuses briefly on some o f the

for human development (e.g., Cole, 1 9 9 5 ;

conceptual issues that must


D'Andrade, 1 9 8 4 ; R . A. LeVine, 1 9 8 4 ; Shore,

methodological efforts and that respond to

1 9 9 6 ) . It is recognized that cultural meanings

some o f the reasons for the field's downplay-

and practices not only represent experience


ing o f culture noted above. These considera-

but also are constitutive o f experience, in

tions bear on the nature o f culture and its

serving to create socially constituted realities

influences on psychological processes.

(Bartlett, 1 9 3 2 ) . F o r example, not only do social categories and institutions depend on cultural

Views of Culture From an ecological perspective, culture is understood


(e.g., "bride,"


riage"), but even psychological concepts are

as adaptations

to the


recognized to be, in part, culturally based. Thus, as seen in the example o f the Japanese

requirements of contrasting physical and social

concept o f amae

structural environments (e.g., Bronfenbrenner,

even psychological phenomena, such as emo-

1 9 7 9 ; Whiting & Whiting, 1 9 7 5 ) . Ecological

tions, depend in part on cultural distinctions

approaches to culture are o f value in highlight-


ing the varied resources and constraints that

discourse, and

individuals from different sociocultural com-

(Shweder, 1 9 8 4 ; Wierzbicka, 2 0 0 2 ) .


(Dot, 1 9 9 2 ; Russell, 1 9 9 1 ) ,

in natural

language categories,


social practices

munities experience and that influence their

Challenging the identification of cultural pro-

behavior. For example, ecological frameworks

cesses exclusively with the situational factors

have informed most contemporary psychologi-

taken into account in social psychological expla-

cal studies with U.S. minority populations,

nation, a symbolic approach to culture high-

and this work is calling attention to ways in

lights the need to recognize that



meanings do not bear a one-to-one relationship

resources and their experiences of bias and dis-

to objective aspects of the situation. Culture


then cannot be understood merely by consider-

individuals' affect

access to important


social, and health outcomes (e.g., M c L o y d &c


ation of the objective affordances and con-

Flanagan, 1 9 9 0 ; Neighbors & Jackson, 1 9 9 6 ) .

straints o f particular contexts but

It may be noted, however, that whereas eco-

requires taking into account cultural beliefs, val-

logical approaches to culture extend the domi-

ues, and practices that are not purely function-

nant social psychological models in their

ally based. T o give an example, research has


recognition that the adaptive context for psy-

shown that Japanese teachers consider the ideal

chological development is culturally variable,

teacher/student ratio in preschools to be consid-

rather than universal, these approaches retain a

erably higher than do their U.S. counterparts

view o f the context as an objective environ-

(Tobin, W u , & Davidson, 1 9 8 9 ) . The decisive

ment. In this respect, then, while essential, such

consideration notably is not the consideration o f

approaches do not challenge the traditional

higher cost in teacher salaries but the value of

social psychological explanatory focus


socializing children to be competent members

features o f the person and of the objective

of social groups. As one Japanese teacher

situation. For this reason, it is critical to

explained, "Children need to have the experi-

complement ecological approaches to culture

ence of being in a large group in order to learn


to relate to lots of kinds of children in lots of






kinds o f situations" (Tobin et al., 1 9 8 9 , p. 3 7 ) .

Culturally Sensitive Research

Integrating Cultural Considerations With Situational and Person Factors Finally, it must be recognized that cultural considerations complete but do not replace the focus on situational and person factors in


diverse populations.



Given the reality o f

psychological experience always occurring in specific cultural contexts, sensitivity to cultural issues is needed in all social psychological investigations.

social psychological explanation. This implies that hypotheses involving cultural influences need to be formulated in ways that take into account both contextual variation and individual differences. Equally, it must be recognized that in many cases the impact o f individual difference and o f contextual factors may themselves be culturally variable. For example, research has shown that whereas U.S. respondents utilize more abstract self-references in a task context that is abstract as compared with concrete, Japanese respondents



opposite effect of context (Cousins, 1 9 8 9 ) . In sum, the key to enhancing the cultural sensitivity o f social psychology is understanding culture and its role in psychological functioning. Attention must be paid to culture as an ecological context that presents certain objective affordances and constraints, as well as to culture as a symbolic environment that entails certain meanings and practices that are not entirely functionally based. It must be recognized that a consideration o f culture does not replace an attention to person and situational factors but contributes an additional dimension to social psychological explanation.



As a field, social psychology bases many o f its research hypotheses, in part, on informal observations


by researchers


behavioral effects that they have observed or personally experienced. In this regard, it is not uncommon for social psychologists to draw on informal personal anecdotes as a preliminary way of communicating to readers the nature o f a particular effect. In fact, it has even been argued that much o f the success o f social psychology, in terms o f the generative nature of its ideas and its applied relevance, reflects this interplay between lay understandings and formal scientific inquiry. As Moscovici once commented: The real advance made by American social psychology was . . . in the fact that it took for its theme of research and for the content of its theories the issues of its own society. Its merit was as much in its techniques as in translating the problems of American society into sociopsychological terms and in making them an object of scientific inquiry. (1972, p. 19) A concern that may be raised about this


type o f stance, however, entails its cultural boundedness. T h e assumptions that make the research questions and hypotheses o f social

Building on the conceptual issues discussed

psychology compelling for North American

above, this section identifies methodological

psychologists, because they speak to issues that

strategies that are valuable to adopt in efforts

are familiar and

to enhance the cultural sensitivity o f social

tribute to making them less significant for

psychology. T h e strategies discussed include

researchers from other cultural groups who

considerations that are important not only in

may not share these same cultural experiences


also in

and outlooks. As conveyed in the following

research that does not focus explicitly on cul-

firsthand account by a Chinese psychologist,

tural questions and/or on tapping culturally

individuals from other cultural backgrounds

research designs but

socially meaningful,






may find that their own assumptions


concerns are not adequately taken into account: I found the reasons why doing Westernized psychological research with Chinese subjects was no longer satisfying or rewarding to me. When an American psychologist, for example, was engaged in research, he or she could spontaneously let his or her American cultural and philosophical orientations and ways of thinking be freely and effectively reflected in choosing a research question, defining a concept, constructing a theory and designing a method. On the other hand, when a Chinese psychologist in Taiwan was conducting research, his or her strong training by overlearning the knowledge and methodology of American psychology tended to prevent his or her Chinese values, ideas, concepts and ways of thinking from being adequately reflected in the successive stages of the research process. (Yang, 1997, p. 65)

(McLoyd, 1990); in psychology of women, women generally refers to White women (Reid, 1988). When we mean other than White, it is specified. (Reid, 1994, p. 525) It must be recognized that there is no single human population that can serve as a normative baseline for understanding







Shweder & Sullivan, 1 9 9 3 ) . In working to gain an understanding o f cultural






researcher's own background, it is important to seek cultural knowledge that, as far as is feasible, is nuanced and specific to the particular group under consideration. This implies that researchers should avoid turning to the widely utilized scale measures o f individualism/collectivism to provide this type of insight, because o f the limited cultural sensitivity o f such measures (Miller, 2 0 0 2 ) . Fortunately, whereas some commitment is required on the

As Y a n g suggests, there is a sense in which

part o f the researcher to make the necessary

culturally specific themes influence all phases

effort to acquire a greater understanding o f

of the research process, often unintentionally

other cultural viewpoints, many strategies are

excluding certain other cultural sensibilities.

available for achieving this goal.

T h e present considerations highlight the



importance, as part o f the initial phase o f any






other cultures

obtaining involves


drawing from relevant research literature in

researchers working to enhance their under-

related fields, such as anthropology and socio-

standing both o f their own cultural back-

linguistics, work that in many instances may

grounds and o f those o f their

be ethnographic in nature. In the case o f my





populations and o f challenging the tendency

own research in India, for example, I was able

within psychology to privilege the perspec-

to develop insight into Hindu Indian culture

tives o f middle-class Euro-Americans. As


Reid ( 1 9 9 4 ) observed:

and philosophical literature on Hindu Indian


available anthropological

beliefs, practices, values, and everyday family Culture has not so much been ignored in mainstream research as it has been assumed to be homogeneous, that is, based on a standard set of values and expectations primarily held by White and middle-class populations. The research literature across the subdisciplinary areas in psychology demonstrates clearly this assumption of cultural homogeneity. For example, in developmental psychology, children means White children

life. Notably, one can see the same kind o f stance as having informed the perspective adopted by M a r k u s and Kitayama ( 1 9 9 1 ) in their seminal article on culture and the self. Thus, although they proposed a global distinction linked to individualism/collectivism, the references cited in the article are grounded primarily in interdisciplinary research focused specifically on Japan.

Culturally Sensitive Research C o l l a b o r a t i n g with

a member




o f the

as expressed within a group context. Focus

comparison cultural community under con-

groups offer the advantage o f being highly

sideration represents another valuable strat-

flexible and can be employed effectively both

egy for gaining cultural knowledge, one that

to explore general cultural concerns and to tap

may be particularly useful in cases in which

respondents' open-ended reactions to issues

there is little or no available research litera-

identified as o f theoretical interest in a partic-

ture on a particular community. Ideally, such

ular research program.

collaborations should



w h o have both insider and outsider knowledge o f the cultures under



(Greenfield, 1 9 9 7 a ) . Collaborations o f this

Attention needs to be given t o the cultural

type have been extremely generative in recent

implications o f different types o f sampling

cultural research in social psychology, as illus-

strategies. In this regard, effort should be

trated by the growing numbers o f studies

made to go beyond the present tendency for

being conducted involving researchers drawn

most social psychological research t o be con-

from the United States and from various East

ducted on convenience samples o f college

Asian cultural groups (e.g., J i &


2 0 0 0 ; Peng & Nisbett, 1 9 9 9 ) .

students. In fact, the need to go beyond convenience samples has been emphasized in the

Greater cultural understanding also may be

National Institutes o f Health's recent man-

obtained through building into research pro-

date to address minority inclusion (or scien-

jects, as a prelude to formal data collection,

tifically justify exclusion) explicitly as part o f

activities and procedures that focus on gaining

all currently submitted grant proposals.

insight into the outlooks and practices o f particular cultural populations. This can entail spending time in such communities conduct-


ing informal observations. F o r example, in the


case o f my first series o f studies in India, I lived



T h e prototypic sampling strategy in social

for several months in Mysore, India, prior to

psychology is noncomparative, with

initiating any formal data collection, as a

research experimentally manipulating situa-

means o f gaining insight into the

tional effects or assessing individual differ-



through observing and participating in every-

ences, while tapping a population (generally

day life. In cases in which it is not feasible to

college students) that is treated as though it is

undertake informal preliminary observations

homogeneous and can provide grounds for

of this type, focus group techniques provide a

making universal claims. In efforts to increase

highly valuable approach that may be utilized

the cultural sensitivity o f this type o f sampling

to gain cultural insight (Hughes & D u M o n t ,

practice, it is essential not only for researchers

1 9 9 3 ; Knodel, 1 9 9 3 ) . A form o f organized

to acknowledge potential limitations on the

small-group discussions, focus groups consti-

generality o f their findings from this type of

tute small groups that investigators assemble

design but also to give greater conceptual

and engage in processes o f informal group dis-

attention to the nature o f these limitations.

cussion, as a means o f tapping participants'

T h u s , qualifications on the generality o f

personal experiences and reactions to particu-

results should not be issued in a perfunctory

lar topics (Powell & Single, 1 9 9 6 , p. 4 9 9 ) . T h e

way. Rather, it is important for researchers to

goal o f focus groups is to make possible the

address in what specific

gathering of qualitative information regarding

be anticipated t o be culturally bound

the attitudes, beliefs, and feelings o f participants,

alternatively, the question o f for what

respects a claim may or,



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS reasons it is likely to prove universal. In short,

motivated either by a concern with obtaining

serious attention needs to be given to the cul-

normative data or by the methodological

tural meaning o f research findings, even when

requirements o f particular research method-

employing sampling designs that are noncom-

ologies, such as ethnographic or case study

parative in nature and not explicitly focused


on cultural questions.

Sampling o f single cultural populations is

Equally, greater effort must be paid to

increasingly being adopted in research as a

unplanned sources o f cultural heterogeneity

means o f working to expand the normative

that exist within particular research samples

baseline for psychological theory, with such

and that are commonly overlooked in the

efforts encouraged by major U.S. funding


stance o f treating populations

organizations, such as the National Science


they are culturally homogeneous.

Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes o f

Thus, whenever there are sufficiently large

Health (NIH), in their issuing o f specific calls


numbers o f participants in different cultural

for research with underrepresented minority

subgroups to make this feasible, effort should

populations. It is recognized that psychologi-

be made to conduct separate analyses o f

cal theory can effectively be made more cul-

effects within subgroups to observe empiri-

turally inclusive only when its descriptive base

cally whether similar results obtain in all cases.

is broadened to include information about

It is recommended that subgroups be analyzed

psychological functioning in diverse cultural

at levels that are linked with cultural traditions

samples. This type o f sampling approach, it

and that attend as well to issues o f socioeco-

may be noted, also is occurring through the

nomic status. It is important that analyses o f

increasing internationalization o f social psy-

this type be undertaken in ways that are sensi-

chology, with new journals, such as the Asian

tive to areas o f overlap and



of Social



between subgroups. As theorists have empha-

work on exclusively Asian samples, even as

sized (Hermans & Kempen, 1 9 9 8 ; Phinney,

the journal also publishes comparative studies.

1 9 9 9 ) , cultures assume hybrid forms as a

Sampling o f single cultural


result of the many interconnections and trans-

represents the strategy o f choice in ethno-

formations occurring between populations,

graphic or case study research, in which the

and thus it is problematic to conceptualize cul-

focus is on a single cultural setting, if not on

tures as discrete geographically defined enti-

a single population from that setting. T o illus-

ties. Nonetheless, taking group membership

trate, ethnographic w o r k conducted

into account provides a vehicle for giving

inner-city African American families is pro-


"voice" to the outlooks o f different communi-


ties, perspectives that may be obscured in


stances that deny the possibility o f making

stresses experienced within such commun-

any distinctions between groups on cultural


grounds (Jahoda, 1 9 8 6 ; Miller, 1 9 9 7 ) .

coping observed (e.g., Burton, Allison, &





o f the of






Obeidallah, 1 9 9 5 ; Jarrett, 1 9 9 5 ) , Noncomparative



of noncomparative



recent ethnographic w o r k among urban street





gangs is affording access to study populations and settings that generally remain untapped cultural

by questionnaire or survey approaches (e.g.,

populations also may be utilized effectively

Heath, 1996).

in research that is focused explicitly on cul-

graphic case study techniques are adopted

tural questions. These projects generally are

commonly in w o r k by sociocultural theorists

In another example, ethno-

Culturally Sensitive Research




(e.g., Cole, 1 9 9 6 ) in their examination o f h o w

1 9 9 1 ; Miller, 1 9 9 4 ) but also from the focus

use o f cultural tools or modes o f cultural

on maintaining good interpersonal relations that is more central in J a p a n (Shimizu, 2 0 0 1 ) .

social organization affect cognition.

Notably, these examples do not imply that distinct psychological theories need to be forComparative Sampling


mulated for every cultural or



group (see arguments for generality in Miller, designs

2 0 0 1 b , 2 0 0 2 ) ; however, they caution against

are employed c o m m o n l y in research that

the tendency, which is reflected in the con-

tests the universality o f particular psychologi-

temporary widespread reliance on measures

Comparative cultural


cal effects or that examines cultural variation

of independent/interdependent self-construals,

in basic psychological constructs and theo-

to adopt comparative designs that gloss over

ries. In such work, it is important for sam-

this type o f significant variation.

pling decisions t o be culturally nuanced.

As emphasized in recent anthropological

In utilizing comparative studies to examine

work on culture (e.g., Shore, 1 9 9 6 ; Strauss 8 t

cultural influences on social psychological

Quinn, 1 9 9 7 ) , it also is important to give

phenomena, greater consideration must be

more attention to within-culture variation in

given to the distinctive nature o f cultural ori-

perspectives related to factors such as socio-

entations (e.g., Dien, 1 9 9 9 ; Harkness, Super,

economic status and even place. This implies

& van Tijen, 2 0 0 0 ) . Equally, greater atten-

adopting more fluid outlooks on

tion needs to be paid t o the overlap and het-

boundaries and avoiding the c o m m o n ten-



dency in psychology to identify cultures with

illustrate, cultural research is pointing to fun-

nation states or even larger units, as when





damental variation in psychological processes


that is subtler in form than is captured in the

American" cultures. Illustrating the informa-






individualism/collectivist dichotomy. T h u s ,

tive nature o f such a stance, research has

for example, the concern with affection and

uncovered variation in individualism across

respect that R o b i n H a r w o o d , Nydia Irizarry,

different regions o f the United States (Plaut,

and I (Harwood, Miller, fit Irizarry, 1 9 9 5 )

M a r k u s , 8c Lachman, 2 0 0 2 ; Vandello 8c

have found to be central to the outlooks on

Cohen, 1 9 9 9 ) as well as documented qualita-


tive variation in forms o f individualism linked


by Puerto


mothers differs not only from the focus on balancing


emphasized assumed




to socioeconomic status (Kusserow, 1 9 9 9 ) .





theory (e.g.,

Ainsworth, 1 9 7 8 ) but also from the concern

Representativeness Equivalence


and Sampling

with amae identified within Japanese popula-

Although it is important to address con-

tions (Rothbaum, Weisz, Pott, M i y a k e , 8c

cerns about the anticipated cultural general-

Morelli, 2 0 0 0 ; Yamaguchi, 2 0 0 1 ) . Equally,

ity o f results, it also must be recognized that

the voluntaristic outlook on


representative sampling is not an essential

morality that is assumed in Carol Gilligan's

feature o f culturally based research designs

morality o f caring model (Gilligan, 1 9 8 2 ) dif-

and, with the exception o f large-scale sur-

fers not only from the interpersonal moral

veys, it is rarely achieved in social psychol-

outlooks based on dharma


that tend to be

researchers w h o are sampling U.S. college

Buddhist populations (Huebner 8 t Garrod,

students need to tap a representative sample




ogy. J u s t as there is n o expectation that





of college students from across the nation,

valuable in two-group research designs, given

much less the world, there should be n o

the many uncontrolled sources o f variation

expectation that researchers w h o may be


m a y influence any effect




Campbell, 1 9 7 9 ) . Use o f this type o f compara-

Japanese college students need t o tap popu-

tive sampling is illustrated in my early cross-



cultural research on social attribution (Miller,

Americans, much less o f all Japanese. T h i s

1 9 8 4 ) . In that investigation, the central cross-

implies that reviewers should not utilize rep-

cultural comparisons involved middle-class

resentative sampling as a criterion in evaluat-

Hindu Indian and middle-class Euro-American










ing culturally based psychological research

samples. However, to evaluate potential alter-

because such a standard would lead to all

native interpretations of the results, additional

such w o r k being appraised negatively, with

sampling was undertaken both of a lower-class

the exception o f large-scale survey designs.

Hindu Indian sample and of a Westernized

In lieu o f the criterion o f samples being rep-

middle-class Christian Anglo-Indian sample.

resentative, however, concern needs to be

The finding that no effects o f socioeconomic

given to achieving equivalence in the popula-


tions tapped in comparative studies and in

Hindu subgroups provided evidence to suggest

individuals' responses to research stimuli.

that differences in wealth could not explain the

Given the skewing o f samples that can result,

attributional variation observed in the main

were observed within the


matching samples on preexisting background

U.S./India cross-cultural comparison. T h e find-

characteristics should be avoided or utilized

ing that Anglo-Indians displayed a pattern of

only to a minimal extent. Rather, it is prefer-


able, to the extent feasible, to identify naturally

between that observed among the middle-class

occurring samples that are as comparable as

Hindu Indian and middle-class U.S. samples

possible, in terms o f background characteris-

lent support to the claim that a tendency to





tics salient in the particular study (Cole &c

emphasize personality factors in social attribu-

Means, 1 9 8 6 ) . T o control for possible con-

tion is related to Westernization.

founding preexisting group differences, use also may be made of such statistical control techniques as covariate analysis or the partial-

Culture as Process

ing out o f variance. T o illustrate, in one study

Within contemporary social psychology,

in which we assessed U.S. and Indian respon-

widespread use is made o f the scale measure


of independent/interdependent self-construals





research vignettes, we observed that the two

developed by Singelis ( 1 9 9 4 ) as well as o f

groups differed in their perceptions o f the com-

other measures o f individualism/collectivism

monness of the vignettes portrayed (Bersoff &c

developed by researchers in the tradition o f

Miller, 1 9 9 3 ) . T o control for this a priori dif-

cross-cultural psychology (see, e.g., Triandis,

ference, we utilized a regression procedure to

1 9 9 5 ) . Interest also is shown in priming as

partial out the variance predicated by partici-

a way o f simulating cultural effects under

pants' commonness ratings from their moral

experimentally controlled conditions

reasoning responses (Bersoff & Miller, 1 9 9 3 ) .

H o n g et al., 2 0 0 0 ; Oyserman et al., 2 0 0 2 ) .


The inclusion of control samples in research

However, serious limitations exist in both o f

designs is a valuable strategy that may be

these strategies, leaving a need to adopt more

employed in efforts to rule out alternative

dynamic methodological approaches.

interpretations o f particular effects related to

As critics have noted (e.g., Miller, 2 0 0 2 ;

sampling—a technique that is particularly

Strauss, 2 0 0 0 ) , scale measures of individualism/

Culturally Sensitive Research





collectivism and o f independent/interdependent

understanding other cultural meanings t o

self-construals subsume cultural variation into

which the response is linked. Dispositional

two fundamental types, a stance that glosses

and situational inferences are generated in all

over variation in outlooks that exists between

cultural groups, with their display affected

and within different cultural communities.

by contextual factors. T h u s , when individu-

Furthermore, individual items on these scales

als m a k e a dispositional or situational infer-

tend to portray collectivist cultures in some-

ence in a priming task, this may be merely

what pejorative terms and to lack adequate

because the prime is serving as a contextual

construct validity. Such characteristics may be

manipulation and not because it represents a

seen in the inclusion o f items that portray the

manipulation o f cultural outlook per se.

self as subordinate to the group in collectivist


lieu o f utilizing scale measures


outlooks. As recent research has shown, how-

assess individualism/collectivism or priming

ever, the self may be experienced as satisfied

approaches to tap cultural processes, it is



and fulfilled, rather than as subordinated, in the


fulfillment of the types o f role expectations








emphasized in various collectivist communities

(Greenfield, 1 9 9 7 a ) . This includes tapping

(e.g., Iyengar & Lepper, 1 9 9 9 ; Miller, in press-

m o r e directly the psychological processes

fa; Miller & Bersoff, 1 9 9 4 ) . Measures of indi-

that are implicated in particular culturally

vidualism/collectivism also are problematic in

variable psychological responses as well as

treating psychological processes as bearing a

assessing the everyday cultural routines and

one-to-one relationship to cultural outlooks, a

practices that support such responses.

stance that fails to recognize the extent to which

Methodological approaches that tap the

behavior is normatively based rather than

psychological processes underlying particular

reflective of individual attitudes or personality

effects include such strategies as assessing

(Shweder, 1 9 7 9 ; T a k a n o & Osaka, 1 9 9 9 ) .

online processing as well as

Given these many weaknesses, it is not surpris-

culturally variable patterns

ing that many results obtained utilizing individ-


ualism/collectivism scales are o f questionable

processing involves evaluating

validity (Matsumoto, 1 9 9 9 ; Oyserman etal.,

immediately as it is encountered and contrasts

2 0 0 2 ; T a k a n o & Osaka, 1 9 9 9 ) . For example,

with cognitive processing based on long-term



identifying functional




whereas findings within the United States based

memory T h e use o f online processing to


explore cultural influences is illustrated in a

individualism/collectivism scales


Latinos as no higher in collectivism than Euro-

recent comparative study on the correspon-

Americans (Coon &

Kemmelmeier, 2 0 0 1 ) ,

dence bias, an attributional tendency in which

such a finding does not accord with the conclu-

an individual's dispositions are seen as corre-

sions stemming from research that does not rely

sponding to his or her behavior even when

on individualism/collectivism measures (e.g.,

the behavior is socially constrained (Miyamoto

Delgado-Gaitan, 1 9 9 4 ; Harwood et al., 1 9 9 5 ) .

& Kitayama, 2 0 0 2 ) . This investigation not

It also is problematic to utilize priming

only demonstrated that Japanese respondents

approaches to simulate cultural processes

are less vulnerable to this bias than are U.S.

and to measure individualism/collectivism.


As discussed elsewhere (Miller, 2 0 0 2 ) , it is

that this difference is linked to contrasting

but also importantly


n o t possible to interpret a particular behav-

types o f online attitudinal inferences. Thus, it

ioral response, such as a dispositional infer-

was demonstrated that, in contrast to the U.S.

ence, that might be primed as reflective o f an

respondents, the Japanese respondents were

individualistic or collectivist outlook without

more situationally focused in their online


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS inferences. In turn, the approach o f identifying

cultural understanding, this sensitivity is a

culturally variable patterns


matter o f ensuring both that measures are

relationships is illustrated in cross-cultural

equivalent in meaning for different popula-

research highlighting the contrasting cultural

tions and that they are culturally informative.



T h e first issue represents a long-standing con-

has been demonstrated that whereas social

cern in cross-cultural psychology and bears

reticence tends to be linked to negative out-

fundamentally on issues o f reducing bias in

comes in family and school contexts within

comparative research designs (for extended


discussion o f these issues, see, e.g., Greenfield,


accorded to

shyness. T h u s ,

American cultural settings


1 9 9 4 ) , it is linked to positive family and

1 9 9 7 a , 1 9 9 7 b ; van de Vijver, 2 0 0 1 ; van de

school outcomes within China (Chen, Rubin,

Vijver &c Leung, 1 9 9 7 ) . In turn, the second issue, which to date has received more limited

& Li, 1 9 9 5 ) . Greater effort also needs to be paid to assessing Greenfield,





1 9 9 7 a ; M a r k u s , Mullally,


Kitayama, 1 9 9 7 ; Phinney & Landin, 1 9 9 8 ; Shweder,



attention, bears on ensuring that the constructs tapped in psychological


instruments are sufficiently culturally inclusive to accommodate diverse outlooks.


In terms of ensuring the equivalence of

Markus, & Miller, 1 9 9 8 ) . T h e value of this

measuring instruments in different cultural or

type o f approach

is illustrated

in recent



it is critical not

research by Evans ( 2 0 0 1 ) which showed that

merely to adopt such conventional strategies


as the use o f back translation but also to take

in the receptivity to creationist

beliefs among fundamentalist

vs. nonfunda-

into account the contrasting expectations,

mentalist U.S. Christian families could be

social knowledge, values, and modes o f com-

explained, in part, by the families' everyday


social practices such as having books


different sociocultural backgrounds. T o illus-

dinosaurs in their homes and attending church

trate, certain populations may be unfamiliar

regularly. Likewise, in a different example, it

with the convention that psychological tests


by individuals


has been by focusing on differences in everyday

are not designed to measure socially useful

social practices in schools and homes, such as

information and thus may respond to an I Q -

time spent on academic tasks and styles of

type measure with an answer that is pragmat-

teaching, that Stevenson and his colleagues

ically useful but that is scored as incorrect

have been able to identify the cultural pro-

according to the norms

cesses that underlie the dramatic differences in

Greenfield, 1 9 9 7 b ) . F o r example, village pop-

mathematics achievement that distinguish U.S.

ulations have been observed to respond spon-


taneously in object-sorting cognitive tasks by

Chinese and Japanese schoolchildren

(Stevenson &

Lee, 1 9 9 0 ; Stigler, Lee,


of the test (e.g.,

grouping items into functionally meaningful

Stevenson, 1 9 8 7 ) . (For work utilizing situation

pairings (e.g., grouping a knife and potato

sampling techniques to assess cultural prac-

together because the knife is used to cut the

tices, see, e.g., Kitayama, Markus, Matsumoto,

potato) rather than into the taxonomic group-

& Norasakkunkit, 1 9 9 7 . )

ings expected by the researchers (e.g., grouping all implement items together, all food

Culturally Appropriate


Finally, it is critical that the procedures

items together) (Cole, Gay, Glick, & Sharp, 1 9 7 1 ) . Interestingly, this type o f difference can lead, in certain cases, to various populations

in social psychological

experiencing difficulty in responding to multiple-

research be culturally sensitive. Presupposing

choice questions. Thus, in research among the


are adopted

Culturally Sensitive Research





Zinacantecan M a y a , Greenfield and Childs

specific assumptions and need to be broadened

( 1 9 7 7 ) observed that respondents with limited

conceptually to a c c o m m o d a t e the


schooling treated the multiple options pro-

outlooks o f contrasting cultural and subcul-

vided in multiple-choice questionnaires as pat-

tural populations. Until this is done, the field

terns to be put together to create a larger

will continue to yield results that, while iden-

meaning, rather than

tifying apparent

as discrete


universals, are based


whose only function is to test understanding.

methods that lack sufficient cultural sensitivity

T h e social context o f the test situation also

to succeed in tapping the cultural variability

may affect the level o f comfort that individu-

that exists. It is this property o f present psy-

als experience in testing situations and their

chological research methodology, in fact, that

readiness to respond. Thus, for example,

leads psychological research to form some-

Mexican-immigrant parents within the United

what o f a closed system, in which it becomes

States spontaneously use questioning less fre-

difficult to produce findings that challenge the

quently as a conversational strategy at home

explanatory scope o f existing theoretical mod-

than do Euro-American parents, a cultural dif-

els and in which results on diverse psychologi-

ference that is reflected in the former being

cal measures tend to be highly intercorrelated

more reluctant to answer questions in stan-

(Miller, in press-a). Thus, for example, it was

dard interviewing situations (Delgado-Gaitan,

only when researchers developed new concep-

1 9 9 4 ; Greenfield, 1 9 9 7 b ) .

tual models for understanding morality, such

Notably, in working to ensure the cross-

as in Gilligan's ( 1 9 8 2 ) morality o f caring

group appropriateness o f measures, equiva-

framework and in various cultural approaches

lence needs to be achieved at the level o f

(e.g., Miller, 1 9 9 4 ; Snarey, 1 9 8 5 ) , as well as

meaning, a feature that may require utilizing

provided methodologies that were sensitive

somewhat different objective procedures in

enough to tap this variation, that the conclu-


sion o f the universality o f the Kohlbergian



As Greenfield

observed, "the use o f parallel


across cultures . . . works best when cultures are not t o o different. . . the use o f

model of moral development was challenged effectively.


T h e present considerations highlight the

across cultures

need for researchers to be m o r e aware o f the

works best when the cultures are very differ-

extent to which the response options pro-

ent" (p. 3 0 8 ) . T o illustrate use o f this type o f

vided on standard questionnaires or coding

strategy, in my early cross-cultural attribution

schemes may lack sufficient cultural sensitiv-

research (Miller, 1 9 8 4 ) , my decision to have

ity t o succeed in tapping the outlooks o f




individuals explain events from their own


experiences, rather than to respond to identi-

example, in the scales utilized in research on

cal experimentally constructed event situa-

self-determination theory (e.g., Deci & Ryan,





tions that I supplied to them, was motivated

1 9 8 7 ) , the " e x t e r n a l " motivational orienta-

by a sense that greater equivalence in meaning

tion is conceptualized as a stance involving

could be obtained in this way, since the

the fear o f external sanctions, as reflected in

behaviors being explained would have greater

items such as "Because I will get in trouble if

ecological validity for all cultural and age

I don't do well," whereas the "identified"


and "intrinsic" motivational stances are con-

In turn, to ensure the cultural inclusiveness o f research methods, it is critically important

ceptualized as involving autonomous


vidual interest, as reflected in items such as

to recognize that many assessment instru-

"Because I w a n t t o understand the subject"

ments currently in use embody

and "Because it's important to me t o do




my h o m e w o r k . " These types o f response alternatives, however, do not capture



view o f social e x p e c t a t i o n s

In conclusion, bringing culture more centrally

emphasized in a culture such as Hindu India,

into the methods o f social psychology is inte-


in which the motive to uphold duty relates t o

grally related to bringing culture more cen-

spiritual fulfillment, not fear o f sanctions or

trally into the constructs and theories o f the

mere social conformity (Miller, in press-b).

field. As has been argued here, the relative

T o give another example, the emphasis on

invisibility o f culture in social psychology, and



in psychology more generally, stems in part

Chinese Americans, as C h a o ( 1 9 9 4 ) points

from the limited attention that we give it in




out, includes an emphasis on positive affect

our theories, as well as from our adoption o f

in conjunction with highly directive parental

methods that are insufficiently sensitive to the

behavior. It then is not accommodated in the

impact o f cultural processes on psychological

theoretical framework

o f parenting


phenomena. As M a t s u m o t o ( 2 0 0 1 ) recently

oped by Baumrind, which presents a scheme



"all psychologists are cross-


cultural in some way; the only difference is in

behavior into alternatives that link parenting

whether they are aware o f the cultures being

either to an affectively harsh stance ("author-


itarian" parenting) or to stances that are

explicit or implicit in their w o r k " (p. ix).

conceptualizing and


much less directive (i.e., either


tive" or "permissive" parenting). o f the

this comparison


The effort to make social psychology more culturally inclusive must build on the com-

T o address the issue o f the insufficient culturally inclusive nature

and whether


plexity and sophistication o f the discipline, with the onus

on cultural

researchers to

tapped in many existing psychological mea-

develop approaches to culture that, in their

suring instruments, the constructs embodied

attention to the nuances o f cultural outlooks

in our methods need to be expanded. Thus, to

and to the contextual dependence and often

give an example, cultural researchers have

implicit nature o f psychological phenomena,

argued for including the construct o f relation-

embody the rich insights o f contemporary

ship harmony and not only the construct o f

social psychology. Equally critical, however, is

self-esteem in tapping the predictors o f life

the need to overcome the complacency of

satisfaction (Kwan, Bond, & Singelis, 1 9 9 7 ) .

social psychology, which has resulted in rele-

It is also valuable t o utilize assessment instru-

gating culture to a peripheral role as a mere

ments that are less constraining o f response

descriptive enterprise with little implication

options and more accommodating t o diverse

for basic theory. As has been shown, the con-

cultural viewpoints. T h u s , in my own pro-


grams of research, for example, I have tended

methodological approaches that constitute the

to rely heavily on methodological approaches

mainstream perspective o f the discipline have,

stances, sampling



that are less directive than standardized ques-

in many cases, obscured significant cultural

tionnaires, such as tapping responses to the

variation, yielding findings o f universality that

projective measure o f hypothetical vignette

may be more apparent than real.

situations (e.g., Miller & Bersoff, 1 9 9 8 ) and

Notably, taking cultural


utilizing open-ended questioning to explore

into account more centrally in social psychol-


ogy promises to yield a richer understanding





1 9 9 5 ) (see also King, Chapter 8, this volume;

of basic psychological processes and o f the

Peng, Nisbett, & W o n g , 1 9 9 7 ) .

diversity o f outlooks that characterize human

Culturally Sensitive Research psychological functioning.

Such an


and Methods



produce a discipline that is not only more truly

which needs to be integrated with efforts to

universal but also more theoretically sophisti-

identify brain and other biological founda-

cated in its process accounts o f psychological

tions for psychological behavior, stands to

phenomena and in its applied implications.

NOTES 1. Experienced in the context of close relationships that entail both attachment and dependence, the Japanese concept of amae involves feelings of being able "to depend and presume upon another's love or bask in another's indulgence" (Doi, 1992, p. 8). Individuals experience amae in close relationships in being able to presume that their inappropriate behavior will be accepted by their counterpart (Yamaguchi, 2 0 0 1 ) . 2. Within social psychology, stances that deny the possibility of distinguishing between cultural traditions have been adopted by theorists associated with such postmodern perspectives as social constructionism and discursive psychology (e.g., Edwards, 1 9 9 5 ; Gergen, 1 9 9 2 , 1994; Shorter, 1993). As Gergen commented: We are not speaking . . . of the blending of all, the emergence of monoculture, but rapid and continuous transformations in cultural forms, as they are subject to multiple influences. . . . If there is a continuous blending, appropriation, dissolution, and the like, how are we to draw distinctions among cultural processes? (Gergen, as interviewed in Gulerce, 1995, pp. 149-150) 3. The concept of dharma denotes both moral duty and inherent character and is based on perceived spiritually based laws of nature (Marriott, 1990). 4. This type of assumption can be seen, for example, in the following items that appear on the widely used Singelis (1994) measure of independent vs. interdependent self construals: "I will sacrifice my self-interest for the group that I am in" and "I will stay in a group if they need me, even when I'm not happy with the group." 5. The present recommendation applies only to the use of priming for purposes of simulating cultural effects. There are many other important purposes for which it is appropriate to use priming in culturally based research that assesses cognitive processing.

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Individual Differences in Social Psychology Understanding Situations to Understand People, Understanding People to Understand Situations YUICHI SHODA University of Washington


laws and individual



study of the


on each other

are merely two aspects

of one problem;

and the study of the one cannot


they are



other. —Lewin ( 1 9 4 6 , p. 7 9 4 )


eople think, feel, and do different things

figure out

in different situations, and the changes

underlie the observed variations. T h i s hand-


processes and


and variations from situation t o situation

b o o k is full o f examples o f thoughtful and inge-

are not all random. Understanding the nature

nious ways to pursue that goal. This chapter

o f such variations, o f course, is one o f the main

will focus on providing a broad

missions o f social psychology. T h e goal is to



the role o f individual differences in the

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Preparation of this chapter was supported in part by Grant M H 3 9 3 4 9 from the National Institute of Mental Health. I am grateful to the editors of this volume for their encouragement to embark on this chapter initially and for their extremely careful and thorough reading of multiple drafts throughout its development as well as their constructive suggestions. Kathy Cook, Scott LeeTiernan, Jason Plaks, Vivian Zayas, and Naomi Zavislak provided many opportunities for productive brainstorming sessions. In addition, Kathy Cook provided many of the historical materials cited in this chapter. I am deeply grateful for their support. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yuichi Shoda, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Box 3 5 1 5 2 5 , Seattle, WA 9 8 1 9 5 - 1 5 2 5 . Electronic mail may be sent to [email protected]



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS investigation o f the effects of situations and

and naturally existing individual differences.

individuals' social information processing sys-

W h y might that be? This chapter approaches

tems that mediate them. One might ask, W h y

that question from the point o f view o f social

focus on stable individual differences? Surely

psychologists, whose mission is to understand

some people may be more likely on average to

the effects o f situations and the psychological

display a certain behavior than others, but what

mechanisms that underlie those effects.

does that have to do with the effects of situa-

Consider experiments in which people are

tions? W h y does one need to take individual

exposed to conditions that differ on a situa-

differences into account? This chapter begins

tional factor o f interest, producing

by addressing this "why" question (part I), fol-

ences in their thoughts, feelings, or behaviors

lowed by a discussion of "what" questions,

on average. If we do experiment after exper-

namely the nature of individual difference vari-

iment in which all sorts o f situational factors


ables that interact with situations (part II); an

are manipulated, singly and jointly, we will

overview of the issues relating to " h o w " ques-

arrive at an understanding o f the mechanism

tions, such as identifying individual difference

that underlies social information processing,



resulting in essence in a giant regression

(part III); and operationalizing them in actual

equation in which the additive and interac-

experiments in the form o f measures (part IV).

tive effects o f all variables whose effects have




been studied are represented. O r will we? This chapter argues that there is a potential problem in this strategy. T h e problem is not


simply that it is difficult to manipulate some


variables of importance. T o be sure, it is unfortunate if the field relies solely on situa-

Almost half a century ago, Lee Cronbach, in

tional manipulation

his APA presidential address, observed that

excluding factors whose variations are largely

and as a result risks


"presented by Nature" rather than created

research traditions in psychology, which he

in laboratories. But some variables can be

there had

been t w o largely


manipulated; so, can't their effects, at least, be

(Cronbach, 1 9 5 7 ) . In the experimental tradi-

established confidently? T h a t may be the case

tion, one varies the aspects o f situations

if the effects o f those variables don't depend

called the experimental and

hypothesized to influence the behavior o f

on other variables that are not manipulated.

interest, while holding constant all other fac-

But what if the effects of the situational

tors. T h e focus is on the variation created by

manipulation critically depend on some unob-

the experimenter and isolating the effects of

served variables? T h e n effects o f situations can

it. In contrast, the correlational approach

differ from one person to another. Might aver-

focuses on the already existing variations

aging the effects across people at least repre-

(Cronbach, 1 9 5 7 ,

sent the effects o f the situation on the average

p. 6 7 1 ) , embedded in a complex web o f inter-

person? Unfortunately, the "average" person

related variables, only a small fraction o f

may exist only in statistical abstraction (see

which are observable. Cronbach argued then,

C o o k and G r o o m , Chapter 2 , this volume).


by N a t u r e "


as well as 2 0 years later in his APA distin-

In summary, (a) many important psycho-

guished scientist award address (Cronbach,

logical variables cannot easily be manipulated,

1 9 7 5 ) , that neither alone is likely t o be suffi-

(b) even those that can be manipulated may

cient, and that one must focus on the


interact with those that cannot, and (c) behav-

tions between manipulated situational factors

iors may reflect the emergent properties of



in Social


systems. Consequently, if

in the cognitions and affects identified from a

one does not take individual differences into

literature review as relevant for the decision

account, a sole focus on the "effects" o f the

and actual performance o f a breast self-exam-


manipulated variables on people "in general"

ination (BSE) and the network o f relations

may result in at best a partial, and at worst, a

that guides their activation (Miller, Shoda, &

misleading, understanding o f the process

Hurley, 1 9 9 6 ) . Examples o f cognitive and affective "units" relevant to B S E are illus-

underlying the behavior o f interest.

trated schematically inside the large ovals in Figures 6.1 and 6 . 2 . A solid arrow connecting

Lewin's Equation, B = f(P, E)

one cognitive-affective unit to another indi-

Although Cronbach's plea t o combine the

cates that the activation of the first increases

experimental and correlational traditions was

the activation o f the second. Broken arrows

more from the point o f view o f research

show that the activation o f the first reduces

paradigms, the need to consider both the sit-

the activation o f the second. T h e thoughts,

uations and persons was also central to Kurt

the affects, and the connections that charac-

Lewin's theory in which the behavior is

terize each type are shown in boldface type.

conceptualized as a function o f the field, the

For a w o m a n whose network resembles

whole gestalt consisting o f persons (or the

Figure 6 . 1 , health-risk information is highly

" o b j e c t " in the following quotation) and situ-

likely to activate the thought, " I may develop

ations involved: " O n l y by the concrete whole

breast cancer," as indicated by the thick solid

which comprises the object and the situation

arrow (Figure 6 . 1 , Arrow 1 ) . In contrast, for a

are the vectors which determine the dynamics

w o m a n whose network resembles Figure 6.2,

of the event defined" (Lewin, 1 9 3 1 , p. 1 6 5 ) .

with a thin Arrow 1, the objective risk information is less likely to activate this thought.

P = An Individual's


Social Information


System: An

W i t h regard

t o observable


responses, depending on whether a woman's cognitive-affective processing network resem-


bles Figure 6.1 or Figure 6 . 2 , the risk informa-

H o w can persons be conceptualized in

tion can have potentially opposite outcomes.

order to help understand the effects o f situa-


tions, and how they may vary meaningfully

represents the information influences the level

example, h o w an individual


from one person to another? T o account for

of arousal and anxiety (Arrow 2 8 ) . Thus,

such person x situation interactions, it is help-

whether she focuses more on the information

ful to conceptualize personality as a dynamical

itself (e.g., " N o w I need to look for changes in

system (Shoda, LeeTiernan, et al., 2 0 0 2 ) . In

this area," Arrow 2 0 ) or on a more emotion

such a system, stability is expected in the

arousing aspect (e.g., " I f I find a lump, that



means hundreds o f thousands o f cancer cells

thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which them-

are already there," Arrow 2 1 ) has very differ-

selves can change from one moment to the

ent impacts on the continued practice of BSE.




next in response to situations. The stability o f the underlying structure will be reflected not in the constancy o f thoughts, feelings, and behav-




iors, but rather in the way they change, in the


way the thoughts and affects come and go.

W i t h this example in mind, consider the

T o illustrate, Figures 6.1 and 6.2 depict differences between two types o f individuals


question we asked at the outset o f this chapter: H o w


one investigate the




Figure 6.1

An Illustrative CAPS Network That Undermines Intention and Performance of BSE

SOURCE: Based on, and adapted from, Figure 5 of Miller, Shoda, and Hurley (1996), p. 83. NOTE: Situational features activate specific subsets of the mediating units, which in turn activate other mediating units. The network of connections is considered stable and characterizes the individual. Arrows indicate activation relationships, such that when one unit is activated, other units that receive solid arrows from it will receive activation proportional to the weight associated with each arrow. The weight may be positive (solid arrows) or negative (dashed arrows).

mechanisms that underlie people's responses

mediate the effects o f manipulated variables,

to the situational input? Consider these possi-

following Baron and Kenny's ( 1 9 8 6 ) guide-

bilities in the BSE example. If all women more

lines, also as discussed by Hoyle and Robinson

or less fit the processing structure shown in


1 0 , this volume). But what if

Figure 6 . 1 , one may perform a series o f experi-

Figure 6.1 described only a small proportion o f

ments in which each situation feature and cog-

women, while other women fit Figure 6.2, and

nitive-affective unit is manipulated, and their

yet another group o f women were character-

effects on other cognitive-affective units are

ized by cognitive-affective dynamics that nei-

assessed. F o r those mediating


ther Figure 6.1 nor Figure 6.2 describes? Does

are difficult or unethical to manipulate, if

heightened awareness increase or decrease the

they are measurable, one may apply statistical

intention to perform BSE? This is analogous


to the question that Gordon Allport ( 1 9 3 7 ,


and assess evidence that



Figure 6.2


in Social


An Illustrative CAPS Network That Enhances Intention and Performance of BSE

SOURCE: Based on, and adapted from, Figure 6 of Miller, Shoda, and Hurley (1996), p. 84.

p. 1 0 2 ) posed: W h a t is the effect o f cooking

critical aspect is its structure, or the set o f

heat on foods—does it harden or soften them?

relationships among its components, consti-

T h e question is meaningless unless one speci-

tuting a distinctive system

fies the type o f food. It results in one answer if

processing for each individual.

o f information

the food is a raw egg, but another if the food is a stick of butter. T o summarize, in order to understand the psychological





behaviors, one must go beyond examining a statisti-

H o w does one find the particular aspects of

cal abstraction. T o b o r r o w Lewin's phrase,

an individual's processing dynamics that are

one needs to examine "the concrete

relevant for the behavior one wishes to under-

the responses o f people on average,


which comprises the object and the situa-

stand? T h e rest o f this chapter seeks to pro-

t i o n " [emphasis added], o f which Figure 6.1

vide at least the beginning o f an answer to this

may be one and Figure 6.2 m a y be another.

question: This question can be approached


both in a top-down, deductive fashion, as

nents, many o f which may not be manipula-

It includes potentially numerous

well as in a bottom-up, inductive fashion.

ble or even observable. M o s t important, a

In a deductive approach, one starts with an

DESIGN AND ANALYSIS individual difference construct chosen on the

psychologists can no longer afford to ignore

basis o f researchers' informal observations

individual differences, and personality psy-

and intuition, or on previous studies or a

chologists can no longer ignore situations. Just

theory. T h e inductive approach, on the other

as studying the effects o f individual differences

hand, focuses on discovering the construct to

in situations

begin with. Its goal is t o systematize the pro-

studying the effects o f situations on people

cess of discovery and identification o f the


in general

can be misleading, in

can be misleading.

construct. W h e t h e r one follows the deductive or the inductive path, just what are the important ways in w h i c h people




Individual Differences That Interact With Situations


W h a t individual difference constructs inter-

found, the English language has some 1 8 , 0 0 0

act with situational factors? W h a t kinds o f

words describing characteristics o f a person,

personal characteristics serve as the " P " in

and people potentially can differ on all o f

Person x

them. Are there

" P " x " S " interactions? Unfortunately,

another? As Allport and


any guidelines t o


narrow the search?

Situation interactions, that

is, the

question has rarely been addressed directly in

O f course, the search for the individual

standard compilations o f measures. In this sec-

difference construct must be guided by its

tion, some general characteristics of individual

relevance to the particular behavior one is

difference variables that interact with situa-

interested in understanding. But for the pur-

tions are identified, based on reviews of the

poses o f understanding the effects of situations

literature as well as an informal e-mail survey

and the mechanisms underlying them, one

sent to members o f the Society of Personality

general guideline applies: T h e types of individ-

and Social Psychology asking them to nomi-

ual differences one needs to understand for


that purpose are those that interact

have been shown to interact with situations."

with situ-


difference constructs

that 2

ation characteristics or situationally induced internal states. Stated differently, one can relatively safely ignore individual difference vari-


ables that simply increase or decrease the level

Type and Diagnostic

Dynamics Situations

of behavioral response while not affecting the

A major type o f individual difference vari-

impact of situational variables. A "division of

ables that interact with situations is those that

labor" of sorts might be achieved, in which

characterize individuals by their particular pro-

the study o f such individual differences is con-

cessing dynamics. The nature of the dynamics

sidered the subject matter o f personality psy-

in turn identifies "diagnostic situations" that

chologists while social psychologists focus on

engage the dynamics, situations in which that

the effects of situations. In fact, that is often

group o f individuals is expected to respond

h o w the fields o f personality psychology and

distinctively. As an example of individual dif-

social psychology, or "correlational"

ference constructs that identify processing


"experimental" approaches, are divided, with

dynamics, consider uncertainty

the consequence that one field's main variance

(Sorrentino &

is considered by the other as "that outer dark-

guishes people w h o are relatively comfortable

ness known as 'error variance'" (Cronbach,

dealing with uncertainty and strive to resolve it

1 9 5 7 , p. 6 7 4 ) . However, to the extent that

from those who are more uncomfortable with


Roney, 2 0 0 0 ) , which distin-

situational variables interact with individual

uncertainty and are likely to avoid situations


that increase a subjective sense of uncertainty.

variables, as discussed, social



in Social Psychology


Uncertainty orientation has been shown to be

(Mendoza-Denton, Purdie, Downey, 8c Davis,

important in answering diverse questions such

in press), diagnostic situations are ones in

as the following: Would instructional tech-

which rejection on the basis o f one's race is

niques that involve a cooperative situation

perceived as possible or likely. M a n y of the

(e.g., the Jigsaw classroom) be better than a

individual difference constructs that interact

traditional expository technique? and Would

with situations function in a similar way. They

experiencing lack o f control in a situation

describe people w h o are characterized by a

make a person seek new information? It turns

particular type o f processing dynamics, which

out that the answers to these questions depend

in turn specifies the diagnostic situations that

on an individual's uncertainty orientation. For

trigger the characteristic dynamics.

those w h o are high in uncertainly orientation,

A notable subset o f this type o f interaction

the answer is yes. But for those w h o are low in

involves situations that are generally more

uncertainty orientation, the answer was the



example, those w h o are high versus low on







work (Huber,




neuroticism differ most in their



Sorrentino, Davidson, & Epplier, 1992); and

affect in situations high in stress (Bolger 8c

experiencing uncontrollability makes it more


likely that these people, especially if depressed,

2 0 0 2 ) . People scoring high on the measure o f


Behavior Inhibition System (BIS) were most




(Walker &

Sorrentino, 2000).

1 9 9 5 ; M r o c z e k 8c Almeida,

distinctive in their responses t o negative daily

Although the particular situation features that interact with uncertainty orientation dif-


(Carver 8c W h i t e , 1 9 9 4 ; G a b l e ,

Reis, & Elliot, 2 0 0 0 ) . J . C r o c k e r , T h o m p s o n ,

fer widely, they have one theme in common,

M c G r a w , and Ingerman (1987) found that

namely the activation o f a subjective feeling o f

threats t o self-concept served as a diagnostic

uncertainty. Situations that contain this fea-

situation that differentiated individuals high

ture trigger the processing dynamics that are

in self-esteem from those low in self-esteem

characteristic o f those w h o are low, and those

in their tendency t o derogate outgroups.

w h o are high, in uncertainty


T h e r e are m a n y examples o f processing

Another type of diagnostic situation involves public versus private

settings. M o r f


dynamics that interact with situations. T o

Rhodewalt (1993) found that narcissists' ten-

name a few, for individuals with achievement-

dency to derogate those w h o

oriented processing dynamics, competitive

them was more distinctive in public compared

situations with externally assigned performance

to private settings. Schiitz and DePaulo (1996)

goals enhance the engagement and enjoyment,

found that in private settings, people with low

but for those w h o are low in achievement

self-esteem did not differ from those high in

motivation, noncompetitive situations mastery







self-esteem in how they evaluated others' art-


work, but in public settings people with low

(Barron & Harackiewicz, 2001).

self-esteem were more positive than people with

Opportunities for bolstering their grandiose

high self-esteem. Chen, Shechter, and Chaiken

self-concepts define situations in which narcis-

(1996) found that people who are high versus

sists exert much effort toward


low in self-monitoring did not differ in their

evidence o f their superiority, even if doing so

expressed opinions in private, but they differed

may offend or hurt others (e.g., M o r f 8c

in public, such that when they expected to have



a discussion with their partner on a topic, high

are characterized

self-monitors adjusted their expressed attitudes

2 0 0 1 ; Rhodewalt &

1998). For people w h o by





to be more in line with their partner's.



Types of Person

These individuals


That Affect Processing

m a y not differ in


chronic activation o f the thought " I may find


a lump someday." B u t they may differ in its Are there any commonalities among the

association to another thought, "I'll get early,

individual difference variables that interact

effective treatment, and I'll be cured" com-

with situations? Those that alter the nature o f

pared to its association to the thought "I'll be

the effect o f situations are likely to influence

subjected to painful

the way in which individuals process social

ment." In short, individuals' social informa-

but ineffective treat-

information. O f course, how social informa-

tion processing systems may differ (a) in the

tion is processed is one o f the basic questions


addressed by social psychology, so it would

domain-relevant cognitions and affects and

not be surprising that the same type o f vari-



accessibility o f

(b) in the network

o f associations among

ables that have proven useful for characteriz-



ing the effects o f situations may also be useful

LeeTiernan, et al., 2 0 0 2 ) . M a n y o f the vari-

in understanding individual differences. T h a t ,

ables that have been shown to interact with

of course, is what Lewin proposed more than

situations refer to either one or more of the

half a century ago and what is practiced in

component cognitions and affective reactions

(Mischel &

1 9 9 5 ; Shoda,

contemporary research when, for example,

(e.g., self-efficacy, perceived social support,


self-esteem) as well as an entire configuration




terms o f the chronic activation o f knowledge

or system (e.g., neuroticism, shyness).

structures (e.g., Higgins, 1 9 9 9 ) . These processoriented constructs were proposed



basis for characterizing individuals by Mischel


( 1 9 7 3 ) , w h o called them "cognitive social


person variables." A closer analysis (Shoda,

and Situation

1 9 9 9 ) found that the primary effects o f these variables often are not to increase or decrease any given behavior in general, but rather their behavioral manifestation is in the form o f if...

then . . . profiles that characterize the

relationship between situations and behaviors,






The personal and situational characteristics that interact may be highly contentspecific. One example of this is seen in studies of the self-evaluation maintenance model (e.g., Beach et al., 1 9 9 8 ) , which examines people's emotional responses upon observing


as mediated by the individuals in their charac-

their partner did particularly well in a task. It

teristic ways.

turns out that whether the participants felt

In addition to the activation o f concepts, in

happier, basking in the reflected glory, or

recent years research in social cognition has

instead felt threatened by their partner's supe-

turned to the associations

among concepts,

rior performance depends on the specifics o f

particularly those that operate automatically.

the task. In particular, when the partner's

Such implicit associations have been the tar-

superior performance was in a domain (e.g.,

get o f both theorizing and empirical assess-

math) highly central to the participants' self-

ment, as detailed by Kihlstrom (Chapter 9 ,

concept, the effect was an increased sense o f

this volume). Individuals may differ not only

threat. O n the other hand, when the partner's

in the chronic accessibility o f these mediating

superior performance was in a domain (e.g.,

cognitions and affective reactions but also in

music) less central to the participants, it was

h o w specific thoughts are associated with

more likely they felt happier as a result. N o t e

each other. Consider the t w o hypothetical

that the relevant constructs are not the part-

"minds" depicted in Figures 6.1 and 6 . 2 .

ner's level o f performance in general or the



in Social


participants' global self-evaluation. Rather, it

below the surface bedrock lies, what

was the particular domain (e.g., math, music)

bedrock consists of, etc.). T h e specific findings

o f performance and the particular aspects o f

about the bedrock under a particular hill

self-concept (centrality o f math or music) that

might not merit publication in a top geology


constituted the active ingredients, so to speak,

journal; however, the principles that were

of the situations and persons that produced

used and new principles that emerge from

the crossover interaction.

studies o f many specific hills, or chemical compounds, do merit publication. Similarly,

Going Beyond the Bandwidth-Fidelity

in a given study o f the self-evaluation mainte-


nance process, for example, there may be a large number o f individuals representing a

O n e o f the lasting dilemmas a social psy-

specific configuration o f self-concepts. But it is

chologist faces is the trade-off between the

possible to discover general principles that

accuracy o f predictions (fidelity) and the gen-

characterize the relationship



erality o f findings (bandwidth). Ideally, one

specific self-concept o f a participant and the

would like t o be able t o understand the psy-


chological processes o f a given individual so

mance. This is worth reporting, as it has gen-

of her partner's

excellent perfor-

well that it becomes possible to accurately

erality. In addition,

predict that person's behavior in a given sit-

principle does not say anything about whether


the general

uation. O n the other hand, unless one is

a specific individual will feel threatened by the

studying significant historical figures (e.g.,

superior musical performance o f his partner, it

Runyan, 1 9 8 3 ) , knowing the specifics o f a

spells out a recipe o f sorts for what one needs

given person and situation does not con-

t o find out from a person (i.e., the domain of

tribute much t o the field.

performance central to self) and a situation


can this dilemma

be solved? In

(i.e., the domain o f the partner's superior per-

addressing this question, it may be useful to

formance) to predict their interaction with a

consider the historical tendency for psychol-

high degree o f accuracy. T h e challenge is to

ogy to model itself after physics, striving to

identify the relationships among the specifics

describe individuals and situations by a small

that warrant generalization, and that in turn

number o f quantitative variables, and estab-

will indicate what one needs to assess in a per-

lishing general laws that specify the relation-

son and in a situation to predict their interac-

ships among them. I f we insist on applying the

tion at a specific, non-abstract, level.

same framework to psychology, the range o f socially and personally significant behaviors that can be understood sufficiently well may be quite limited. It is often the specifics that matter, as in the example above concerning the effect o f partners' superior performance. Instead, other sciences might provide a better

Behavioral Signatures of Personal Types Guide an Inductive Approach to Discovering Individual Difference Constructs Focusing on individual

difference con-

model, and they may also provide a solution

structs that specify particular types o f pro-

to the accuracy vs. generality dilemma. T a k e ,

cessing dynamics—and in particular those

for example, organic chemistry or geology.

that speak to individuals' beliefs, goals, and

There are thousands o f different geological

values, as well as emotions and

locations, and there are even greater numbers

strivings, for example—can help narrow the

of organic compounds one might be interested

search a little. But that still leaves the question

in learning more about (e.g., just how far

of what beliefs, what goals, and what kinds o f




DESIGN AND ANALYSIS processing dynamics are most relevant in

occasions. In this framework, Cattell discussed six distinct types o f correlations one can com-

understanding behaviors o f interest. The basic principle discussed so far, that

pute: R , Q , P, O , S, and T . T h e correlations

one needs to seek individual difference con-

reported in the overwhelming majority o f

structs that interact with situations, suggests a

studies in social and personality represent the

route. Individuals' behavioral

R-type, which indicates the similarity or dis-



the set o f if to (situation) then (behavior) pat-

similarity in the rank ordering o f individuals

terns (Shoda, Mischel, & Wright, 1 9 9 4 ) reflect

with regard to their behavior observed in one

the individuals' characteristic ways o f process-

situation (e.g., one test) with the rank ordering

ing social information. Behavioral signatures

observed in another situation (another test). In

reflect the features o f situations an individual

contrast, the strategy needed for the inductive

notices, the social categories that become acti-

approach discussed above represents the Q-

vated to encode situations, and the beliefs, val-

type analysis, which focuses on the pattern of

ues, goals, and affective reactions that in turn

variations observed within each person and

become activated (Shoda, 1 9 9 9 ) . Thus, if one

seeks to index the similarity or dissimilarity

finds groups o f individuals who share similar

among individuals with regard to their pattern

behavioral signatures, there is a good chance

of situation-to-situation variation.

that the resultant groups represent distinct

Although the Q-type analysis is rare in

types of processing dynamics. Computational

social and personality psychology, in memory

tools that make such typologies possible have

and perception research, it is not uncommon

become available, as has research showing that

for a participant to return day after day for

groups o f individuals with similar behavioral

literally hundreds of trials in which stimuli are

signatures in fact shared similar cognitive

presented under different conditions. A publi-

and affective responses to situations (e.g.,


Vansteelandt & V a n Mechelen, 1 9 9 8 ) .

nomenon may be based on only a dozen






N o t e that this strategy requires one to

participants. T h e small number o f participants

shift to a more inductive approach to e x a m -

used in these studies might invoke a chorus o f

ine within-individual variations before group

reactions among social psychologists, "with

trends are addressed. Doing so requires hav-

such a small N, how can one be sure the results

ing an experimental design in which partici-

are reliable?" But for these types of experi-

pants are exposed to multiple situations. (For

ments, the relevant N is not the number o f

further discussion o f this issue, and in partic-

participants but the number of trials. In the

ular on the question o f h o w one goes from

extreme, one participant may be enough to


establish a psychological phenomenon (e.g.,






response, see W e s t , Biesanz, and


Chapter 1 3 , this volume.)

Ebbinghaus, 1 8 8 5 ) . T h e purpose o f multiple participants in this design is to test if the effects

Such a strategy is not new in other fields o f

seen in one individual can generalize to other

psychology. As early as 1 9 4 6 , Cattell envi-

individuals. In so doing, this framework does

sioned a research strategy in which one con-

not assume that the effects of the experimental

ceptualized behaviors as a function of the

conditions are the same for all individuals,

person, situation, and occasion, discussed in

although in many cases that does turn out to

detail by Cronbach ( 1 9 8 4 ) . A full design

be true in the kinds o f studies that employ this

would fill each cell o f a three-dimensional data

type o f experimental design. Ironically, this

array, or "Cattell's data b o x , " in which each

design is rarely employed in social psychology

"slice" represents a person, and the columns

even though that is when the effects are most

and rows o f each slice represent situations and

likely not the same for all individuals.

Individual In light o f these observations, when it is possible to operationalize the


in Social Psychology

research, if one adopts



"establish the


effects o f situational factors in each person

using a within-subjects design, an inductive,

first" approach, then one can find clusters o f

bottom-up strategy becomes available for iden-

individuals w h o are similar in their pattern o f

tifying individual differences construct(s) rele-

responses to the situational factors, that is,

vant for a behavior o f interest. T o illustrate,

those with similar behavioral signatures, and

consider as an analogy a drug trial study.

systematically look for factors that differenti-

Imagine that


experimental drug


ate among these groups o f people.

placebo are given to each participant at various times, and the degree o f symptom alleviation (and side effects) are observed. After extensive trials to ensure a reliable assessment o f

Methodological Challenges for Intensive Within-Subject Analyses

response to the drug and placebo conditions, it

It is o f course not an accident that experi-

is possible to determine the effectiveness o f the

ments in social psychology have not widely

drug vs. the placebo for each individual sepa-

adopted the kinds o f intensive within-subject

rately. Suppose the following results were

analysis described above. T h e nature o f many

obtained when each person's data were ana-

classical experimental manipulations in social

lyzed separately. For 5 0 % o f the people, there

psychology precludes repeated

was a statistically significant symptom reduc-

T h e elaborate staging needed to create exper-


tion due to the drug (where the N for a statis-

imental conditions often makes it too time-

tical test is the number o f repeated trials each

consuming to expose participants repeatedly

individual encountered and p indexes the sig-

t o each o f the conditions.

nificance o f the effects o f the drug for a given

exposing subjects to exactly the same situa-

For another 5 0 % o f the people,

tion multiple times is often not a viable

there was a statistically significant negative

option. However, there are a number o f ways

effect of the drug, either a worsening of the

to minimize the factors that sometimes result

symptoms or serious side effects emerging. If

in drawbacks for within-subject designs, and

the study was done as a between-subjects

to take advantage o f the intrinsic benefit o f

study, the result would have been precisely no

them (e.g., Greenwald, 1 9 7 6 ) . Technological



overall effect. And unless the particular per-

advances have made it possible t o present

sonal factor that interacts with the drug is iden-

realistic stimuli (e.g., virtual reality technol-

tified a priori, it would not be possible to test

ogy) in an engaging, interactive way, in which

for interactions with that variable.

multiple virtual situations may be created and

But if the study is designed to allow establishing for each person, then the fact that


to interact with


Research suggests that reactions observed in

5 0 % o f the patients reliably respond posi-

such "simulated" situations converge with

tively to the drug while another 5 0 % reliably

those obtained in real situations

respond negatively to it is a significant finding



Clore, 2 0 0 1 ) .

(M. D.


that merits reporting. M o r e important, publi-

many o f the research agenda in the field have

cation o f such a finding can then lead to stud-

shifted to make use o f repeatedly presented

ies t o



critical factors


simple stimuli, such as the brief presentation

differentiate individuals for w h o m the drug is

of primes and targets on computers. These

effective and those for w h o m it is detrimental.

advances and changes make examination and

T h a t , in turn, can prove highly informative in

establishment, beyond statistical doubt, o f the

discovering the mechanisms o f the


action. Similarly, in social psychological

experimental effect for each participant increasing possibility.




DESIGN AND ANALYSIS In addition, in the past, statistical procedures

phenomena at an individual level, rather than


in the aggregate, in turn leading to discovering


important differences among individuals in the

experiments in mind, in part reflecting, and at

effects of situational factors (i.e., person x


situation interactions).





largely been designed with same





assumptions, and common practices in the field. However,

more powerful


frameworks, algorithms, and most important, easily accessible computer packages that implement them, are becoming increasingly accessible (e.g., see Gonzalez & Griffin, Chapter 1 4 , this volume). For example, the multilevel analysis framework

(e.g., M o s k o w i t z


Hershberger, 2 0 0 2 ) allows fitting linear models within each individual, whereas the parameter estimates for each individual (e.g., beta weights indicating the effect o f a situational variable on a given behavior for that person)

can in turn be

predicted from other variables such as individual differences. Computer implementations o f



differences into account in social psychology research particularly and the availability o f strategies for identifying potential o f individual

differences in an



bottom-up process, h o w does one actually operationalize individual differences and use them in testing models o f social behavior?

these statistical procedures are available, such as the Hierarchical Linear M o d e l ( H L M ) (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2 0 0 2 ; see, SAS Proc M i x e d (SAS Institute), and the N L M E (nonlinear mixed effects) package (Pinheiro & Bates, 2 0 0 0 ; see

What Makes a "Good" Measure: The Intertwined Nature of Reliability and Validity Fortunately, throughout the history o f

social and personality psychology in the last

sia/project/nlme) available for S-Plus and for

century, a large number o f measures have

the freely available and rapidly maturing sta-

been developed. They do not, of course,

tistical software called R (

exhaust all the important

Highly related to the multilevel framework is

people differ, and no doubt new measures will

ways in which

growth-curve modeling and the Mplus soft-

be devised, as models o f individuals

ware that


dynamic social information processing sys-

2 0 0 2 ; L. Muthen & B . Muthen, 1 9 9 8 - 2 0 0 1 ;

tems evolve. Nonetheless, a bewildering array

implements it (B. O .

as These statistical models

of measures already exists. For example, the

make it more natural to design and analyze


experiments in which individuals' responses to


a variety of experimental stimuli are analyzed

measures o f response bias, subjective well-

by J . P. R o b i n s o n , Shaver, ( 1 9 9 1 ) has chapters



and conceptualized at an individual level first.

being, self-esteem, social anxiety and shyness,

Even without adopting these new comprehen-



loneliness, alienation

sive statistical frameworks, a simple statistic

anomie, interpersonal

such as the percentage o f participants



human nature,

trust and



locus o f control,

whom the situational factors had the expected

authoritarianism, sex roles (masculinity, femi-

effect can be reported,

ninity, and androgyny), and values. Well over


its statistical

significance can be tested. Doing so naturally

a dozen particular measures are described in

draws one's attention

each chapter. H o w do we choose?

to looking at



Individual First, a good measure must reflect the target construct. Despite the


in Social


the difference in the constructs researchers


intended to measure using the same instru-

w o r k on this topic, the ultimate goals are

ment. Relatedly, it is important "to remember


simple: to minimize noise in the measurement


and to be sure that the measure reflects what

Reliability is a property o f the scores on a test

is intended to be measured and not something

for a particular population o f examinees"

a test is not reliable or


else. If the measures were a radio, the recep-


tion should be clear, and it should be tuned t o

Statistical Inference, 1 9 9 9 , p. 5 9 6 ) .


the A P A T a s k F o r c e on

the right station. But o f course the plot thickens as one actually starts tuning the research radio. Reliability can be shown in a variety o f ways that do not always produce the same conclusion. Different measures o f the same

Bootstrapping Upward in the Evolution of Constructs, Theories, and Measures

thing may be highly related, for example, dif-

So, a first step is to be clear about the con-

ferent halves o f the multi-item questionnaire

struct the measure is intended to measure. But

(split-half reliability), indicating that

in most cases, the quality being "measured" is


items that make up a scale reflect something

not something that can be seen or felt, let alone

in c o m m o n (internal consistency). But the

directly measured, but rather a hypothetical

same measure filled out to describe the same

construct. An attitude, a belief, a self-concept—

person by different raters (interrater reliabil-

these are all qualities that are hypothesized

ity), or on different

to characterize an individual. W h e n the target

occasions (test-retest

reliability), may result in the conclusion that

of measurement is a hypothetical quality that

the measure is not reliable. T o untangle this,

cannot be observed directly, h o w does one

one needs to address a fundamental concep-

even ask the question o f whether a measure

tual issue: W h a t is noise, and what is signal?

reflects it accurately? H o w does one address


Often the issues o f reliability and validity

the validity o f a measure? T h a t is precisely

are considered in a sequential fashion. First

the question addressed by the APA Committee

establish reliability, to m a k e sure that the

on Psychological Tests half a century ago

measure is reliably measuring

(Cronbach & Meehl, 1 9 5 5 ) , which introduced


then worry about validity, to make sure that

the notion o f construct


Constructs are

is in fact what one intended to

defined by the theory or model in which they

measure. But what " n o i s e " is depends on the

are embedded. They are an integral part o f a

nature o f what is intended t o be measured

model o f phenomena one wishes to under-

(see Fiske, 2 0 0 2 ) . F o r example, observer

stand, and they evolve as the model evolves

the something

ratings o f h o w often a w o m a n spontaneously

from a crude approximation to a more accu-

smiles while talking to a particular person

rate representation o f the processes that give

may be a fairly reliable measure o f h o w she is

rise to observed phenomena.

feeling in that particular situation, but it may

C r o n b a c h and M e e h l ( 1 9 5 5 , p. 2 8 6 ) illus-

be an unreliable measure o f her friendliness or

trated the construct validation process by the

her attitude toward the person. T o o often,

evolution o f the construct and measure o f

reliability is considered a property o f a partic-

temperature. Neither perceived warmth nor

ular measure, independent o f the construct it

expansion o f mercury is intrinsically more

is intended to measure. M a n y an apparent

valid than the other, but the theories in

contradiction between studies that

physics relate the latter to a construct that is


high reliability o f a measure and those that

hypothesized to underlie a wider range o f

report the measure as unreliable stems from

phenomena, which were in fact predicted





more accurately by mercury


constructs, examined systematically in light of

readings than observers' judgments o f the

the commonalities in the method of measure-

warmth o f an object. Thus, what is more


"valid" is not the measure alone but rather

approach, called the

the whole system consisting o f the theory

matrix ( M T M M ) , the "theory" being tested is

(Campbell &

Fiske, 1 9 5 9 ) . In this multitrait-multimethod

relating multiple constructs (e.g., tempera-

that measures o f the same construct should

ture, pressure) and the measures o f the con-

correlate with each other even if they employ

structs. Cronbach and M e e h l noted that the

different methods (i.e., convergent validity),

"whole process o f conceptual



that measures o f different


begins with what in retrospect we see as an

should not correlate with each other even if

extremely fallible 'criterion'—the human tem-

they employ the same method (i.e., discrimi-

perature sense. T h a t original criterion has

nant validity). With the development of struc-

n o w been relegated to a peripheral position.

tural equation modeling and, in particular,

W e have lifted ourselves by our bootstraps,

confirmatory factor analysis, methods


quantitative analyses o f M T M M







(Cronbach & Meehl, 1 9 5 5 , p. 2 8 6 ) .


are now

available (e.g., Kenny & Kashy, 1 9 9 2 ) and are

T h e theory and measures evolve when predictions based on them fail. W h e n they fail, one asks: Is it because the measure is

described in accessible form

(e.g., Kenny,

1 9 9 5 ; M a r s h & Grayson, 1 9 9 5 ) . T h e M T M M is only one specific, and per-

faulty, or because the theory, in which the


construct is embedded, is faulty? W h a t needs

approaches to construct validity. T h e theo-

to be fixed? I f alternative measures o f the

ries in which the constructs are embedded

same construct can accurately predict the

can be more substantive in nature than sim-


expected by the theory,







ply expecting measures o f the same construct

perhaps the theory is fine and the particular

t o be m o r e strongly correlated than measures

measure is at fault. O n the other hand, if

o f different constructs. W i t h confirmatory

phenomena predicted by other theories could

factor analysis and structural equation mod-

be predicted accurately using the measure in

eling in general, it should be possible to test

question, but not those predicted by the first

the fit o f a theoretical model with an empiri-

theory, then it's the theory that is faulty, par-

cally obtained pattern o f correlations. T h e

ticularly if that theory continues t o fail t o

general principle remains the same: If the fit

receive support when using other measures.

o f the theory and the data is good, then keep both the theory and the measures used to

An Example Validation





Mu Ititrait-Mu Itimethod

Ma trix

T h e construct validation process discussed

operationalize the theory. I f not, revise either the theory or the measure, or both, taking into account the success o f the theory using other measures and/or the success o f the measures when used to test other theories.

above is particularly important for psychological constructs and theories, and a general discussion of construct validation research can be


found, for example, in Messick ( 1 9 8 9 , 1 9 9 5 ) .


One major aspect of such programs that has




Differences via


received much attention is the pattern o f inter-

M o s t important for social psychologists,

correlations among alternative measures o f the

there is no reason for the theories being tested

same construct, as well as those o f different

to be confined to patterns o f intercorrelations



in Social


among different types of individual differences.

of interactions between individual difference

O n the contrary, a more decisive test o f the


measure comes from testing theories that

approaches described in these publications

m a k e predictions about the effects o f situa-

allow one to avoid the need for artificially





tions. If a measure in fact measures a particu-

forming discrete groups (e.g., by dichotomiz-

lar attitude, then

change as a

ing via median-split), which not only reduces

function o f situational manipulations known

statistical power but also can result in spuri-

to induce attitude change. M o r e relevant for

ously significant results (e.g., M a c C a l l u m ,

the present chapter, if a measure identifies

Zhang, Preacher, 8c Rucker, 2 0 0 2 ; M a x w e l l

individuals with different processing dynam-

8c Delaney, 1993).

it should

ics, then individual differences are expected to

At the same time, as is the case for most

interact with situational factors in ways pre-

statistical models used to compute statistical

dicted by the theory o f the particular dynam-

significance, the accuracy and appropriateness

ics. In short, a particularly relevant question

of conclusions based on these regression-based

for those evaluating the construct validity o f a

frameworks also depend on the basic assump-

measure of individual differences for under-

tions made by the model. This is particularly

standing social psychological phenomena is

relevant as one takes advantage of the power

this: Has it been shown t o interact with theo-


retically relevant situational factors?








measurement scales, as compared to the more traditional analysis o f variance


based on categorical variables that are either


Continuous or Categorical? It Can Matter

nominal or at most ordinal. It is all the more important to examine relatively modelindependent Specifically,

"raw" it


summaries useful


regression-based analyses with



complement exploratory

analyses (e.g., Behrens, 1 9 9 7 , Tukey, 1 9 6 9 , 1977, 1980), to observe data without the lens of parametric statistical models. Models that

Let us suppose that a measure has been

do not rely on assumed linear relationships are

found with a great track record for produc-

also becoming available, such as the regression

ing theory-predicted patterns o f interactions.

analyses, as well as to become aware o f devel-

W h a t , then, would be the next step? W h a t

opments in nonlinear regression (e.g., Huet,

considerations apply as one plans to actually

1996), nonparametric regression (e.g., F o x ,

use the measure?

2000), and other nonparametric and robust

Numerous guides have been written on this topic, both for social psychology research in

methods (e.g., Hettmansperger 8c M c K e a n , 1998; Sprent, 2001).

particular (e.g., Judd, 2000) and in textbooks that provide an integrative and unified framework for analyzing continuous and categorical variables, within- and


To Block or Not to Block on Individual Difference Measures?

designs, and fixed and random effects (e.g.,

Although a variety o f publications discuss

Aiken & West, 1 9 9 1 ; Judd & McClelland,

data-analytic methods, a small sample of which

1 9 8 9 ; also see J . Cohen, Aiken, West, 8c

are mentioned above, there is yet another issue

Cohen, 2002). M o s t relevant for the analysis

that merits attention in considering the role o f


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS individual differences in social psychological


research. T h a t is, how should one take indi-

across individuals. If so, findings about the

vidual differences into account in designing




not vary


o f the manipulation obtained for one

study (compared to what to do once data are

individual should apply to another individual

collected)? Similar to many

as well. But what if the cognitive-affective

data-analytic individual

dynamics o f 8 0 % o f the study participants

differences, this also stems from the fact that,

resemble Figure 6 . 2 , and what if risk salience

unlike experimentally manipulated variables

facilitates self-checking behavior only among





operationalized by random assignment into

those with a low expectation o f developing

conditions, aspects o f observed as well as

cancer, while it interferes with self-checking

unobserved individual differences are corre-

among those with higher expectations? In

lated with each other. This simple and obvi-

that case, if we do the study with a random

ous fact has an important implication for the

sample o f students in this population, we are


likely to conclude that risk salience on the

o f experiments



effects o f situations as well, as discussed in some detail below.

whole facilitates self-checking. T h e conclusion from this low-risk popula-

Suppose one wishes to determine if making

tion, o f course, could be misleading when

salient one's risk for gender-specific types o f

generalizing the findings to a population o f

cancer would

older adults w h o

either increase or


c o m e for their


health-protective behaviors (e.g., frequency o f

checkups at a clinic. Blocking on the cancer

breast self-examination for women or testicu-

expectation to ensure adequate

lar self-examination for men). T o study this,

tion o f the entire range o f risk expectation,


students enrolled in an introductory psychol-

therefore, would increase the likelihood o f

ogy course are randomly assigned to a "risk

detecting the interaction. O f course, after



such blocking, the sample is no longer repre-

reminded o f their risks, or to a "reassurance"

sentative o f the Psychology 1 0 1 population.

condition that de-emphasizes the risk while

However, the information about the interac-

encouraging self-examination. Suppose also

tion would make it less risky to extrapolate to

that students' expectation that they might

populations o f older adults with a higher

develop breast or prostate cancer had been

expectation of risk.





assessed in a mass testing session at the begin-

Is blocking, then, an ultimate answer? N o t

ning of the term and was found to be quite

necessarily. Consider the possibility

low, reflecting the fact that they were typical

health risk expectations may be correlated

young adults. Should one simply randomly

with other variables. For example, suppose,

assign all students who sign up for this study

thanks to the successful breast cancer risk


to one of the two conditions? Or, because we

consciousness-raising campaigns, that breast

know that those who expect to develop cancer

cancer risks are more salient to women than

are underrepresented in this sample, should

prostate cancer risks are to men. Then block-

we try to recruit an equal number o f partici-

ing on the expectation o f gender-specific

pants high vs. low in this expectation? T h a t is,

cancer risk would result in more women in the

should we block on the expectation variable,

high risk expectation block. The observed

to employ a randomized block design?

interaction with the risk salience manipulation

T h e question is relatively inconsequential

may therefore be, in reality, an interaction

if the effects o f subject characteristics and the

with gender. T h a t is, risk expectation may be

situational manipulation (salience o f risk) do

confounded with gender. One may, o f course,

not interact, such that the effects o f the

further block on gender as well, sampling an



in Social Psychology


equal number o f women and men within high

one group is sampled from the high end o f a

risk expectation and low risk expectation

distribution and the other is from the low

blocks respectively. But there are potential pit-

end. (For excellent discussions o f this and

falls in doing so as well. For example, male

other methodological issues, see C o o k and

college students w h o are high in their health

Campbell [ 1 9 7 9 , pp. 1 7 5 - 1 8 2 ] . )

risk expectation may have some unusual characteristics not found in other men, such as being more pessimistic, or even hypochondriacal, while female college students with a comparable level o f health risk expectation may be no more pessimistic than average for female students. O n e could statistically examine and remove the effects o f these subject variables in a multiple regression framework, but that would require appreciable and


variations in risk expectations in the sample o f participants studied and being able to safely assume that the effects o f these variables are linear and can be extrapolated beyond the range observed in the particular sample. These are big assumptions.

Recasting the Problem: Going Beyond Individual Differences as a Poor Person's Substitute for an Experiment H o w might one solve this dilemma? As for many tough problems, the "solution" may require recasting the problem. W h a t is the nature o f the problem, and what are the assumptions that lead us t o it? T h e ultimate source o f the " p r o b l e m " is this: Individual difference characteristics are correlated with each other. In addition to the problem o f confounding—not being sure exactly which of the correlated variables are really responsi-

In the end, for every measured individual

ble for the phenomenon—there is the issue

difference characteristic, there can be many

that it is often not possible t o find people w h o

m o r e unobserved


represent certain combinations o f variables,

correlated with it, and that interact with

making it again more difficult to isolate the

situations significantly. Blocking on all these

effects o f each variable. O n e

variables is not practical, because to the

assumption, or a conceptual framework, that

extent that two variables are correlated posi-

led us to this quandary is that our goal is to

characteristics that


tively, it would be difficult to obtain samples

study the effects o f individual variables,

that are high on one variable and low on the

we are approaching individual differences as

other, and if one does, that sample may have

a way t o operationalize the variables.

some particular

characteristics associated

with being rare. F o r example, would the values,


But it is

a poor person's operationalization at best, as there is no random assignment.

expectations, and professional experi-

ence o f female professors o f engineering be understood simply by virtue o f their being female and being professors o f engineering? A



of Situations

for Each

Effects Person


regression-based estimation o f the "effects"

W h a t if, instead, we view each individual's

of being female and o f being a professor o f

social processing system, each with a distinc-

engineering observed in a typical random

tive configuration o f bundles o f variables "pre-

sample, which is likely to contain only a few,

sented by Nature" (Cronbach, 1 9 5 7 ) , as a

if any, actual female professors o f engineer-

natural unit, and study its functioning? T o the

ing, could be a tenuous exercise in extrapola-

extent that individuals' genetics, life experi-

tion. Furthermore, measurement error in the

ences, and culture shapes their relatively

scores used for blocking results in a differen-

unique social information processing systems,

tial regression to the mean, especially when

it may not be entirely unreasonable to liken the



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS role in social psychology of individual differences

2 0 0 2 ) . T h e "confounding" o f variables stops

among people to the role in biology of differ-

being a "problem" if we seek to understand

ences among species. Biologists don't view

the functioning o f the type o f system charac-

species as an operationalization o f variables—

terized by the specific configuration o f the

size, shape, number o f limbs, presence of feath-

variables, "as presented by Nature."

ers, and so on—and examine the "effects" of each of these characteristics in a regression equation. Rather, they take each species one



at a time and study the functions o f their

for Ultimate

structure—large-scale structures as well as the

The Implications

molecular structure, as encoded by the unique


D N A sequence that defines the species. In their

More Inductive,

work, it is clear that it does not even make

This way o f approaching science has some

sense to speak of the function o f a gene inde-

practical implications for social psychology.

pendent o f the context o f the rest of the

First, it should not be necessary to fret too

species's genome and the cellular chemical

much that the results of any given experiment

environment. T h a t is, the behaviors o f an

may be limited to the population o f individu-

organism, as well as the effect o f a particular

als studied, not because it's not true, but


Generalizability Generalizability: of a Type-Centered, Approach

gene, are a function of the Gestalt, the whole

because o f a frank acknowledgment that that

configuration o f the genome and the micro

is the case in every study one ever conducts.

(cellular) and macro (ecological) environment.

Integral for the proposed release from "gener-

If one likens species to individual persons

alizability fretting," however, is a shift in how

with their unique configuration of beliefs,

one conceptualizes empirical research. Instead

expectations, values, goals, and competencies,

of trying to achieve generality in any given

the fact that it is difficult to find people with

study, an alternative goal is a commitment to

every possible combination o f characteristics

making every empirical study a part o f a

should not be disconcerting, just as not being

cumulative scientific endeavor. This is based

able to find a species with feathers and gills

on faith, for lack o f a better word, in the ulti-

does not pose a problem for biologists. People

mate success by the scientific community in

need not be seen as an operationalization o f

identifying regularities and generalizable pat-

variables one would rather manipulate via

terns and principles, as studies conducted with

random assignment. Instead, it may be more

different populations o f individuals accumu-

fruitful to see each individual as a distinctive

late. But "faith" alone is not sufficient, o f

social information system

that dynamically

course. It requires that any single study not

interacts with the situations and generates

claim to have found a "general l a w " o f social


psychology that is independent o f the charac-

feelings, and

behaviors. In this

framework, one route for pursuing generaliz-

teristics o f the individuals serving as partici-

able knowledge, rather than knowledge spe-

pants. In turn, such a claim should not be

cific to a single individual, may be to identify

required as a criterion for publication. Instead,

types o f individuals w h o are similar in their

the burden on researchers is to find ways to

social information processing system. T h a t is,

make available as much information as possi-

it may be more fruitful to frame our mission

ble about the individuals w h o served as par-

in a less variable-centered, and more person-

ticipants, for future use in meta-analysis. At

(e.g., Anderson &

least, one can do better than describing study

Sedikides, 1 9 9 1 ; Magnusson, 1 9 9 8 ; Robins,

participants as "students enrolled in an intro-

J o h n , &c Caspi, 1 9 9 8 ; Shoda & LeeTiernan,

ductory psychology class at a large Western

and type-centered, way



in Social



university," which presupposes that all that

important for the individual, engaging the

matters is the subject o f the class and the size

natural distinctions among situations that the

and general geographical location o f the uni-


versity. Without any increase in word count,

makes. If seeing George, Dick, or D o n in

one could name the university, potentially

charge o f a situation makes a person more

conveying a lot more information.

nervous than when others are in charge, then

Second, the use o f a within-subject design, whenever it is possible, would





situations involving George, Dick, and D o n share

some important




allow for at least a rough assessment o f the

observer's social information processing sys-

extent to which there are individual differ-

tem picks up, and that in turn activate certain

ences that can moderate the effects o f the situ-

thoughts and feelings. But what is it about the

ations. If, for example, the effects o f situations

situations involving George, Dick, and D o n

vary reliably across participants, then, even if

that are different from others? T o achieve a

it is not known what individual difference

better understanding of the individual's pro-

characteristic is relevant, one at least knows

cessing system, and to go beyond observations

there is a need to be particularly cautious in


localizing the findings to the population stud-

responses to novel situations (would a situa-

ied and to report as much potentially relevant

tion involving Colin at the helm o f an organi-

in any given situation and


information about the population as is avail-

zation make the observer nervous too? O r

able. Such a finding is also an indication that

what if Madeline is in charge?), it is necessary

it would be fruitful to launch a concerted

to understand what it was about the situations

effort to identify the important differences in

that made each person respond in his or her

the social information

characteristic manner. T h a t is, situations need

processing systems

underlying the behavior being studied, which

to be understood at the level o f their

in turn may lead to identifying c o m m o n types


o f processing systems. Advancement in the

level (Shoda, Mischel, et al., 1 9 9 4 ) .


rather than at the

psycho­ nominal

statistical models, such as the multilevel anal-

One concrete example o f this approach is a

yses, and practical computer packages that

recent systematic attempt at generating a typol-

implement them, such as H L M , Mplus, and

ogy o f both situations and persons (Kelley


(discussed earlier in this chapter),

et al., 2 0 0 2 ) . T h e effort primarily focused on

would make it possible to characterize the

"situations o f interdependence," in which the

effects o f situations for each individual, and

behavior o f one partner in a dyad influences

then consider variations among individuals in

the rewards, such as pleasure and gratification,

the nature and magnitude o f such effects.

as well as the costs, such as physical or mental effort, pain, embarrassment, or anxiety, for the other partner. For example, a situation may be


characterized as one in which the basic features of the Prisoner's Dilemma situation apply, so that if reciprocation is assured, cooperative behavior results in the best outcome for both, but one stands to lose much if the partner does not reciprocate with cooperative behavior. In

Studies o f situations and persons go hand in

turn, for each type o f situation characteristic, a

hand. Predictable patterns o f an individual's

type (or types) o f persons could be identified

behavior variation across situations suggests

w h o share distinctive ways o f

that the distinctions among the situations are

to them.



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS Patterns of interdependence are, of course,

possibility o f rejection on the basis of race is a

only one aspect o f situations. For a given behav-

major distinguishing feature of situations for

ior o f interest, and for a given domain o f life,

another person, then it seems likely that the

there are likely to be a relatively small number

individual may be characterized by the process-

of key psychological features of situations that

ing dynamics o f racial rejection sensitivity

are particularly important. Identifying them can

(Mendoza-Denton et al., in press). The analysis

in turn lead to identifying types o f persons who

of the situations thus facilitates the identifica-

share distinct dynamics, as discussed earlier.

tion o f distinctive personal characteristics. And

For example, if for an individual a major dis-

the analysis o f the processing dynamics that

tinction among social situations is the presence

characterize an individual in turn leads one to

or absence of opportunities for demonstrating

situation features that characterize diagnostic

his or her superiority, it seems likely that the

situations. Thus, in order to truly understand

individual may be characterized by narcissistic

people, one needs to understand situations, and

processing dynamics (e.g., M o r f & Rhodewalt,

to really understand situations, one needs to

2 0 0 1 ) . If the presence or absence o f the

understand people.

NOTES 1. Furthermore, although for brevity and clarity the present chapter focuses on the immediate effects of situations, the role of individual differences of course is not limited to people's immediate responses to situations. Naturally occurring situations may differ in the kinds of people they attract, and people's reactions to situations in turn affect the future situations they encounter. Thus it may be necessary to understand the system consisting of the particular combination of the person and the environment, rather than each of them separately. That is, the behaviors of individuals may be the emergent properties of the system consisting of the individual and the environment, rather than simply a sum of the effects of situations, or persons, that can be observed in isolation. For further discussion of examples of such person-situation interactions, see Shoda, LeeTiernan, and Mischel (2002) as well as Zayas, Shoda, and Ayduk (2002). 2. The results of the survey are summarized in a table available at the following URL: It lists (a) The "P"—the individual difference, (b) The "S"—the situational dimension/feature with which the "P" construct interacted, and (c) The " B " in B = f (P x S)—the dependent variable on which the "P" and " S " interacted. It is intended as a continuously evolving table; readers who would like to contribute additional constructs are encouraged to send e-mail to P x [email protected], a dedicated e-mail account checked periodically to update the table. 3. In addition, a publication of the American Psychological Association, The Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures (Goldman, Mitchel, & Egelson, 1997), lists 2,078 measures that appeared in 37 journals in psychology, education, and sociology from 1991 to 1995. Literally thousands of measures are listed in such publications as Tests in Print V (Murphy, Impara, & Plake, 1999), Tests: A Comprehensive Reference for Assessments in Psychology, Education, and Business (Maddox, 1997), and The ETS Test Collection Catalog (Educational Testing Service, 1993). 4. For excellent discussions of this topic, see the Robinson, Shaver, and Wrightsman (1991) chapter titled "Criteria for Scale Selection and Evaluation," the John and Benet-Martinez (2000) chapter titled "Measurement: Reliability,



in Social


Construct Validation, and Scale Construction," and textbooks such as Aiken (1997), Anastasi and Urbina (1997), R. J . Cohen and Swerdlik (1999), Gregory (1996), and Kaplan and Saccuzzo (1997). The generalizability theory (Cronbach, Gleser, Nanda, 8c Rajaratnam, 1972) provides a unifying framework in which the many "types" of reliability can be thought of as a facet and is covered in Marcoulides (1999). 5. Discussions of various types of reliability and the ways of estimating them are readily available in other more in-depth treatments such as L. Crocker and Algina (1986), Feldt and Brennan (1989), and Nunnally and Bernstein (1994).

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Part III DESIGN AND ANALYSIS Section B Operationalizing the Constructs: Deciding What to Measure, Why, and How



Constructing and Evaluating Quantitative Measures for Social Psychological Research Conceptual Challenges and Methodological Solutions DUANE T . WEGENER Purdue





rom social psychology's earliest days,

Consider the following example. Attitude

researchers have based their theories

researchers have long been interested in under-



standing why persuasive appeals sometimes

study o f latent psychological constructs (e.g.,

fail. O n e reason may be that messages often

Thurstone, 1 9 2 8 ) . Concepts such as attitudes,

fail to target the underlying basis of an attitude.

attributions, stereotypes, and

Specifically, researchers have proposed

empirical investigations on



attraction are all hypothetical constructs that

attitudes (i.e., relatively enduring and global

cannot be directly observed but are nonethe-

evaluations) can be based on two distinct types

less presumed to play an important role in

of information: affect and cognition. T h e affec-

social behavior. O n e o f the great challenges to

tive basis refers to emotions and m o o d states

and successes o f social psychology has been

that a person associates with the attitude


object. For example, a person might form a






approaches to measuring such unobservable

positive attitude toward a Porsche based in

constructs. W i t h o u t


part on the emotions the car elicits (e.g., excite-

empirical examination o f social psychological

ment). T h e cognitive basis refers to beliefs

theories would not be possible.

about attributes o f the attitude object. For

such approaches,


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS instance, a person might develop a positive


attitude toward a Porsche based on beliefs


about the car's many positive features (e.g., superior handling and performance). It has

Quantitative measures typically represent in

been proposed that some attitudes may be

numerical form the standing of people or

based on affect whereas others may be based







on cognition (e.g., Katz & Stotland, 1 9 5 9 ) and

Quantitative measures are intended to pro-

that attitudes will be differentially susceptible

duce scores that at least approximate

to persuasive appeals


interval level o f measurement (i.e., units o f

mismatch the basis o f the attitude (e.g.,

measurement represent equal intervals). Thus,



quantitative measures can be contrasted with

Edwards, 1 9 9 0 ; Fabrigar & Petty, 1 9 9 9 ) . Any empirical investigation of such matching effects requires measures for a variety o f unobservable constructs. First, one must have some way o f measuring attitudes. Second, a researcher must be able to determine if attitudes are based predominantly on affect or on cognition. This requires the development o f measures of affective and cognitive bases. Such measures could be used either to confirm the success o f an experimental manipulation or as a means of categorizing naturally




Finally, this research question requires confirmation that manipulations o f the affective and cognitive nature o f the persuasive appeals were successful. Such confirmation requires measures to assess the nature of the evaluative responses produced by the messages.

measures intended to reflect categorical distinctions among people or objects (i.e., nominal scale measures) or simple rank ordering o f people or objects on a construct o f interest (i.e., ordinal scale measures). There are two potential advantages to having measures with interval level properties

(see Gaito, 1 9 8 0 ;

Townsend & Ashby, 1 9 8 4 ) . Such measures provide information not only about the relative standing o f people on a construct (as in nominal or ordinal data) but also about the magnitude of the difference between people. Also, whether a measure has interval level properties

c a n have implications for


appropriateness o f particular statistical procedures. F o r example, A N O V A , multiple regression, and factor analysis are more likely to be appropriate when measures at least approxi-

In this chapter, we review a variety o f

mate the interval level.

issues related to the construction and evaluation o f quantitative measures o f latent psychological constructs. W e begin by defining what quantitative measures are and contrasting them with other types o f measures. W e


then summarize the major steps and key

Constructing quantitative measures can be

issues in constructing quantitative measures

thought o f as occurring in three major stages.

(primarily within the c o n t e x t o f direct self-

First, the researcher must specify the goals o f

report measures o f attitudes and related con-

the measure and formulate the theoretical

structs). N e x t , we review procedures







evaluating the quality o f a quantitative mea-

Second, a pool o f potential items must be gen-

sure. Finally, we turn our attention to the

erated. Finally, the performance o f the indi-

development and assessment o f indirect or

vidual items must be evaluated and items for



the final scale selected. In the sections that


follow, we outline key challenges that occur at

measures, emphasizing

applicability o f traditional

procedures t o these alternative measures.

each stage and discuss strategies for dealing


and Evaluating




with these challenges. Throughout, we discuss

the measure intended for use in laboratory

these issues primarily within the context o f

settings, mass testing sessions, or telephone

self-report measures. W e do so because such

surveys? F o r example, a measure designed for

measures are the most widely used type o f

telephone surveys might have to be relatively


in social psychology.


brief because survey respondents often must

nearly all the challenges we discuss as well as

interrupt ongoing activities to complete the

many o f the strategies for dealing with them

measure and might need to consist o f items

are applicable to the construction o f quantita-

with relatively few response options because

tive measures that do not involve self-reports.

respondents must hold these response options in memory.

Specifying Measurement Goals and Theoretical Assumptions Specifying

Specifying Theoretical


Goals for the

All too often, social psychologists fail to


recognize the interdependence o f theory and

Successful measurement begins with specifying the intended

goals for the



(Crites et al., 1 9 9 4 ; Ostrom,


1 9 8 9 ) . Any time a researcher uses a particular

(e.g., see Aiken, 1 9 9 7 ; Friedenberg, 1 9 9 5 ) .

measure, that researcher is implicitly accepting

Obviously, the researcher must determine the

certain assumptions regarding the construct o f

domain the measure is intended to assess. For

interest. Consider a measure o f attitude basis

instance, in our example involving attitude

that asks people to directly report how much

bases, the domain o f interest includes the con-

their attitudes are based on emotions versus

structs o f attitudes, affective bases, and cogni-

beliefs. Such a measure requires the researcher

tive bases. However, outlining the relevant

to accept the assumption that people can suc-

constructs is not sufficient. One should also

cessfully introspect about the extent to which

consider the specificity o f the measures that

their attitudes are based on affect versus cog-

will be used. For instance, does the researcher

nition. Another approach might be to ask

wish to create general measures o f attitude,

people to report their emotions, beliefs, and

affect, and cognition that can be used across

attitudes. T h e researcher could then use statis-

a range of attitude objects (Crites, Fabrigar, &

tical procedures to assess the extent to which

Petty, 1 9 9 4 ; Eagly, Mladinic, & O t t o , 1 9 9 4 ) ,

the two bases are associated with the overall

or does the researcher wish to design mea-

attitude. This measurement strategy does not

sures for a single attitude object or a specific

require the assumption that people can suc-

class o f attitude objects (Abelson, Kinder,

cessfully introspect but would

Peters, &


researcher to accept that people can provide

Another issue is the population for which the

valid self-reports o f the content o f the bases o f

measure will be used. This has implications

their attitudes.


1 9 8 2 ; Breckler,

for later decisions such as the wording o f



Researchers should explicitly acknowledge

instructions and o f items as well as the over-

the interdependence

all length o f the measure. F o r example, a

theory and thus clearly delineate their funda-

measure designed for children might require

mental assumptions before constructing the

simpler wording, fewer items, and simpler

actual measure (e.g., see Crites et al., 1 9 9 4 ) .

o f measurement


response options than a measure designed for

Specification o f assumptions should address a

adults. Finally, the context in which the mea-

variety o f issues. Obviously, it should include

sure will be used should also be considered. Is

precise definitions o f constructs. F o r example,


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS J a c k s o n ( 1 9 7 1 ) suggested that researchers

or negative. Stating assumptions also can


descriptions o f

guide decisions regarding measurement fea-

people w h o score high and low on the con-

tures such as question format. For example, if

struct o f interest. Assumptions regarding the

one assumes positive and negative emotions

structural properties o f the key constructs

can coexist, one might choose to present emo-

might also be important. For example, one

tional states in a unipolar scale format rather

might consider attitude, affect, and cognition

than presenting opposing affective states in a



to be strictly bipolar or to be conceptually

bipolar scale format. A final benefit o f speci-

independent, with potential for coexisting

fying assumptions is that it communicates

positive and negative responses within each

information to users of the measure that can

construct. O n e would also want to address

assist in proper interpretation. O n e problem in

whether the measures are intended to apply

social psychology has been that

to many objects or whether new measures

researchers often have set out to study the

would be necessary for each new object.

same construct but have used measures that

Finally, one should




implicitly suggest very different conceptualiza-

regarding h o w the constructs will manifest

tions o f the construct (see Crites e t a l . , 1 9 9 4 ,

themselves. F o r instance, an attitude measure

for discussion o f this in the context of affective

based on overt behaviors rests on the assump-

and cognitive attitude bases).

tion that attitudes and overt behaviors should be strongly associated. Self-report measures

Item Generation

of attitude, affect, and cognition require the assumption


these constructs


manifest themselves in differential responses to specific semantic stimuli.



Item Content

and Wording.

Perhaps the

most fundamental issue in creating items is

Articulating theoretical assumptions prior

determining the content and wording o f

to constructing measures can translate into a

items. Although writing items requires sub-


jective judgment and creativity, there are

o f practical advantages. First, it

encourages careful evaluation o f assumptions.

strategies that can assist in the process. First,

Implicit assumptions are seldom questioned,

if conceptual assumptions

whereas explicit assumptions can be critically

measure have been specified, items can be

considered for potential flaws. Theoretical


assumptions also can provide a set o f stan-

respect t o the stated assumptions. Consider



to have good face validity


dards capable o f guiding item generation and

our definition o f the affective basis o f atti-

evaluation. Precise definitions help to clarify

tudes as comprising specific evaluative emo-

whether the items generated are appropriate

tional states associated with an object. O n e

in their content and comprehensive in their

might begin the process o f constructing items


by generating a list o f words c o m m o n l y used

defined the affective basis o f attitudes as com-

t o convey particular positive or negative

prising specific emotional states associated

emotional states. T h i s list could be further

with an object that are evaluative in nature.

expanded by using a thesaurus.

coverage. F o r example, imagine that

This definition could help determine which

Another complementary strategy is t o

content would be appropriate for items. For

examine related theories and measures. For

instance, it suggests that terms should reflect

example, theories o f emotion (e.g., Izard,


specific emotions rather than undifferentiated

1 9 7 7 ; Russell, 1 9 8 0 ) could be a source for gen-

positive or negative affect. It also suggests that

erating items for the measure of the affective

the emotion terms should be clearly positive

basis. Previously constructed measures also


and Evaluating




can be used. Obviously, in drawing on past

regarding whether appropriate coverage has

theory and measures, researchers should not

been achieved. Also, because even a carefully

blindly accept what has been proposed or used

implemented item generation process is likely

in the past. Instead, items drawn from these

t o produce some p o o r items, "content satu-

sources should be assessed in light of the stated

ration" o f the construct is advisable. T h a t is,

assumptions for the current measure. For

the researcher should have multiple items

instance, consider the Circumplex Model o f

designed t o represent each aspect o f the con-

Affect (e.g., Russell, 1 9 8 0 ) . This theory states

struct. F o r instance, an initial pool o f affec-

that affective states comprise differing amounts

tive items would need t o be sufficiently large

o f two underlying dimensions: evaluation and

and diverse such that one could argue that

arousal. Thus, in the context of this theory, it

each basic category o f emotion was repre-

is possible to have some affective states with

sented by multiple items.

little evaluative content. Such emotions do not fit within the stated theoretical assumptions o f





our example. Hence, in using this theory as a

usually rate items on some underlying bipolar

source for items, one would want to select only

or unipolar continuum. One key design issue is

the subset o f affective states that fit the theo-

how many scale points should be provided.

retical assumptions.

This decision requires balancing two compet-

Generating items also requires considera-

ing concerns (see Krosnick & Fabrigar, 1 9 9 7 ,

tion of how the items will be worded (e.g., see

in press). A response scale with many scale

Janada, 1 9 9 8 ; Krosnick & Fabrigar, in press;

points can potentially capture subtle distinc-


tions in ratings. However, there may be a m a x -

&c Presser, 1 9 8 1 ) .


should minimize ambiguity. Obscure words

imum level o f refinement at which respondents

that are unlikely to be recognized by most

can make their ratings. Scales exceeding this

respondents should be avoided, as should

level may provide no additional information or

complex wording structures (e.g., items with

even lead to poorer measurement as a result o f

double negatives or double-barreled items).

increased random error in respondents' rat-

Researchers should also avoid wording that

ings. Because the optimum number o f scale

introduces subtle biases in responses. For

points is likely to vary with respondent charac-

instance, item wording should not convey a

teristics and the constructs being assessed,

preference for one response option

there probably is no single number of scale


points that will always be ideal. Nonetheless,


studies examining the impact o f scale point Number

Multiple-item measures

of Items.

number on item reliability and validity have

are more likely to provide satisfactory psy-

suggested that the optimum number o f scale

chometric properties

points is usually five to seven (see Krosnick &

than are single-item

measures. This expectation is based on the

Fabrigar, 1 9 9 7 , in press).


fact that even well-designed items have some

Y e t another decision is h o w to label the

ambiguities and biases, but these sources o f

scale. At a minimum, a rating scale's end-

error tend to cancel out when items are

points must be defined with verbal labels.

aggregated. Furthermore, many constructs

However, intermediate intervals can be speci-

are broad in scope, making it difficult t o rep-

fied in a number o f ways. Some scales use

resent them adequately with a single item.

boxes; others use numerical values. Some

T h u s , researchers should generate a large

scales use verbal labels for all scale points

pool o f initial items. Specification o f theoret-



numbers). Interestingly, such design features












DESIGN AND ANALYSIS can influence responses. For example, the

(Krosnick 8c Fabrigar, in press;

numerical values used in the response scale

et al., 1996).

can convey subtle differences regarding the

options are used and the distribution o f



responses for these questions is o f specific

his colleagues (Schwarz &

interest, it is advisable to rotate the order o f

o f the

Schwarz and




Thus, when categorical response

B r a d b u r n , 8c

options. Fewer studies have examined the

Schwarz, 1996) conducted a series o f studies

impact o f response option order for rating


1 9 9 1 ; Sudman,

on the impact o f numerical values o f response

scale questions. Given the ordinal nature o f

scales. They found that respondents inter-

response options for these types o f items, only

preted the 11-point rating scale as unipolar

two orders are generally sensible. T o date,

when the numerical values were 0 to 1 0 , but

research suggests that there is a tendency for

as bipolar when the values were - 5 to + 5 .

primacy effects to occur with rating scales

Studies also have examined the impact o f

(Krosnick 8c Fabrigar, in press). Thus, if


researchers have an interest in interpreting the

labels only for endpoints. M o s t studies have

distribution o f responses across the options, it

verbal labels for each scale point found






increased when fully labeled scales are used (Krosnick &


1 9 9 7 , in

is advisable to counterbalance the order o f the rating scale options.


Researchers must also specify the order in

However, use o f verbal labels for all scale

which they will present the items. Such deci-

points is likely t o be feasible only when a

sions can influence the distribution o f item

modest number o f scale points is used (i.e.,

responses as well as the correlation between

seven points or less) and is likely to improve

items. Predicting the nature o f these effects is

item quality only when appropriate labels are

difficult because a variety o f cognitive pro-



cesses can play a role in item order effects (see

researchers should choose labels that have

Krosnick 8c Fabrigar, in press; Schuman 8c




precise meanings, reflect the full range o f the


continuum o f judgment, and represent rela-

Nonetheless, there are some practices with

tively equal intervals along the continuum.

respect to item ordering that generally will be

See Krosnick and Fabrigar (in press) for a

appropriate. W h e n using several multiple-

description o f studies aimed at determining

item measures, it is best to present the items

the scale values o f particular verbal labels.

associated with each measure as a clearly

1 9 8 1 ; Sudman



defined block o f items rather than interminOrder.

gling items from different measures. A block

T h e order of response options can influence

presentation is less likely to confuse respon-




and Item

being selected

dents and can even more effectively commu-

(Krosnick 8c Fabrigar, in press; Schuman 8c

nicate the intent o f the measure, thereby

Presser, 1 9 8 1 ; Sudman et al., 1996). M o s t o f

increasing reliability (Knowles, 1988). In

this work has been done with questions using

addition, when one measure assesses a more

categorical response options

general construct than another, it is best to

the likelihood o f options



rating scales. These studies have indicated that

present the general measure prior to the spe-

either primacy effects (i.e., selecting earlier

cific measure. Finally, when measures are o f

options rather than later options) or recency




effects (i.e., selecting later options rather than

order is advisable when feasible. Thus, in the

earlier options) can occur depending

context o f our example, it would be sensible


whether questions are presented orally or

to present the items from the attitude, affec-

visually and on the plausibility o f the options

tive basis, and cognitive basis measures as


and Evaluating



three sets of items. T h e attitude measure

an " X " next to any statements with which

should be presented first, with the affective

they disagree. T h e final score is computed by

and cognitive measures counterbalanced.

averaging the scale values o f the statements endorsed by the respondent. Although developed for assessing attitudes, the procedure




for Item

can be used for a wide range o f constructs. Generation

For example, Breckler ( 1 9 8 4 ) used it to assess

Thus far, we have discussed numerous pro-

affective and cognitive bases o f attitudes. H e

cedures for creating items. These procedures

generated statements reflecting varying levels

can be used in a number o f combinations to

of positive and negative emotional reactions

construct items that best suit the research

to the attitude object (i.e., snakes) that he then

objectives. However, it is worth noting that a

had judges rate according to the level o f

number o f formal scaling procedures for gen-

positivity/negativity these statements reflected.

erating and presenting items have been devel-

Similarly, he developed statements reflecting

oped. These procedures were developed to

beliefs about varying levels o f positive and

measure attitudes,

but the logic o f each

approach can be adapted to measure a variety

negative attributes o f the object that judges also rated in terms o f positivity/negativity.

of other constructs. In the sections that follow, we discuss item generation for three o f the




T h e Likert

most widely used o f these scaling procedures.

M e t h o d of Summated Ratings (Likert, 1 9 3 2 ;

Later, we will return to these approaches

Mueller, 1 9 8 6 ) also begins by defining the

when discussing methods o f item selection.

attitude object o f interest. T h e researcher then generates approximately 3 0 statements reflect-


ing positive or negative evaluations o f the

Thurstone Equal-Appearing Interval (EAI)

object. Unlike the EAI method, half of the

Thurstone method



(see Mueller, 1 9 8 6 ; Thurstone &

statements should

be clearly positive


Chave, 1 9 2 9 ) begins the item generation pro-

the other half clearly negative. Statements are

cess by specifying the attitude object to be

then presented (in random order) with 5-point

evaluated. A pool is generated that includes

response scales ranging from strongly

approximately 5 0 statements reflecting vary-



agree to

Respondents indicate levels

ing levels o f positivity and negativity toward

of agreement with each statement. T h e score is

the object. T h e goal o f this stage is to create


by assigning a value o f 5 for

statements that represent all levels o f the eval-

"strongly agree" responses to positive state-

uative continuum.


ments, a value o f 4 for "agree" responses to

quently rated by judges (usually 1 0 or more)

positive statements, and so on. Negative items

on an 11-point scale indicating the extent to

are reverse-scored. T h e sum o f item responses

which each statement reflects a positive or

reflects the attitude. As discussed later, items

Statements are

negative evaluation o f the object. T h e average

are chosen for the final attitude measure based

scale values across judges are calculated for

on the correlation o f individual items with the

each statement. T h e final EAI measure con-

total score.

sists o f two statements with average scale values at each o f the 1 1 levels o f the evaluative continuum.

These statements

(in random

order) are presented in a checklist format in



ential approach

T h e semantic differ-

(Mueller, 1 9 8 6 ; Osgood,

Suci, &c Tannenbaum, 1 9 5 7 ) usually consists

which respondents place a check next to any

of 4 to 1 0 bipolar rating scales. These scales

statements with which they agree and place

typically are 7-point scales with scale points

DESIGN AND ANALYSIS represented by boxes (numerical values are

versus 3.4) because they allow a researcher to

sometimes used) that the respondent checks to

select items at equal intervals. Optimal items

indicate his or her rating. T h e endpoints are

also have relatively little variance in judges'

labeled with adjectives that reflect opposite

ratings because low variance suggests high

meanings and are highly evaluative in nature

consensus among judges on the location o f

(e.g., good/bad, positive/negative). Respon-

that item on the evaluative continuum. Thus,

dents rate the attitude object on each of these

selection o f items for a Thurstone EAI scale

bipolar scales. T h e attitude is typically com-

typically involves choosing two items to repre-

puted by assigning a value o f 7 for maximally

sent each o f the 11 equally spaced intervals.

positive ratings, a value of 6 to the next most

These two items for each point are the two

positive ratings, and so on. T h e overall score is

items that come closest to that point in their

the sum or average o f ratings. This approach

mean scale values and have the smallest

could be used to assess any construct for which

variances in ratings.

it is possible to find word pairs that reflect the

Although judges' ratings usually have been

opposite ends o f the continuum o f interest.

used to select items for Thurstone EAI atti-

Breckler ( 1 9 8 4 ) and Crites e t a l . ( 1 9 9 4 ) con-

tude scales, there is nothing precluding use

structed semantic differential scales to assess

of this approach to select items assessing

the affective bases o f attitudes (e.g., happy/sad)

other constructs (e.g., see Breckler, 1 9 8 4 ) .

and the cognitive bases o f attitudes (e.g.,

O n e could have judges rate any set o f state-


ments on some underlying

dimension o f

judgment and use these ratings for item selec-

Item Evaluation and Selection

tion. Furthermore, if items needed to possess several properties, one could obtain ratings

Even when constructed with care, it is

on multiple dimensions. For instance, for

unlikely that all items generated will be satis-

scales assessing affective and cognitive bases

factory. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate the

of attitudes, one might have judges rate where

quality o f items and discard those that are

the statements fall on the evaluative contin-

inadequate. Various approaches have been

uum. T h e same or different judges could also

proposed for accomplishing this goal. These

rate the extent t o which the

procedures are not mutually exclusive, and

reflected emotional reactions to or beliefs


thus item selection is most effective using

about the attitude object. T h e final scales

some combination o f procedures.

would consist o f items that reflect equal inter-


vals along the evaluative continuum and that were seen as either clearly emotional in nature Judge's


(for the affective scale) or clearly object

Judges' ratings can be examined to see h o w well items reflect the desired Perhaps the best-known

attributes (for the cognitive scale).


example o f this

approach is the Thurstone EAI procedure. As



noted earlier, judges rate each item on the

Another strategy for selecting items is to

extent to which that item implies a negative or

examine if items can detect between-group

positive evaluation o f the attitude object.

differences (e.g., see Aiken, 1 9 9 7 ; Janada,

Descriptive statistics are then computed for

1 9 9 8 ) . This strategy involves identifying two

each item. Optimal items are those items that

groups of people for which there is a strong

have a mean rating very close to one o f the

basis to assume differences on the construct

11-scale points (e.g., a mean value of 3.1

of interest. Items are administered to both


and Evaluating




groups, and statistical tests for mean item


differences across the groups are conducted.

approach is based on the logic that such items

Items that fail to show significant differences

do not differentiate between high and low






scorers on the overall measure. Thus, these

Obviously, the utility o f this approach rests on

items contribute little to the overall score and

the soundness o f the groups selected. Group

are likely to assess a different construct from



in the expected direction


approaches have been used







widely in the development o f psychological

(Friedenberg, 1 9 9 5 ) . T h e item-total correla-

measures. For example, within social/person-

tion is integral to the Likert summated ratings

ality psychology, the Need for Cognition Scale


o f attitude measurement


was partially developed using this approach

1 9 3 2 ; Mueller, 1 9 8 6 ) and is discussed in most

(Cacioppo & Petty, 1 9 8 2 ) . Need for cognition

texts on psychological measurement (e.g., see

is the dispositional tendency t o engage in and

Friedenberg, 1 9 9 5 ; J a n a d a , 1 9 9 8 ) .

enjoy effortful cognitive activity. O n e method by which items were selected was to examine differences in items between university faculty



members (a group presumed to be high on this

O n e o f the most widely used and infor-

trait) and assembly-line workers (a group

mative selection procedures is exploratory

assumed to be low on this trait).

factor analysis (EFA). This approach was the basis for the semantic differential method o f

Item Descriptive

attitude measurement (Osgood et al., 1 9 5 7 ) ,


and it has been used in constructing numer-

Descriptive statistics also can be used to identify problematic items (e.g., Allen 8c Y e n ,

ous other measures (Floyd 8c


1 9 9 5 ) . E F A is a set o f statistical procedures

1 9 7 9 ) . Some methodologists have suggested

designed to uncover the number and nature

that items with mean response levels near the

of latent factors underlying a set o f items.

endpoints o f the scale should be discarded

Implementing E F A involves a multistep pro-

because nearly everyone responds similarly t o

cess in which researchers have a choice o f a

these items (e.g., agrees or disagrees). These

variety o f different procedures t o accomplish


each step. F o r this reason, conducting E F A

people. Likewise, items with little variance

can be confusing, and it is n o t unusual for

items are unlikely to differentiate

are unlikely t o differentiate among respon-


dents. O f note, this concerns variance in rat-

M a c C a l l u m , 8c Strahan, 1 9 9 9 ) . A discussion


be m a d e

(Fabrigar, Wegener,

ings o f agreement. This is a separate issue

o f the key issues involved in implementing

from the identification o f items low in vari-

EFA is beyond the scope o f this chapter.

ance on judges' ratings o f item favorability in

However, reviews o f these issues are available

construction o f the Thurstone scales.

(Fabrigar, Wegener, et al., 1 9 9 9 ; Finch 8c West,

1 9 9 7 ; Floyd 8c W i d a m a n , 1 9 9 5 ;

Wegener 8c Fabrigar, 2 0 0 0 ) . Item-Total


An E F A provides several types o f informa-

Researchers often assess items by comput-

tion useful for constructing measures. First,

ing the correlation between each item and the

EFA indicates h o w many factors (latent con-

total score or the corrected total score (i.e., the

structs) are needed to account for the correla-

total score on the measure except for the item

tions a m o n g

being correlated with it). Those items that fail

dimensionality o f a set o f items can be tested.

to show sizable item-total correlations in the

For example, imagine a pool o f items assessing


items. T h u s , the





the affective and cognitive bases o f attitudes. It


would be expected that these items should tap

error and/or are strongly influenced by con-

two distinct dimensions. E F A could be used to

structs specific to only that item (which pre-




test if two factors underlie this pool o f items.

sumably go beyond the construct that the set

If this did not occur, this would suggest either

of items was designed to assess).

that the items had been poorly constructed or that the researcher's assumptions



E F A has long been used


develop measures, confirmatory factor analysis

these constructs were in error. Second, E F A

(CFA) has become increasingly popular. C F A

provides information regarding the magnitude

is based on the same underlying mathematical

and direction o f relations o f the factors with

model as E F A but involves a somewhat differ-

each item (i.e., factor loadings). Thus, for any

ent set o f procedures. E F A presumes that a

given factor, a researcher can determine which

researcher does not have precise prior knowl-

items that factor influences as well as which

edge of the underlying structure of items. Thus,

items it does not. T h e factor loadings can then

the number of factors and the relations o f fac-

provide insight into the nature o f each factor.

tors to items is determined empirically rather

For instance, in our example, a researcher

than specified a priori. In contrast, C F A

would expect to find two factors, one primar-

assumes relatively precise knowledge

ily influencing the affect items and the other

requires a researcher to specify a priori how


primarily influencing the cognition items. If

many factors exist as well as which items these

not, this would suggest poorly constructed

factors will and will not influence.

items or erroneous theoretical assumptions. Factor loadings also allow a researcher to

In recent years, a number of researchers have advocated the use o f C F A rather than

identify problematic items. Affect items ideally


should show substantial factor loadings on the

O n e possible reason is that some methodolo-

(e.g., J o h n & Benet-Martinez, 2 0 0 0 ) .

affect factor (in the theoretically expected

gists have criticized the seemingly arbitrary

direction) but show low loadings on the cog-

nature o f E F A . However, many o f these criti-

nition factor. An affect item that fails to load

cisms stem from improper implementation o f

on the affect factor is not assessing its intended

EFA rather than inherent flaws in the method

construct. In contrast, an affect item that sub-

(Fabrigar, Wegener, et al., 1 9 9 9 ; Wegener &

stantially loads on both the affect factor and

Fabrigar, 2 0 0 0 ) . Indeed, when selecting items,

the cognition factor is assessing a construct in

it is often more appropriate to use E F A than

addition to what it was designed to assess.

CFA because the items being examined are

An E F A generates two other useful pieces

often newly constructed items whose proper-

of information. W h e n oblique rotations are

ties are not well established. Also, assump-

used, a matrix o f correlations among the

tions regarding the structure o f the items

factors is provided. This indicates the extent


to which factors are distinct from one another

assumptions regarding underlying

and can assist in interpreting the nature o f the

are especially tentative when large pools of





Strong structure

factors. For example, this information would

items are examined because o f the increased

indicate the extent to which the affective and

possibility that

cognitive bases o f attitudes are distinct from

emerge. Thus, when items are initially evalu-




one another. E F A also produces communality

ated, there is often insufficient basis to confi-

estimates for items. These estimates indicate

dently specify one or a small subset of a priori



models as required in C F A . For example, if

explained by the factors. Items with low c o m -

items are being developed for a unidimen-

munalities are problematic because such items

sional measure, there is often little theory to


o f variance in the

Constructing guide development

o f multifactor

and Evaluating




conduct a C F A in a subsequent study to

(including the number and nature o f alterna-

provide more precise tests of the measure's


underlying structure. Thus, the development

affected by them). Y e t , E F A could identify

of a measure often begins with E F A and

when multiple factors influence the items,

moves to C F A at later stages in the research

thereby identifying complexities and problems


within the item set.

Gorsuch, 1983).

tive factors and

the specific items

(Fabrigar, Wegener, et al., 1 9 9 9 ;

Some researchers might also prefer C F A because o f the presumed precision o f being


able to test the goodness o f fit for alternative models and of being able to statistically compare the fit o f nested models (as one typically



O n e increasingly popular



item evaluation is item response theory ( I R T )

would have when differing numbers o f fac-

(Embretson 8c Reise, 2 0 0 0 ; M c K i n l e y 8c

tors are hypothesized to influence the same

Mills, 1 9 8 9 ; Steinberg 8c Thissen, 1995).

items). Because E F A and C F A are based on

I R T is a class o f procedures examining the

the same statistical model, it is possible to

relationship o f people standing



conduct the same sorts o f model tests and sta-

latent construct to responses on a set o f

tistical comparisons o f models that differ in

items. T h e heart o f I R T is the "item informa-

the number o f factors (see Fabrigar, Wegener,

tion curve." This is a graphical depiction o f

et al., 1999). In fact, some indices o f model fit

the relation between a person's standing on a

that are popular for C F A were originally

construct and the probability o f selecting a

developed for use with E F A (e.g., T u c k e r &

particular response on an item. A wide range

Lewis, 1973).



exists for I R T . Although

Another strength of E F A is that it provides

detailed discussion is beyond the scope o f

information that C F A is not well suited to pro-

this chapter, it is useful to distinguish among

vide. M o s t notably, E F A can confirm not only

certain basic features.

that an item loads on the factor it is intended

T h e best known I R T models were devel-

to load on but also that it does not load on fac-

oped for dichotomous response items where

tors it should not load on (Gorsuch, 1983).

the items are presumed to reflect a single latent

Examining possible cross-factor loadings in

construct. O n e feature

C F A is much more cumbersome. Because

among these models is the number o f param-

cross-factor loadings are unexpected, they are

eters in the model. One-parameter models rep-

often not specified a priori in a C F A . Thus, a

resent differences among items solely in terms



researcher may fail to detect items that are

of a "threshold" parameter. This parameter

problematic because of cross-factor loadings.

indicates at what level on the construct there is

Alternatively, if each item is specified to load

a .50 probability o f endorsing the item. T w o -

on multiple factors in a C F A , the researcher

parameter models also include an "item dis-

may encounter model identification problems


or produce a solution that is difficult to inter-

parameter represents differences in the extent

pret because it has not been rotated for simple

to which items are related to the underlying

structure (as done in E F A ) .

construct. Three-parameter models add


W e do not wish to imply that C F A is not useful. Instead, our position is that E F A is






parameter. T h e lower-

asymptote parameter reflects the probability

often more appropriate when initially selecting

of endorsing an item at the lowest level o f the

items. Once items have undergone some evalu-

construct. In the context o f objective tests, this

ation and refinement, it is often sensible to

parameter indicates h o w likely it is that a




person will correctly guess the answer in the

constructs, or relating to the construct o f

absence o f any knowledge. In social psychol-

interest in a manner different from that o f

ogy, the two-parameter model is likely to be

other items. A second type o f information

the most conceptually sensible (Embretson &

that can guide item selection is the estimates

2000; Finch & West, 1997; Steinberg 8c Thissen, 1995). Although unidimensional

of item parameters, which can be used to


generate item information curves for each

I R T models for dichotomous response items

item. As noted earlier, these curves (in a two-

have been most c o m m o n , models have been


developed to deal with a broader range o f sit-

regarding the threshold o f endorsement for a

8c Reise, 2000). F o r

particular response and h o w well the item

example, one- and two-parameter unidimen-

differentiates among people on the construct.






sional models for items using rating scale

Selection o f items using information curves

formats have been developed.

depends on the goals o f the measure.

Two-parameter rating scale models seem

Imagine that the goal is to develop an affec-

best suited for the items social psychologists

tive basis measure capable o f effectively dis-

usually examine. Like dichotomous response

criminating among people at all levels o f the

item models, these models produce item infor-

construct. In the case o f rating scale response

mation curves. However, rather than produc-

formats, it is possible for items to differentiate

ing a single item curve, these models produce

among people along the full range of the

a set o f curves. Each curve reflects the proba-

affect. Thus, items with high discrimination

bility o f selecting one of the response options

values and for which each o f the response

as a function o f the level o f the construct. For

options contributes useful information should

example, in a 5-point strongly


disagree scale, there would be a curve for the

be selected (see Steinberg

8c Thissen, 1995). In

other cases, the measure may not need to

probability o f selecting the "strongly agree"

discriminate at all levels o f the construct. For

response, a curve for the probability o f select-

instance, if the construct is normally dis-

ing the "agree" response, and so on. These

tributed in the population, the majority of

curves indicate how well the item discrimi-

respondents will tend to fall within the mod-

nates among people along the range o f the

erate range o f the continuum. In such a situa-

construct and the extent to which each scale

tion, it may not be necessary to select items

point contributes information regarding the

that can differentiate at the extremes. Instead,

construct (see Embretson

8c Reise, 2000; Steinberg 8c Thissen, 1995). T h i s allows the

one might place an emphasis on items capable

researcher to assess whether respondents are

continuum. In contrast, if a researcher wishes

making full use o f the response scale or

to differentiate people at one o f the extremes,


emphasis should be placed on items that dis-

the researcher can simplify


of differentiating people in the middle of the

response scale (e.g., reduce from seven t o three

criminate at that end o f the continuum. Thus,

options) without loss o f information.

another benefit o f I R T is its ability to con-

W h e n using I R T to select items, t w o types of






struct measures designed to assess a specific portion o f the dimension o f interest.

8c Reise, 2000). First, it is possi-

ble to compute item-fit indices. O n e should discard items demonstrating p o o r fit based


on the logic that p o o r item fit is often a function o f items n o t reflecting the construct o f

Once items have been selected, a researcher


must evaluate the quality o f the measure. M a n y

being influenced




and Evaluating



of the considerations involved in selecting items

T h e concept of r a n d o m error is central to

also relate directly to evaluation. F o r example,

a classical test theory view o f measures (in

dimensionality often determines the utility o f

which a response is conceived as "true score

the measure (e.g., if the purpose is to measure

plus e r r o r " ) (e.g., L o r d & N o v i c k , 1 9 6 8 ) .

a unidimensional construct). As discussed in

These random errors should not, in principle,

the following sections, the general issues o f

be reproduced across multiple responses (i.e.,

validity and generalizability cross the tradi-

either multiple items or multiple responses to

tional boundaries between measure construc-

the same item). This would be one reason to

tion and evaluation. In m a n y ways, evaluation

construct measures consisting o f multiple

(traditionally described as reliability and valid-

rather than single items. Even a measure con-

ity) comes down to the all important match

sisting o f multiple items ultimately would

between the theoretical construct and the spe-

have some amount o f error, however. F r o m

cific items intended to tap the construct. Some

this point o f view, reliability is defined as the

questions about the items relate to the consis-

proportion o f variance that can be attributed

tency of the items with one another. This is

to true scores rather than random error. If all

partly assessed by factor-analytic or other

the variance in responses is due t o the true

inductive methods o f item selection (e.g., item-

score (i.e., to differences in levels o f the con-

total correlations). But the items must also

struct o f interest), then reliability would be 1.

relate closely t o the intended construct, and

If all the variance is due t o random error,

that assessment involves questions o f validity

reliability would be zero. T h e correlation

rather than reliability. W e begin this section

between the observed response and the true

by discussing traditional issues o f reliability

score would be the square root o f the relia-

along with an assessment o f the most c o m m o n

bility o f the measure.

index of reliability (i.e., Cronbach's alpha)

Evidence for reliability traditionally has

(Cronbach, 1 9 5 1 ) . W e continue by describing

taken many forms, including test-retest (sta-

a broad structure for thinking about (and

bility), internal consistency (split-half), and

organizing) the various types o f evidence one

equivalence reliability. O f course, these dif-

might garner in the process o f validating a

ferent types o f reliability address

proposed measure.

sources for error in measures. Test-retest



(stability) reliability addresses variation in individuals' responses (generally to the same


items) across occasions. Internal consistency

As noted when discussing item selection, it

addresses errors that occur because o f differ-

is likely that nearly all psychological measures

ent specific items used to represent the con-

are influenced, in part, by error. Techniques


o f interest.

Similarly, equivalence

such as factor analysis explicitly incorporate

addresses errors associated with the sampling


of items used in t w o alternative forms o f the


systematic errors



measurement model. T h a t is, responses to

same measure.


items can be influenced by random events (such as unexpected noise in the environment that

temporarily distracts the




from the item) or by factors that influence

Reports o f internal consistency of measures

only that item (such as reactions to a w o r d

are ubiquitous in social psychology. Perhaps

that appears only in that item, even if the

the presentation o f information about internal

reaction t o that w o r d is n o t the intended

consistency is so frequent because internal

construct to be measured).

consistency is easily assessed using only the



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS responses o f interest in the study itself.

the items) (e.g., see Schmitt, 1 9 9 6 ) . Because

Although there are a variety o f indices of inter-

alpha does not address the dimensionality o f

nal consistency (see Rosenthal &



1 9 9 1 ) , the most frequently used index is






exploratory factor analysis or confirmatory

Cronbach's alpha (Cronbach, 1 9 5 1 ) . Alpha

factor analysis) are necessary. As has been

can be used any time the same people respond

noted for some time, Cronbach's alpha should

to multiple items intended to assess the same

not be used if a measure is found to be multi-

construct. It does not require two or more test-

dimensional (Cronbach, 1 9 5 1 ; Schmitt, 1 9 9 6 ) ;

ing occasions (as in assessments o f test-retest

instead, one should create unidimensional sub-

reliability), nor does it require construction o f

scales and then use alpha separately for each

alternative forms o f the measure (as in tests o f

subscale (John & Benet-Martinez, 2 0 0 0 ) .

equivalence). T h e coefficient alpha is often the

It should also be noted that extremely high

only evidence given that the items in the

internal consistency can sometimes signal

measure sufficiently "hang together." Related

potential problems with a measure. Imagine

to this, a large alpha is sometimes interpreted

that a person uses multiple items to measure

as evidence that the items all index a c o m m o n

cognitive bases o f attitudes, but every item


uses the same attribute o f the object. The only far

difference across items in this example is the

beyond the information actually provided by

use o f different but equivalent names for the



inferences go

coefficient alpha. Alpha is influenced by both

attitude object.

the interrelatedness o f the items and


would have extremely high interitem correla-

number of items in the measure (see J o h n &

tions (and a high Cronbach alpha), but they

Benet-Martinez, 2 0 0 0 ) . This means that one

would also represent a much more narrow

could have equally high alpha coefficients

representation of the construct than if the

from one measure with many items but low

items assessed different attributes.





Such items



measure with few items but higher interitem correlations. As formalized in the Spearman-



Brown prophecy formula (see Lord & Novick,

Test-retest reliability generally is exam-

1 9 6 8 ; Rosenthal & Rosnow, 1 9 9 1 ) , alpha

ined by computing the correlation between

always increases as additional items are added

two different administrations o f the same


similar interitem correlations),

measure. T h e magnitude o f the correlation is

though this is less the case as the number of

presumed to reflect the reliability o f the mea-

items increases and as the overall interitem cor-

sure. However, it is important to recognize

relations increase. Because coefficient


that test-retest correlations reflect not only

represents the mean o f the reliabilities com-

the reliability o f the measure but also the

puted from all possible split halves, this also

stability o f the construct it assesses, the simi-

means that alpha does not measure the homo-

larity o f the contexts in which the measure is

geneity o f the interitem correlations; nor does

administered, and the degree to which there

it reflect the unidimensionality o f the scale.

were intervening influences on the construct.

That is, the mean reliability could increase by

T h u s , there are a number o f limitations with

introducing pockets o f highly intercorrelated

use o f simple correlations between

items. In effect, alpha could increase by mak-

administrations o f the same measure or par-

ing the measure multidimensional rather than

allel measures (see also Bollen, 1 9 8 9 ) .


unidimensional (if added items from a second

One might argue that the Pearson correla-

dimension raise the average intercorrelation of

tion represents a reasonable index o f reliability


and Evaluating




per se only if there was either perfect stability

parties tend to be quite stable over periods of

of the theoretical construct over time or if the

years, whereas attitudes

shift in the construct were identical for all indi-

policy stands are much more variable (e.g.,



viduals responding to the measure (so the rela-

Converse, 1964). Recent research also has

tive standing


shown that attitudes based on effortful cogni-

should, with a perfectly reliable measure, be

tive processing are more likely to persist over

o f people on the

the same at each point in time). However, if

time than are equally e x t r e m e



formed or changed with lower levels of pro-

measurements such that some people increase

cessing (e.g., see Petty, Haugtvedt, 8c Smith,

on the construct whereas others decrease, then

1995). Therefore, when examining stability as

influences the construct


the correlation coefficient would treat as unre-

a form o f reliability, it is less than meaningful

liability (due to measurement error in the

to provide or seek global recommendations

classic test theory approach) variance that is

for levels o f "acceptable" test-retest reliability.

actually the result of changes in the construct

O n e would clearly expect different levels for

of interest. Whenever one attempts to assess

different constructs or even with different test-

test-retest reliability, there is a balance between

ing procedures for the same construct.

allowing enough time to elapse that consis-

Whereas changes in the construct can lead

tency of response is not due to memory of pre-

to correlations that underestimate reliability,

vious responses (and attendant consistency

the test-retest correlation could also overesti-

pressures) and yet not so much time that there

mate reliability if the "errors" at each occa-

have been substantial changes in the construct

sion are positively correlated. T h a t is, if the

of interest (e.g., see Remmers, 1963).

same omitted factors influence both measures,

In interpreting test-retest correlations, one

the simple correlation could


must take into account the extent to which

the reliability o f the measure o f the intended

one would theoretically expect the construct


to be stable versus malleable. For example, if

threaten the validity o f inferences about the

one is assessing overall attitudes or the affec-

measure when

tive or cognitive bases o f attitudes


solely in terms o f the intended construct (see

products that are commonly encountered in

later sections on different forms o f validity

television ads, it should not be surprising if


there are substantial changes in the attitudes




the measure

would is



Because correlations across two time peri-

or in the bases over time (if the delay between

ods can conflate instability o f the measure

assessments is sufficiently long). One might

with unreliability, it might often be useful to

actually consider variables as falling along a

employ methods that can separate instability

continuum o f theorized stability, with vari-

of the construct from unreliability of the mea-

ables such as cognitive abilities or personality

sure. O n e example procedure combines latent

traits expected to be quite stable over time,

growth curve analysis with latent state-trait

with variables such as attitudes or beliefs

models to derive separate indices o f stability

expected to be relatively stable but capable o f

and reliability (Tisak 8c Tisak, 2 0 0 0 ; for an

change, and with variables such as concept


accessibility or focus o f attention expected to





Preacher, 8c Banaji,



be quite malleable, even from moment to

Similar to the earlier discussion, Tisak and

moment. O f course, even within a single type

Tisak assume that most psychological con-

of construct, there might be great variability in


how stable or malleable the variable should

aspects and "trait" (stable) aspects. Therefore,

be. For example, attitudes toward political

one might construct indices o f reliability that








are appropriate for different types o f variables

bear on what the measure does and does not

(e.g., including the malleable component as

assess. In the following sections, we organize

"true score" if the construct is thought to

these types o f data using a scheme that seems

have "state" aspects; see also Steyer and


Schmitt [ 1 9 9 0 ] ) .

sometimes overlapping types o f validity that

more straightforward



have been discussed previously as components of construct validity. For example, Messick


( 1 9 8 9 ) specified six types o f validity that are

Traditional views o f validity specify a

represented in the concept o f construct valid-

number o f types o f validity, including content

ity (see also J o h n & Benet-Martinez, 2 0 0 0 ;

validity (i.e., items fully representing the con-

Loevinger, 1 9 5 7 ) . W h e n all is said and done,

struct o f interest), face validity (i.e., appear-

however, one might usefully organize the

ance o f the items as assessing the intended

various types o f validity into two

construct), and criterion (or external) validity

types o f validity evidence: "associative" and

(i.e., ability o f the measure t o predict related

"dissociative" forms o f evidence.


judgments or behaviors or to correlate with conceptually related constructs). Even from rather early on, however, researchers began


to talk about the various sources o f validity as



of Validity

"Dissociative" Evidence

all relating to the general (and encompassing)

Associative forms o f validity evidence sup-

notion o f construct validity (see Cronbach &

port the utility o f the measure by showing that

Meehl, 1 9 5 5 ; Loevinger, 1 9 5 7 ) . As J o h n and

the measure is associated with factors and out-

Benet-Martinez ( 2 0 0 0 ) put it, "what seemed

comes that would be predicted by relevant

like different types o f validity are just differ-

theory. These associations make the case for

ent sources o f evidence that address particular

"what the measured construct is." In contrast,

questions o f construct validity" (p. 3 5 1 ; see

"dissociative" forms o f validity evidence dis-

also Messick, 1 9 8 9 ) . A construct validity

tinguish the construct from theoretically dis-

approach to measures refocuses one's atten-

tinct constructs, thereby making the case for

tion on systematic errors in measures that

"what the measured construct is N O T . " T h e

might occur when a measure taps unintended

"associative" and

constructs, in addition to any random error

are similar, but not identical, to the Campbell

"dissociative" categories

of the type emphasized in discussions o f

and Fiske ( 1 9 5 9 ) categories o f "convergent"

reliability. Therefore, similar to issues o f

and "discriminant" validity. T h e following

confounding in experimental design, issues

sections describe these relations in some detail.

of "purity" o f the measure are paramount in measurement




Downing, Krosnick, & Petty, 1 9 9 5 ) .

Associative Forms of Validity. M a n y types of associations can support that a measure

O f course, questions o f whether the mea-

assesses the construct it is intended to assess. In

sure sufficiently taps (and only taps) the con-

general, however, these associations can be

struct o f interest already have been discussed

divided into three types: correlations with

as being important considerations in the gen-

alternative measures o f the same construct,

eration and selection o f items. Therefore, one


often addresses many aspects o f construct

structs, and correlations with antecedents and/

correlations with related con-

validity in the process o f constructing mea-

or consequences o f the construct. Correlations

sures. O n c e one has developed a measure, a

with alternative measures o f the construct have

number o f types of data might be brought to

long been referred to as reflecting "convergent

Constructing validity" (e.g., Campbell & Fiske,

1959). Some

and Evaluating



construct of interest. For example, Weary and

(1994) conceived causal uncertainty

alternative measures are quite similar to each


other (as when parallel forms of the same ques-

as following, in part, from chronic perceptions

tionnaire are used to test equivalence reliabil-

of loss o f control. This notion was consistent

ity), whereas other alternatives are


with the obtained significant positive correla-

dissimilar. For example, one could imagine

tion between CUS and external locus of

measuring the affective bases o f

control (Rotter,


1966). O f course, evidence o f

through two different sets of self-reports (see

this type becomes even stronger when the

Crites et al., 1994) or through both self-reports

antecedent is measured some time in advance

and physiological measures of facial muscle

of the occasion at which the dependent mea-

groups (see C a c i o p p o , M a r t z k e , Petty, &

sure is completed. Although the


1988). Although Campbell and Fiske (1959) recommended "maximal distinc-

measure is treated as the criterion in this case, the longitudinal nature o f the evidence would


tiveness" o f methods used in multitrait-multi-

have much in c o m m o n with traditional "pre-

method ( M T M M ) tests o f convergent validity,

dictive validity" studies in which the construct

use o f markedly different types o f measures

o f interest is used to predict future judgments

might often result in people describing the evi-

or behavior (i.e., proposed consequences o f

dence as falling into "criterion validity" or

the construct).

"external validity" categories. O f course, use


of measures that diverge in methodology push






antecedents and consequences, often including

generalizability farther than the use o f similar

some separation in measurement between the


predictor and the criterion. For example, atti-

methods (see J o h n & Benet-Martinez,

T h e basic form o f evidence is the same,

tudes have often

however—that o f associations between the

antecedents o f behavior in studies of attitude-

been conceptualized


measure and some alternative form o f measure

behavior consistency. In such studies, attitudes

of the same construct.

often are measured at one point in time, and

Researchers also c o m m o n l y m a k e the case

then behaviors are observed or reported either

for construct validity by examining associa-

relatively soon thereafter

tions between the construct o f interest and

Z a n n a , 1981) or after a substantial delay (e.g.,

theoretically related constructs. F o r example,


(e.g., Fazio 8c

8c Jaccard, 1979). As one might

(1994) supported the

expect, the ability o f earlier measures o f atti-

"causal uncertainty" construct (measured by

tudes to guide later behaviors depends, in

W e a r y and Edwards

the Causal Uncertainty Scale, o r C U S ) by

large part, on the ability o f the attitude to

correlating the CUS with the related concepts

remain stable between the measurements o f

o f intolerance for ambiguity (Budner, 1962)

attitude and behavior (e.g., Doll 8c Ajzen,





( W e b s t e r 8c

1992). There are also contexts in which

1994). Sometimes people use the

behaviors can be antecedents rather than con-

term "convergent validity" for such correla-

sequences o f attitudes. F o r example, when a


person lies t o someone about the pleasantness

limited the use o f this term t o the associa-

of an activity, this can then influence atti-

tions among alternative measures o f the same

tudes toward the activity (e.g., Festinger 8c


tions, although Campbell and Fiske

(rather than related) constructs. A closely related type o f validity evidence







between not


would be obtained when the theoretically

address forms o f "concurrent" and "predic-

related construct can also be conceived as

tive" validity but also address what Messick

either an antecedent or a consequence o f the

(1989) referred to as "substantive validity"

DESIGN AND ANALYSIS (i.e., evidence reflective o f theoretically related

construct's domain. T o continue with

processes). For example, if one finds


example o f affective versus cognitive bases o f


people with attitudes primarily based on affect

attitudes, an understanding of affective bases

are later more persuaded by affective rather

would not only suggest that such measures

than cognitive messages (e.g., Fabrigar 8c

should correlate with related concepts (such as

Petty, 1 9 9 9 ) , this would support the hypothe-


sized "persuasion matching" processes (e.g.,


Edwards, 1 9 9 0 ; Katz 8c Stotland, 1 9 5 9 ) .


o f affective experience—an persuasion




consequence). This

W h e n validity evidence takes the form o f a

same theoretical approach also would suggest

naturally occurring correlation, one must be

that affectively based attitudes should not be as

particularly aware o f the possibility o f "third

highly related to previous cognitive experience

variable" effects. T h a t is, a third variable

with the attitude object or with persuasion by

might create both the antecedent and the


consequence. Stronger inferences about the

M o r e generally, a measure o f a construct

antecedent or consequence status o f a con-

should not only relate to conceptually similar

struct can be obtained when





variables; it also should relate less or not at all

manipulations are used. F o r example, evi-

with variables that are conceptually unrelated

dence o f affective attitude bases serving as

to the construct of interest. Campbell and Fiske



( 1 9 5 9 ) addressed this relative "lack of rela-

"affective" messages is strongest when the

tion" under the rubric o f "divergent validity."

bases are manipulated (see Fabrigar 8c Petty,

In their classic M T M M approach, one would




1 9 9 9 ) . Similarly, one can use manipulations

include not only alternative measures for each

to provide evidence that a measure assesses its

construct of interest but also constructs that

intended construct, while markedly decreas-

varied in their theoretical relations, in order to

ing concerns about possible third variables.

allow for evidence of differences (i.e., diver-

This has been done with measures o f affective

gence) across the constructs.

versus cognitive bases o f attitudes. O n e could

It would make little sense for dissociative

easily imagine that such measures might tap

forms o f validity evidence to include relations

factors such as the amount o f prior experi-

between alternative forms o f the same mea-

ence with the attitude object, instead of, or in


addition to, tapping the affective or cognitive

M T M M terminology), but the other forms o f

nature o f the prior experience. O n e way to

dissociative validity directly parallel those for

increase confidence that the measures


the associative category. Whereas associative

assessing "pure" affect or cognition is to cre-

validity evidence comes from relations with

(used for convergent validity in the

ate new attitudes based on equal amounts o f

like constructs, dissociative validity comes

experience toward a novel attitude object, but

from relative lack o f relation with unlike con-

experience that differs regarding its affective

structs. F o r example, in the W e a r y

or cognitive nature (e.g., Crites et al., 1 9 9 4 ,

Edwards ( 1 9 9 4 ) work on causal uncertainty,


Study 2 ) . If the measures are altered by this

dissociative (divergent) validity was shown by

experimental manipulation in the expected

failing to find any relation between causal

way, this provides support for their validity.

uncertainty and social desirability or general intelligence. Similarly, the exploratory factor

of Validity. Just as it is

analyses reported in the Crites e t a l . ( 1 9 9 4 )

important to support the nature of a construct

article on affective and cognitive bases o f atti-

by examining associations with related con-

tudes (in which affective and cognitive items

structs, one must not ignore the limits to the

often load on separate factors) imply (and the




and Evaluating



original correlation matrices support) that the

is relatively straightforward, the assessment o f

affective items correlate more highly with

the conditions laid out by Campbell and Fiske

other affective items than they do with the

is inherently subjective. In part, this is because

cognitive items. In addition, the cognitive

there is no clear metric for h o w much any two

items correlate more highly with the other

correlations should differ in order to "satisfy"

cognitive items than with the affective items.

the conditions; also, there are often many cor-

Dissociative forms o f validity evidence also

relations involved in a given assessment. An

appear in examinations o f antecedents and

additional limitation o f the Campbell and

consequences. For example, exposure to affec-

Fiske approach is that there is no accounting

tive experience with the attitude object (a pre-

for measurement error in the bivariate corre-

sumed antecedent o f affective attitudes) results

lations forming the M T M M matrix.

in attitudes that are more strongly reflective of

In an effort to provide more parsimonious

affect than of cognition. In contrast, exposure

summaries of M T M M matrices while incor-

to cognitive information about the attitude

porating measurement error in the model, a

object results in attitudes more reflective o f

variety o f analysis procedures

cognition than affect. Regarding consequences

developed that use some form o f confirma-

o f affective and cognitive bases, Fabrigar

tory factor analysis (see M a r s h & Grayson,



and Petty ( 1 9 9 9 ) found that affective attitude

1 9 9 5 ; Visser, Fabrigar, Wegener, & Browne,

bases resulted in responsiveness to affective

2 0 0 3 ; Widaman, 1 9 8 5 ) . T h e classic confir-

but not cognitive persuasive messages. In con-


factor analysis model ( J o r e s k o g ,

trast, cognitive attitude bases resulted in rela-

1 9 7 4 ) treats each measure as a function o f the

tively more responsiveness to cognitive rather

relevant construct, the relevant method, and

than affective messages.

error. Unfortunately, this model suffers from problems with both estimation and interpre-




Since Campbell

tation, because the model includes a large

and Fiske's ( 1 9 5 9 ) seminal paper, researchers

number o f parameters compared with the

have used the M T M M design (crossing two or

number o f measures used t o estimate the

more traits—constructs—with two or more

model, and the free parameters include some

methods) as a way to address the generaliz-

potential logical inconsistencies (see Visser

ability o f a construct across different methods

et al., 2 0 0 3 ) . Some revised versions o f the

(i.e., convergent validity) and the relative dis-

C F A model attempt to solve the problem of

tinctiveness o f any one construct when com-

t o o many parameters by fixing certain paths

pared with the other constructs (i.e., divergent

in the model (e.g., Kenny & Kashy, 1 9 9 2 ;

validity). One would recognize convergent

Millsap, 1 9 9 2 ) , but at the expense o f being

validity as one o f a number o f forms of asso-

able to address certain questions o f interest in

ciative validity evidence. Divergent validity is


clearly o f the dissociative variety.

Although most o f the M T M M models have

designs (see Visser et al., 2 0 0 3 ) .

In the original Campbell and Fiske ( 1 9 5 9 )

been conceptualized as additive models (i.e.,

approach, inferences about convergent and

with traits and methods independently influ-

discriminant validity were based on relatively

encing responses), some methodologists have

informal inspection of measures o f the same

argued that traits and methods often interact.

construct using different methods as com-


pared with measures of different traits using

( 1 9 6 7 ) found

the same methods or measures o f different

highly correlated, sharing the same method o f

traits using different methods. Although the

measurement resulted in a substantial infla-

inspection o f individual bivariate correlations

tion in intertrait correlations. This did not





that when two traits were



occur to the same extent, however, when the

the attitudes domain in particular and in

two traits were less correlated. Though less

social psychology more generally. Undoub-

frequently used in the social psychological lit-

tedly, this is partly because o f the ease with

erature, multiplicative models exist that allow

which such responses can be obtained. In

for these variations in method effects across

addition, for many if not most constructs

traits and vice versa. In fact, free download-

assessed in social psychology, there is little

able software exists to run one such model,

concern about respondents'

the composite direct product model (CDP)

motivation to provide their perceptions o f the

ability and/or

(Browne, 1 9 8 4 ) . This software is compara-

judgment target and/or construct. It is worth

tively easy to program, and it provides infor-

noting that this in no way conflicts with the

mation that relates quite directly t o questions

oft-cited limitations on people's reports o f


psychological process

convergent and




(e.g., Nisbett & Wilson,

M T M M studies (see Visser et al., 2 0 0 3 ) . T h e

1 9 7 7 ) . In most areas o f social psychology,

CDP model also requires fewer free parame-

people are not asked to report on process, but

ters than the traditional C F A model, thereby

rather on content. For example, in classic

running into far fewer estimation problems.

studies o f information processing in attitude

Finally, the C D P puts fewer restrictions on

change, message recipients are simply asked to

the types o f questions that can be asked when

report the content o f their attitudes (e.g., to

compared with the revisions o f the traditional

what extent does the advocated policy seem


model that place constraints on the

good or bad). T h e message recipients are not

model in an attempt t o decrease the number

asked to report the extent to which they pro-

of free parameters. Limits to the C D P approach

cessed the available information "centrally" certainly



(Petty &


exist. F o r example, as with some o f the addi-

1 9 8 6 ) or "systematically" versus "heuristi-

tive approaches, the C D P output provides

cally" (Chaiken, Liberman, &c Eagly, 1 9 8 9 ) .

little information regarding the performance

O f course, there are some situations in

of individual observed variables. Although

which one might question the ability or moti-

useful summaries across methods or traits

vation o f people to report the true content o f

are provided, the output does not provide

their attitudes. Such concerns have been the

direct information about whether methods

motivating factors behind

converged best for certain traits or vice versa.

"implicit" measures o f attitudes, and these



It is also not entirely clear when the additive

types o f measures often have been employed

versus multiplicative assumptions underlying


the various C F A approaches are most appro-

researchers have inferred the positivity or






priate or consequential. In our estimation,

negativity o f attitudes toward social groups

however, the C D P is currently the

by measuring h o w close the participant sits to


generally useful o f the C F A approaches t o


M T M M data (see Visser et al., 2 0 0 3 ) .

J a c k s o n , Dunton, & Williams, 1 9 9 5 ; M a c r a e ,





(e.g., Fazio,

Bodenhausen, Milne, & Jetten, 1 9 9 4 ) . Also, a variety o f measures have been based on speed


of responding. F o r example, participants have been asked to evaluate unrelated


Throughout much o f the current chapter, we

following race primes. T o the extent that a

have dealt with measures that fall squarely

person's view o f the target

into the category o f "direct"

group is negative, responses are facilitated to


measures. Such measures are quite frequent in


negative targets that follow group



and Evaluating




(e.g., Fazio, J a c k s o n , et al., 1 9 9 5 ; also see

by Wegener and Petty ( 1 9 9 8 ) , however, one's

Greenwald, M c G h e e , & Schwartz, 1 9 9 8 ) . O f

choice o f type o f measure would depend a

course, other indirect measures have been

great deal on the type o f "implicit cognition"

developed as well. F o r example, H a m m o n d

one wishes to investigate. Some conceptions o f

( 1 9 4 8 ) developed the information error (error

"implicit cognition" question the ability o f


respondents to report the content o f their


in w h i c h


answer seemingly factual questions,


views. O n e possible situation where this might

none o f the provided answers being correct.

be suspected is if a person high in internal

T h e direction o f errors is taken as an indica-


tion o f the person's attitude. Also, physiolog-

reports low levels o f prejudice on explicit





ical measures have a rich history as indirect

(direct) measures but still shows prejudice on

measures. Some recent and useful approaches

implicit (indirect) measures (see Nosek, 2 0 0 2 ) .

include use o f Event-Related Potentials (i.e.,

W h e n inability to report content is suspected,

electrical activity in the brain when a target

one would likely choose one or more implicit

object differs in valence from a set o f preced-

(indirect) measures designed to tap into the

ing items) (Cacioppo, Crites, Gardner,


suspected prejudiced associations in memory.


In other instances, however, one could still

Nusbaum, & Berntson, Chapter 1 7 , this vol-

often use explicit (direct) measures to study


1 9 9 4 ; see


ume) and facial electromyography (Cacioppo

"implicit cognition." This is because many

& Petty, 1 9 7 9 ; see Petty & Cacioppo, 1 9 9 6 ,

studies o f "implicit cognition" address the

for discussion o f other traditional indirect

inability o f people to realize what has

measures). Though less used in the attitudes


area, social psychologists also use "nonself-

views is readily reportable. F o r example,


their views, even if the content o f their

report" data o f the archival (e.g., see Kerr,

Greenwald and Banaji ( 1 9 9 5 ) described halo

Aronoff, & Messe, 2 0 0 0 ) , observational (e.g.,

effects as implicit when people fail to realize

see Bakeman, 2 0 0 0 ) , and qualitative varieties

that the evaluation o f a novel attribute (e.g.,

(e.g., see King, Chapter 8, this volume).

character) is influenced by a known attribute

By way o f wrapping up this chapter, we

(e.g., physical attractiveness). In such a case,

would like to emphasize that the construction

one could often identify "implicit halo effects"

and validation o f indirect or implicit measures

even if one were

can and should follow the same basic steps


t o measure



using explicit (direct) measures,

outlined for direct measures. T h a t is, the con-

because the "implicit" aspect is whether or

struction o f such measures would begin with

n o t people

the specification o f the goals o f the measure

attribute on the other, not in whether people

and the theoretical assumptions about the

can report the content o f the attributes. In

qualities of the construct. As noted earlier, the

fact, it is interesting to note that most o f the

conceptualization o f direct self-report measures

examples o f implicit cognition provided by

realize the


o f one

includes both ability and willingness on the

Greenwald and Banaji

part o f respondents to report the content

before many o f the most recent "implicit"

( 1 9 9 5 ) — a t a time

of their views of a target. In contrast, the call

measures o f content were fully developed—

for indirect measures (especially in areas such

actually utilized direct self-report measures o f

as stereotyping and prejudice) generally has

content. If one is truly interested in implicit

been motivated by concerns about both ability

content (rather than implicit influence), how-

and motivation to report certain attitudes,

ever, direct measures o f content would not

especially toward controversial social groups

suffice (see Wegener &c Petty, 1 9 9 8 ; see also

(e.g., Greenwald & Banaji, 1 9 9 5 ) . As noted

Kihlstrom, Chapter 9, this volume).



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS Construction o f indirect measures has all

reason, for example, that an error choice

too often stopped with specification o f the

technique ( H a m m o n d , 1 9 4 8 ) would perform

goals and theory. T h a t is, the generation and

much better if one were to start with a larger

evaluation o f specific items have not played

pool o f items that are then put through tradi-

the same kind o f central role in development

tional types o f item analysis. Given the theo-

of indirect measures that they have for tradi-

retical conceptions o f targets or settings in

tional self reports. Y e t , there is little reason

which indirect measures are needed (e.g., in

for this to be the case. F o r example, as aptly

studies o f stereotyping or prejudice), one


would also want to seek validity evidence that




behavioral indices have often

although been con-

goes beyond between-group


structed from aggregated sets o f behaviors

(as shown by H a m m o n d , 1 9 4 8 ) . T h a t is, one

(e.g., Tittle &

these indices

would want to explicitly address the ability o f

"would ideally be subjected to the item anal-

the error choice items to overcome social

Hill, 1 9 6 7 ) ,

ysis procedures associated with the


desirability concerns. Addressing associative

tional attitude scaling techniques" (p. 6 4 )

and dissociative forms o f validity, one could

(such as Thurstone's use o f judge ratings,

also assess relations between the information

Likert's use o f item-total correlations, or

error measure and existing implicit versus

Osgood's use of factor analyses). Indeed,

explicit scales (perhaps using a full M T M M

reviews o f many o f the older indirect attitude

design) (see Visser et al., 2 0 0 3 ) .

measures concluded that these measures left

One o f the great successes o f social psy-

much to be desired. F o r example, Kidder and

chology has been the development o f valid


and reliable measures o f a wide variety o f psy-

imperfect measures, these are apparently not



noted that

" o f all

chologically meaningful constructs. As these

the least impure" (p. 3 3 6 ) . Y e t , it is not clear

measures continue to expand in exciting and

that many o f even the older indirect measures

interesting ways, traditional methods o f mea-

have gone through the typical item selection

sure development and evaluation form a firm

and evaluation procedures that have been

foundation on which the new measures can

typical for the direct measures. It stands to

be built and tested.

NOTES 1. Sometimes researchers adapt items, complete measures, or methods of administration for their current purposes. When making such changes, one must recognize that these alterations can influence the psychometric properties of the items. Therefore, one should conduct the same types of evaluations of items with these modified measures as with newly constructed items. 2. A related issue that researchers must consider is whether to specify a response scale that includes a midpoint. Unfortunately, studies examining the impact of including scale midpoints on item reliability and validity have produced conflicting findings (see Krosnick & Fabrigar, 1997, in press). Thus, current empirical research does not provide a basis for a simple recommendation regarding the use of scale midpoints. However, a variety of conceptual issues should be considered in making such a decision (see Krosnick &c Fabrigar, 1997, in press). 3. Although various item selection procedures are somewhat distinct, the performance of an item across different selection procedures is not unrelated. An


and Evaluating



item p e r f o r m i n g well o n one procedure often w i l l tend t o p e r f o r m w e l l o n other p r o c e d u r e s . F o r e x a m p l e , t h e p a t t e r n o f results f o r a n i t e m - t o t a l c o r r e l a t i o n analysis w i l l o f t e n suggest s i m i l a r choices w i t h respect t o i t e m selection as a f a c t o r analysis ( G o r s u c h , 1 9 8 3 ) , a l t h o u g h a f a c t o r analysis does p r o v i d e a d d i t i o n a l information. 4 . T h r o u g h o u t o u r discussion o f E F A , w e assume t h a t a researcher has c o n d u c t e d a n E F A based o n t h e c o m m o n f a c t o r m o d e l w i t h a n o b l i q u e r o t a t i o n . W e d o so because w e believe this a p p r o a c h is t h e m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e t y p e o f E F A f o r t h e vast m a j o r i t y o f research questions investigated b y social p s y c h o l o g i s t s ( F a b r i g a r , W e g e n e r , et a l . , 1 9 9 9 ; W e g e n e r & F a b r i g a r , 2 0 0 0 ) . W h e n o t h e r types o f E F A are used ( o r o t h e r types o f analyses, such as p r i n c i p a l c o m p o n e n t s analysis), t h e i n f o r m a t i o n p r o v i d e d is s o m e w h a t d i f f e r e n t f r o m w h a t w e describe here (see G o r s u c h , 1 9 8 3 ) . 5. I f a researcher w e r e t o specify a C F A m o d e l w i t h t h e m a x i m u m n u m b e r o f items w i t h m u l t i p l e f a c t o r l o a d i n g s i n w h i c h t h e m o d e l is still i d e n t i f i e d , this w o u l d be m a t h e m a t i c a l l y i d e n t i c a l t o a n E F A m o d e l w i t h t h e same n u m b e r o f f a c t o r s (see F a b r i g a r , W e g e n e r , et a l . , 1 9 9 9 ) . I n effect, t h e researcher w o u l d be c o n d u c t i n g a n E F A w i t h o u t r o t a t i o n f o r s i m p l e s t r u c t u r e . Such a n a p p r o a c h w o u l d have n o advantages over E F A a n d w o u l d be m u c h m o r e c u m b e r s o m e t o implement and interpret. 6. Equivalence r e l i a b i l i t y generally is d e f i n e d as t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h t w o p a r a l l e l measures o f t h e same c o n s t r u c t are c o r r e l a t e d w i t h o n e a n o t h e r . I n m a n y respects, equivalence r e l i a b i l i t y is a n a l t e r n a t i v e t y p e o f i n t e r n a l consistency i n w h i c h o n e c o m p a r e s t w o d i s t i n c t sets o f items r a t h e r t h a n a l l possible s p l i t halves o f a single set o f items (as i n C r o n b a c h a l p h a ) . A l t e r n a t i v e l y , equivalence r e l i a b i l i t y c a n be c o n c e p t u a l i z e d as a f o r m o f c o n v e r g e n t v a l i d i t y . I n t r a d i t i o n a l t r e a t m e n t s o f c o n v e r g e n t v a l i d i t y ( C a m p b e l l & Fiske, 1 9 5 9 ) , emphasis is p l a c e d o n assessing the c o r r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n t w o m a x i m a l l y d i f f e r e n t m e t h o d s o f m e a s u r e m e n t . I n c o n t r a s t , m o s t tests o f equivalence e x a m i n e t h e c o r r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n t w o measures t h a t are q u i t e s i m i l a r i n m e t h o d o l o g y . 7. O n e also encounters issues o f i n t r a r a t e r r e l i a b i l i t y (e.g., consistency o f r a t i n g s m a d e o n t w o occasions b y t h e same rater) a n d i n t e r r a t e r r e l i a b i l i t y (i.e., consistency across raters) w h e n raters code o p e n - e n d e d responses b y research p a r t i c i p a n t s (see B a k e m a n [ 2 0 0 0 ] a n d K i n g , C h a p t e r 8, t h i s v o l u m e , f o r d e t a i l e d discussions o f i n t e r r a t e r agreement a n d r e l i a b i l i t y ) .

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Remmers, H. H. (1963). Rating methods in research on teaching. In N. L. Gage (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 3 2 9 - 3 7 8 ) . Chicago: Rand McNally. Rosenthal, R., & Rosnow, R. L. (1991). Essentials of behavioral research: Methods and data analysis (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Rotter, J . B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80(1, Whole No. 6 0 9 ) . Russell, J . A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 1 1 6 1 - 1 1 7 8 . Schmitt, N. (1996). Uses and abuses of coefficient alpha. Psychological Assessment, 8, 3 5 0 - 3 5 3 . Schuman, H., & Presser, S. (1981). Questions and answers in attitude surveys: Experiments on question form, wording, and context. San Diego: Academic Press. Schwarz, N., & Hippler, H. J . (1991). Response alternatives: The impact of their choice and ordering. In P. Biemer, R. Groves, N. Mathiowetz, & S. Sudman (Eds.), Measurement error in surveys (pp. 41-56). Chichester, UK: Wiley. Steinberg, L., & Thissen, D. (1995). Item response theory in personality research. In P. E. Shrout & S. T. Fiske (Eds.), Personality research, methods, and the­ ory: A festschrift honoring Donald W. Fiske (pp. 1 6 1 - 1 8 1 ) . Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Steyer, R., & Schmitt, M. J . (1990). The effects of aggregation across and within occasions on consistency, specificity, and reliability. Methodika, 4, 5 8 - 9 4 . Sudman, S., Bradburn, N. M., & Schwarz, N. (1996). Thinking about answers: The application of cognitive processes to survey methodology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Thurstone, L. L. (1928). Attitudes can be measured. American Journal of Sociology, 33, 5 2 9 - 5 5 4 . Thurstone, L. L., &c Chave, E. J . (1929). The measurement of attitude. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tisak, J . , & Tisak, M . S. (2000). Permanency and ephemerality of psychological measures with application to organizational commitment. Psychological Methods, 5, 175-198. Tittle, C. R., & Hill, R. J . (1967). Attitude measurement and prediction of behavior: An evaluation of conditions and measurement techniques. Sociometry, 30, 199-213. Townsend, J . T., &c Ashby, G. (1984). Measurement scale and statistics: The misconception misconceived. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 3 9 4 - 4 0 1 . Tucker, L. R., & Lewis, C. (1973). A reliability coefficient for maximum likelihood factor analysis. Psychometrika, 38, 1-10. Visser, P. S., Fabrigar, L. R., Wegener, D. T., & Browne, M. W. (2003). Analyzing social psychological multitrait-multimethod data. Unpublished manuscript, University of Chicago. Weary, G., & Edwards, J . A. (1994). Individual differences in causal uncertainty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 3 0 8 - 3 1 8 . Webster, D. M., & Kruglanski, A. W. (1994). Individual differences in need for cognitive closure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1049-1062. Wegener, D. T., Downing, J . , Krosnick, J . A., &: Petty, R. E. (1995). Measures and manipulations of strength-related properties of attitudes: Current practice and future directions. In R. E. Petty &c J . A. Krosnick (Eds.), Attitude strength: Antecedents and consequences (pp. 4 5 5 - 4 8 7 ) . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


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Measures and Meanings The Use of Qualitative Data in Social and Personality Psychology LAURA A . KING University of Missouri,



ualitative data typically are defined

prospects, which are the most important for

as unstructured sources o f informa-

study. A useful distinction t o be made is that

tion that do not lend themselves


readily to quantification. Such data

approaches. In the top-down approach, the

may emerge from interviews, written answers

researcher comes to the data interested in

to questions, videotaped conversation, and

examining a theoretically derived construct or

other sources. Relative to more


hypothesis. O f course, it is hoped that any

data, gathering these data typically involves a

person conducting any empirical study has a

larger amount o f time and effort on the part of

theory that drives that particular investiga-

participants and investigators alike. As a result,

tion. However, in all research, qualitative or




there is certainly a temptation to forgo the use

otherwise, the data sometimes present inter-

of such data. There are times, however, when

esting new dilemmas. A bottom-up approach

qualitative data


to qualitative data involves coming to the

are the only

means to answer the scientist's questions.

data themselves to see what's there. Although

Although open-ended measures may be very

this sort o f procedure may appear alarmingly

attractive to those w h o are fascinated by the

post h o c , it is worthwhile to note that no

immediacy of human experience that such

researcher has unlimited foresight and that it

measures are more likely to convey, the onus o f

is sometimes worthwhile to examine surprises

responsibility is on the researcher to demon-

(as is often the case in more straightforward

strate that all the work is

quantitative investigations, to be sure).






beyond what might have been accomplished with more straightforward measures.

Some areas o f social science (and


humanities) regard its "unquantiftable" nature as essential to qualitative data. Sociologists

In approaching qualitative data, one must

and anthropologists may routinely come to

decide, from among a very rich array o f

their data and engage in a more intuitive or


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS intellectual "data processing" in order to come


to conclusions. Although such analyses remain



subject to scientific rigor (Altheide & Johnson,

(Bonanno et al., 2 0 0 2 ; Dovidio, Kavakami, &


(Pennebaker &





1 9 9 4 ) , concern for issues of reliability, sample

Gaertner, 2 0 0 2 ; Keltner & Bonanno, 1 9 9 7 ) to

size, generalizability, replicability, establishing

examine important independent and depen-

causality, and control groups are not as press-

dent variables. However and importantly, in

ing as they typically are in social psychology

social psychological inquiries, qualitative data

(Blaikie, 2 0 0 0 ; Vidich & Lyman, 1 9 9 4 ) . These

typically are conceived in terms o f quantifiable

differences in emphases are

research goals, and they are quickly trans-








formed into quantitative data for analyses.

researchers in more contextualized phenomena. Research in these areas is more likely to be characterized as reflecting a level o f comfort with, and confidence in, more


approaches to analyses. Though top-down


approaches are also used, even in these contexts, questions that are "second nature" to

A study by Stirman and Pennebaker ( 2 0 0 1 )

social psychologists


(e.g., replicability o f

results) are rarely major concerns (Denzin,



o f the


between typical uses of qualitative data in

1 9 8 3 ; Guba & Lincoln, 1 9 8 9 ; Phillips, 2 0 0 0 ) .

other fields and the approach used by social

In contrast, purely qualitative inquiries are

psychologists. These researchers were inter-

rare in personality and social psychology.

ested in examining the apparent tendency o f

Perhaps the use o f psychobiography in per-

poets to commit suicide. Previous research in

sonality psychology is an exception (see Elms,

this area was more typical o f purely qualita-



tive research (focusing on only on a single


1 9 8 2 ) . In personality

social psychology, qualitative data typically

poet's work, examining a few poems from the

reside alongside more structured data (e.g.,

individual's oeuvre, and using a single rater—

questionnaires or laboratory manipulations).

usually the author of the research). N o con-

Although qualitative data may represent the

trol groups were used (e.g., Hoyle, 1 9 6 8 ;

centerpiece o f a program of research, such


data rarely are treated in purely qualitative

( 2 0 0 1 ) adopted a more typical social psycho-





ways. Nevertheless, it is worth noting h o w

logical approach to this question, using qual-

much qualitative data have become incorpo-

itative data

rated into research in personality and social

content analyzed poems from three different

psychology. M a n y procedures


life periods (early, mid, and late career) for

become essential parts o f our methodological

each o f a sample o f 1 8 poets. A control group

toolbox involve the problem o f transforming

of nine nonsuicidal poets was matched with

unstructured free responses into quantifiable

nine suicidal poets for age, nationality, and

units. Researchers in social psychology have

m o o d disorder (which is also, apparently,

turned to personal narratives (Baumeister,



Pennebaker hypothesized that suicidal poets




1 9 9 3 ; Georgeson,

in a quantitative




way. They



diary entries,

would distinguish themselves from nonsuici-

idiographic goals (e.g., Emmons 8c King,

dal poets by various aspects o f the language

Harris, Milich, & Young, 1999),

1 9 8 8 ) , dyadic interactions (Berry &c Miller,

used in their poems. Specifically, they pre-

2 0 0 1 ) , historical documents (Winter, 1 9 9 2 ) ,

dicted that suicidal poets would show tenden-


cies toward










with death, and social detachment in their

authentic) smiling and laughter and found,

poems, compared to their nonsuicidal coun-

surprisingly, that instances o f such smiling

terparts. Using a computerized word count

even during a conversation about bereave-

system, these researchers found support for

ment predicted better adjustment at a later

their hypotheses. First, suicidal poets were

time. Qualitative data allow us to examine

more likely than nonsuicidal poets to use first

questions not only o f content but also o f

person references throughout their careers.

intensity, style, mannerism, and so on. W e

These poets also showed a tendency toward

can examine not only what was said but how

using more death-related words. Even more

it was said. Qualitative data simply provide a

striking, suicidal poets tended to increase in

richer, more varied pool o f information.

social detachment, as manifested in a decrease in the use o f words such as " u s , " " w e , " and " o u r " as they approached the end o f their lives. This investigation shows attention to the typical concerns o f social psychologists in any study, but qualitative data clearly occupy center stage.

Qualitative Data Allow Us to Measure What Isn't Said or Can't Be Said Considering variables such as dissociation, denial, and defensiveness, we can certainly posit that one of the defining features o f these variables is that people don't know they are doing


them. They are non-conscious. Qualitative


measures have been especially useful in tapping variables that participants cannot or will not

Although they present some obvious chal-

report on with accuracy. The problem o f non-

lenges, there are some clear advantages to

conscious psychological processes led to the

asking one's open-ended research questions.

development of projective techniques for use in measuring unconscious motives (Morgan &

Qualitative Data May Answer Many Questions at Once

Murray, 1 9 3 5 ) . O f course, the use of projective techniques has been the subject o f a great deal of debate over the years. Sidestepping that

Open-ended responses, like autobiograph-

debate entirely, it remains clear that, at times,

ical stories or interview responses, allow us to

even in laboratory research, variables that the

examine a variety o f psychological processes

investigator would like to measure are not

that may be involved in a particular experi-

always easily tapped using



manipulations or questionnaires. Even if they

Processes such as dissociation, denial, and

are aware o f their motives or values, partici-




defensiveness can be seen to occur alongside

pants may be too embarrassed, ashamed, or

other coping processes and may be particu-

concerned with the impression they are making

larly difficult to measure using more direct

to respond honestly to direct questions.

means. For example, in examining widows

McClelland ( 1 9 8 0 ; McClelland, Koestner,

talking about the death o f a spouse, Keltner

&C Weinberger, 1 9 8 9 ) drew the distinction

and B o n a n n o ( 1 9 9 7 ) looked not only at what

between respondent and operant behaviors.

the women said but also at facial expressions

Respondent behaviors are those that are per-

that occurred spontaneously and simultane-

formed self-consciously and that may involve

ously with those verbalizations. In examining

a person's awareness that he or she is acting

these data, Keltner and B o n a n n o coded for

consistently with his or her own values. An

the occurrence o f Duchenne (i.e., genuine or

example o f a respondent behavior would be a



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS response to a questionnaire item (e.g., " H o w

been measured

positively do you generally feel about h o m o -

qualitative data. Without qualitative data, the

using anything other than

sexuals?"). Operant behaviors are performed

conclusions o f the investigation would have

unself-consciously and spontaneously. W h e n

been quite different—that people's explicitly

we are interested in operant behaviors, we

stated attitudes relate to their friendliness dur-

may need to resort to qualitative data. An

ing interactions with others. T h e inclusion o f

example o f this sort o f behavior is a person's

qualitative data allowed for a more accurate

spontaneous stylistic behavior in an interac-


tion with a member o f an out-group.

explicit attitudes are conveyed in behavior,

An example is provided by research by

o f the ways that



sometimes subtle behavior, toward another.

Dovidio and colleagues on the relation o f racial prejudice measures to actual behavior by European Americans in interactions with African

Americans. Dovidio et al.


were interested in the implications o f racial

Qualitative Data Give Us the Flavor of the Whole In addition


allowing access to


attitudes for behaviors during actual interac-

unconscious and the unspoken,

tion with members o f an out-group. In this

data allow for a sense o f the coherence o f


human experience. Asking only highly struc-


racial attitudes




American participants were measured in two

tured questions constrains our capacity as

ways. First, participants completed explicit

researchers to fully tap into the human expe-

questionnaire measures o f prejudice. Second,

rience o f the variables o f interest. Although

they completed

we c a n certainly gain

an implicit attitudes




using a reaction time measure that tested the


ease with which participants associated posi-

same time those aspects o f an individual that

tive and negative terms with black and white

qualitative data are so useful for gleaning—

faces. N e x t , the participants interacted with

issues o f style, spontaneity, intensity, and the


investigations, at


white and black confederates while being

embeddedness o f a phenomenon in the psy-

videotaped. Participants also rated the level o f

chological life o f the person—can be lost. It

friendliness that they believed they conveyed

has often been said that humans make mean-

during the interaction. Measures o f behavior

ing by telling stories. Collecting accounts o f

during the interactions were gleaned via con-

personal experience is a way o f collecting

tent analysis o f the participants' verbal pro-

units o f meaning.

ductions during the interaction (i.e., what

M y own research interests are in the area of

they actually said) as well as their nonverbal

personality, motivation, and


ing. I became particularly interested in how


(e.g., seating position,



etc.). Interestingly,



individuals experience changes in themselves

more respondent or explicit measure o f prej-

during and after important life transitions or

udice related systematically to the partici-


pants' self-rated friendliness as well as to the

characteristics measured

positivity o f participants' explicit verbal pro-

haven't been shown to reflect much change in

ductions during the interaction. However, the

personality over time, so looking for change

more implicit attitudinal measure related sys-

or development through such questionnaires

tematically to participants' nonverbal behav-

didn't seem like a promising approach. Using

ior as well as to confederates' ratings o f

open-ended questions—about the stories of

participant friendliness. Importantly, aspects

people's life experiences—clearly emerged as the

of this dependent measure could not have

ideal, if sometimes challenging, methodology.

life events. Clearly, personality via





Throughout this chapter, I will make use o f

written or transcribed protocols or videotaped

examples from my work, especially from a

interactions simply exist—they simply are.

study o f parents o f children with D o w n ' s

Even if the questions that drove their generation

syndrome (DS) (King, Scollon, Ramsey, &

fade from interest, these productions

Williams, 2 0 0 0 ) . In that study, we were inter-

always be scored for the current research issue,

ested in examining h o w the stories that these

whatever it is. Research by M c A d a m s and col-

parents told about the important life transi-

leagues on the intimacy motive provides an

tion o f discovering they would be rearing a

excellent example, using old stories and recod-

child with D S would relate to aspects o f their

ing them with a new system.






M c A d a m s ( 1 9 8 0 ) designed the intimacy

Participants in the study were 8 7 parents

motive scoring system to measure an individ-

w h o provided

sometimes quite compelling

ual's recurrent concern for warm interpersonal

accounts o f this life experience and completed

encounters for their own sake. This coding

measures o f psychological well-being


scheme answered a gap in the motivation liter-

personality development. Excerpts from their

ature on the human need for affiliation (which

narratives demonstrate the kind o f power that


can be conveyed in qualitative data.





attempts to create and preserve existing interpersonal bonds). This coding scheme was

The first 2 4 hours we were led to believe that our daughter was so bad off that we actually prayed to God to take her from us now versus later. A wave of feelings passed over me: shock, fear, and tremendous sadness and protectiveness toward my son. My heart felt as though it would break . . . Could our family face this sadness? Although all three o f these parents may have responded with high ratings to a questionnaire item asking if they had experienced distress upon learning o f their


diagnoses, even a 7 on a 7-point scale cannot convey the vividness o f these narratives.

developed at least two decades after most o f the previously designed motivational coding systems. M c A d a m s and Bryant ( 1 9 8 7 ) were interested in examining h o w this (at the time) newly developed intimacy motive would relate to important life outcomes. Fortunately, longitudinal data had been collected on a group o f more than 1,000 participants w h o had generated imaginative stories in response to pictures for studies on other motives. M c A d a m s and Bryant again content analyzed these stories specifically for intimacy motive imagery. They found that intimacy motivation was related to positive life outcomes (heightened happiness and need gratification) for women and lack o f strain and lack o f uncertainty for men. This study demonstrates h o w qualitative data can be revisited with the changing interests of researchers. T h e data provide an

Qualitative Data Are (Relatively) Timeless


resource o f information. Historical documents also can provide rich

Another advantage o f open-ended responses

sources o f data for the social and personality

is that we don't have to decide right away what

psychologist interested in qualitative analyses.

we want to know from these data. Question-

For instance, Winter ( 1 9 9 2 ) examined the

naire data run the risk of becoming seriously

inauguration speeches o f American presidents

outdated. Changes in the meanings of items

for motivational content. H e found that vari-

and traits cause problems in revisiting a data

ous motive configurations were associated

set after many years. Qualitative data such as

with particular

historical events in





presidency (e.g., high affiliative concern was

important to consider the ramifications o f the

associated with frequency o f scandal; high

context o f the initial data collection.

power was associated with being viewed as a successful leader). Another example o f the multiple uses o f one set o f qualitative data is provided by a special section o f the Journal




edited by Folkman

T h e use o f qualitative data in a study has

( 1 9 9 7 ) . All the articles in this special section

implications at nearly every stage o f a

used the same set o f qualitative data, namely,

research project. T h e special requirements o f

interviews from a sample o f bereaved gay

these data must be considered as decisions

men w h o had lost their longtime partners to

are made with regard to framing research

AIDS. All the participants in this study had

questions, designing materials,

participated in a longitudinal study o f adap-

participants, data coding and analyses, and





tation to bereavement. All had been inter-

finally interpretation and communication o f



results. In the next few sections, I will review


some o f the issues that should be considered









research teams, each o f w h o m analyzed them from its own


in such an investigation.

in a

Rashomon-style exchange over the same data set. All the approaches demonstrated some important relations, all using different coding methods and schemes. Such a convergence would

have been impossible without

Participant Selection and Recruitment Some investigations that use



methods are certainly applicable to the "cap-

incandescence that is part and parcel o f qual-

tive audience" o f a university participant pool.

itative data.

For instance, diary methods, which require

A caveat is appropriate at this point. T h e stories





were imaginative stories told in


daily contact of some sort with the study, are more readily performed with individuals who


are likely, by virtue of necessity, to be in close


physical proximity to the site of the study. At

(Morgan & Murray, 1 9 3 5 ) pictures. As such,

some institutions, it is possible to collect quali-





they may be somewhat decontextualized nar-

tative data over the course o f a semester as part

ratives, created "on the spot" in response to

of a class, centered around the daily study

somewhat arbitrary stimuli. In addition, the

(Emmons & King, 1 9 8 8 ) . Although using such

interviews used in the bereavement project

samples is enormously convenient, Web-based

had all been collected within a few years o f the

data collection might well allow researchers to

coding that was conducted on those data.

begin to include less studied samples in diary

Although I have stated rather boldly that qual-

and experience sampling studies.

itative data simply "are," it is certainly impor-

Given the added time that typically is

tant to consider the historical and cultural

required for participants in the collection of

contexts o f these data. Just as self-report traits

qualitative data, some special consideration

may change in meaning, so might words used

should be given to participant compensation.

in the natural language of participants. In

In work with nonstudent samples, monetary

addition, responses to particular stems may

compensation often is a necessity. Furthermore,

not be appropriate for use in any investigation.

presenting a study to community adults may

W h e n revisiting a qualitative data archive, it is

require differing recruitment techniques. In our

Measures and Meanings


work, we have used newspaper ads but also

a life experience. In such cases, prodding may

have found it useful to visit participant groups

be inappropriate.

of interest wherever they might congregate

Qualitative data also m a y be collected

(e.g., support group or informational meetings

through channels other than the verbal one.

for parents of children with Down's syndrome;

In this case, videotaping may be necessary.

gay advocacy groups, gay bars, and bookstores

Videotaped interactions have proven to be a

for gay men and lesbians; support groups for

rich source o f qualitative data.

divorced women). Often, it is important to

again, it is often necessary t o assign individu-


inform participants that some of the questions

als, couples, or groups a task t o get them

they will be answering are open-ended. These

started, so that the activity o f interest will

questions likely will add to the time to complete

actually find its way o n t o the videotape. I f a

the study because of lengthy interviews or the

variable is thought t o be o f particular rele-

need for written responses. However, it is also

vance only during times o f stress, it may be

worth noting that often it is within the open-

necessary t o create a stressful atmosphere in

ended questions that participants find the most

order to gauge its importance (Campbell,

engaging and interesting aspects o f our work.

Simpson, Kashy, & Rholes, 2 0 0 1 ) .

M a n y times, I have received letters or notes from participants commenting on the value that answering these questions had for them. W e typically try to present our work as focusing on finding out what participants already know—that we are simply trying to acquire an understanding o f what their life experiences have shown them. W e are asking participants to share important aspects o f their lives with us; therefore, establishing a sense o f trust and dispelling (potentially legitimate) concerns over psychologists' tendency to pathologize are crucial.

Deciding What Questions to Ask and How to Ask Them T h e type o f methodology used to collect

Coding the Data As I've already mentioned, in the process o f social psychological inquiry, the movement





approaches is extremely quick. T h u s , having an idea o f h o w one plans to treat the qualitative data will help in selecting the questions to ask and the types o f responses that will be most worthwhile. I f responses are to be quantified using a coding scheme, the question that emerges is, which one?




A variety o f coding schemes have been developed for analyzing narrative and other

the data itself is obviously a key concern.


Logistical issues such as time constraints and

scheme for the purposes o f content analysis is


Creating a new


person-hours clearly play a role in these deci-

not terribly different

sions. M o r e important, concern for the match

maligned practice o f proliferating self-report




between h o w one has conceptualized a vari-

measures. It is certainly desirable to consult

able and h o w it might be measured ought to


drive the design o f study. Some variables may

embarking on the creation o f a new system.

be better suited to an interview format in

Using an e x t a n t content-analytic scheme

which an interviewer can prompt participants

allows one to take advantage o f a long history




for more information when necessary. At

of trial and error by previous researchers. In

other times, a researcher might be interested

addition, these schemes often have a body o f

in the participants' own preexisting stories o f

literature behind them offering




DESIGN AND ANALYSIS evidence o f reliability and validity. Finally,


New Coding


many extant schemes have been published along with expertly scored practice materials

Although there clearly is a wealth o f exist-

that are invaluable in learning and eventually

ing coding schemes, there are times when a

training teams o f coders.

theoretically driven research question requires

An impressive compilation o f thematic

the development o f a new coding scheme. For

coding systems was published in a volume

instance, in a study o f the relations o f private

edited by Smith ( 1 9 9 2 ) . This handbook is an

wishes to personality traits (King & Broyles,

excellent resource for researchers interested

1 9 9 7 ) , we collected three wishes from each o f

in learning and teaching a variety o f coding

more than 4 0 0 undergraduates w h o had also

schemes. Chapters include theoretical treat-

completed trait measures of the big five per-

ments, literature reviews, and coding manuals

sonality factors (neuroticism, extraversion,

for implicit motives (e.g., achievement, power,

openness to experience, agreeableness, and

affiliation, affiliative trust-mistrust, intimacy),

conscientiousness) (Costa & M c C r a e , 1 9 8 8 ) .

attributional and cognitive orientations (e.g.,

T h e Five Factor M o d e l ( F F M ) approach

personal causation, explanatory style, integra-

posits that traits have motivational properties

tive complexity), and psychosocial orienta-

so that they ought t o be represented in moti-

tions (e.g., psychological stances toward the

vational tendencies. O u r study o f private

environment, responsibility). Expertly scored

wishes sought to examine whether

practice materials are provided for every cod-

might be evident in the content o f these flights

ing scheme. In my experience, graduate and

of fancy. W e developed a coding scheme


undergraduate students alike can be trained to

specifically for content relevant to the F F M .

score narrative protocols reliably and


T o develop this system, we gave our coders a

ciently using this handbook. T h e Smith vol-

brief workshop on the F F M . W e gave them

ume, however, is hardly exhaustive. As with

sample items from the short questionnaire

any study, a good rule o f thumb is to check the

measure o f the F F M to examine so that they

literature prior to collecting data in order t o

would have a strong understanding o f each o f

explore preexisting coding strategies.

the five traits. Finally, the raters categorized

Coding systems for other types o f data also are extant. For instance, the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) (Ekman &c Friesen, 1 9 7 8 ) codes for particular muscle movements in the face. This system provides a level analysis o f facial movements especially as they are associated with particular emotional expressions. M o r e global systems also have been developed that allow for a less fine-grained analysis o f facial expressions. Social psychologists have developed methods o f coding for body movements, attractiveness, deception, and

other nonverbal



many systems allow one to learn a system independently,



allow for

training in various methods may also provide an important resource for acquiring the skills to use qualitative data effectively.

each wish as relevant to one or more o f the five traits. As predicted, the content o f wishes related to personality traits. For instance, people high in neuroticism were more likely to wish to stop worrying. Those high in extraversion made more impulsive wishes (e.g.,






Agreeable folks were more likely to make altruistic wishes and wishes for peace and harmony (e.g., "for the world to be a safer, friendlier p l a c e " ) . T h e highly conscientious were more likely to make wishes for achievement, and those high in openness to experience made nonconformist, highly intellectual wishes (e.g., "to do away with social conformity," " t o be fluent in six languages"). N o t e that the construction o f this coding scheme was helped immensely by the existence of




extremely well-specified definitions o f the

be straightforward and understandable, for

traits in question.


In developing an ad hoc coding scheme, a







manuscript. It is desirable to avoid too much

variety o f issues present themselves. H o w does

overlap in dimension content, to avoid both

one go about constructing a reliable coding

confusion for raters and lack o f discriminant

scheme that is comprehensible to coders, that is

validity in analyses. Removing redundancy in

likely to be represented in the data collected

rating categories is a good idea because it is

with adequate variance, and that taps into

not at all unlikely that coders will start to rate

the construct o f interest? One possibility is

similar dimensions in a simultaneous and (per-

to consult the history of the construction o f

haps) haphazard way (for instance, if raters


code for " j o y " and "happiness"). T r y to antic-

schemes in



Historically, personality psychologists inter-

ipate clear areas o f potential confusion: For

ested in thematic content analysis have used

instance, is a passage coded for "dialogue" if

criterion groups to create scoring systems for

the person states "we were not talking"?

motives. In this literature, individuals w h o were

Clearly specify when not to code for a partic-

known, a priori, to be high in a motive were

ular dimension. Giving examples o f "close but

asked to tell an imaginative story in response to

not quite" passages will help eventual coders

a picture, and those stories were compared to

make reliable distinctions. It is also best to

stories told by individuals w h o were


keep the coding categories to a reasonable

assumed to be high on the motive in question.

number. For example, M c A d a m s ' s intimacy

For instance, for the intimacy motive scoring


system, M c A d a m s ( 1 9 8 0 ) compared stories

Typically, coding can be thought o f as test



1 0 categories.

told by sorority members w h o had just partici-

construction—a researcher may begin with far

pated in a unity ceremony to those who had

more items on a scale than ultimately will be

not, with the former expected to be higher

included in the final, most reliable version.


Categories may be winnowed down through-

Although this kind of inductive strategy for

out the coding process. Obviously, one can

coding schemes has been useful, it is not always

code for a variety o f dimensions and later cre-

in concern for w a r m


ate composites, but it is important to consider

possible to identify such a priori groups. Alternatively, as was the case in


wishes study, given a variable that is well

coder decay—the tendency for coders t o become exhausted and overwhelmed.

defined, a coding scheme can be developed.

Another consideration in developing a cod-

A detailed theory o f h o w the construct might

ing scheme is what level o f measurement to

communicate itself via narrative or other free

employ. Some coding strategies (e.g., Smith,

response will allow the researcher to easily

1 9 9 2 ) typically code for instances o f an image,

nominate ways that the psychological pro-

word, phrase, or theme. Such coding obviously

cess o f interest might reveal itself in the data.

is done on a categorical basis and


Certainly, in developing a coding system, it

summed over the story. It is also possible to

is tempting to code as much as possible.

code specific protocols for "fitting" a particu-

However, it is important to keep in mind what

lar type (e.g., is this a redemption pattern—in

a human rater can and cannot accomplish


with efficiency and accuracy. Some advice for


the creation o f coding schemes can be gained

Bowman, 2 0 0 1 ) . In contrast, it is possible to





bad Lewis,



Patten, &

by examining some o f the existing schemes

code narratives or other data using Likert-type

that have been developed. First, these systems

scales (for instance, " H o w emotionally positive

are marked by their clarity. Definitions must

is this story?" on a scale from 1 meaning not at

DESIGN AND ANALYSIS all to 7 meaning extremely much). These issues

accommodation might be reflected in

are important to consider for a variety o f rea-

individual's struggle to understand or find

sons. First, it is worthwhile to consider that

meaning in a major life event, it might manifest

interval level data can always be transformed

itself in the stories people told about those life


down a notch in levels o f measurement—by

experiences. Thus, based on Block's definition,

converting the ratings to ordinal scales or to

we created a coding scheme that centered on

categories, if it is clear that raters are seeing the

those aspects of accommodation that might be

variables as categorical. Interval ratings may

found in the story of a life experience. Because

also be somewhat easier for raters to perform

this was a first investigation into content ana-

with confidence. At times, naive raters may

lyzing for accommodation, we included a

blanch at the idea that they are making all-or-

broad range o f potentially relevant variables,

nothing judgments. Clearly, the choice of mea-

which were coded on scales from 1 (not at all)

surement technique ought to be tied closely to

to 7 (extremely much). Initially, we started with

a consideration o f the theoretical definition of

nine dimensions, including


a construct: Is it all or nothing? Is it conceptu-



alized as existing along a continuum?


Finally, consider that a coding scheme,

"active vs. passive," "gradual

vs. sudden change,"

"closure," and "denial." Coding was com-

though developed in response t o a particular

pleted by two raters who rated all the narra-

demand (one data set), may have a life o f its

tives, independently. These raters were blind to

own beyond the initial investigation. It is

all other aspects of the data.

essential to present enough information in

Because they were rather abstract, the

the write-up so that a reader could choose to


replicate the study in his or her own lab.

defined in great detail, as can be seen in Table

Given the need for brevity in manuscripts,

8.1. W e completed a factor analysis of the cod-

making coding schemes available on





ing and found that the dimensions tapped into


two main issues: closure and accommodation.

option. Tips for training raters on the system

The three dimensions that held together as an

as well as expertly scored practice materials

accommodation factor are shown in Table 8 . 1 .

also are invaluable additions to a W e b site.

W h a t follows is an excerpt from a participant's

W o r l d Wide W e b presents an

Our research on parents of children with DS

story, scoring high in accommodation.

provides an example of the construction of a theoretically derived coding scheme (King, Scollon, et al., 2 0 0 0 ) . In that study, we asked the participants to describe how they found out they would be parenting a child with DS. W e were interested in examining stories of life transition, particularly, in order to examine whether these stories might show signs o f the processes thought

to underlie


development. Block (1982) discussed Piaget's developmental process o f accommodation as mechanisms of personality. Accommodation requires that one rethink one's essential beliefs about the self and

the world—to


new structures through which to experience meaning. W e thought that to the extent that

I cried some and experienced waves of "Unknown" embracing me. . . . I knew little about DS—it was an abstraction. Any handicap fell into the category of a childhood memory of seeing "waterheads," as I was told or remember, out on a shopping trip getting into a bus. My daughter was flesh and blood and a good nurser and that was the reality I remember dealing with. I thought very little about her future but I knew I would bow to no predictions. Irrational thoughts came to me at times but did not consume much thinking time: "I must have DS too, it just hasn't been discovered yet." Or "This child must be a consequence for wrong decisions in the past."

Measures Table 8.1

and Meanings


Content Categories for Accommodation Coding



1. Paradigmatic shift

This rating concerns the degree to which change entails a paradigmatic shift for the person. The new experience requires a revision of structures—an actual change in response to the environment and a qualitative change in how the person sees the world and him- or herself. The person has been forced to change, centrally and qualitatively, his or her views of the self and the world.

2. Exploration

How much has the person searched and struggled with the change? This may include commenting on his or her own coping processes as well as talking about the process of making sense of the experience. Is the narrator primarily a passive recipient of experience or primarily actively taking part in what is happening?

3. Activity versus passivity

T h e composite a c c o m m o d a t i o n measure predicted personality development concur-




Raters ought to be

given sufficient time and material to engage in

rently and 2 years later. Applying Block's

intense practice, with feedback, during the

conceptualization t o the stories we collected

training phase. Although taking the time to

represents a top-down approach t o this anal-

train coders may seem like bit o f a burden, this

ysis. T h e winnowing down o f dimensions to

training phase can be a valuable time to edit

the most central ones is also a c o m m o n part

the coding scheme, for instance, to identify

of such investigations. W e came to the narra-

early problems in reliability. Especially if it is

tives with a flexible scheme that was dictated

necessary to create a new coding scheme, it is


always recommended that raters be given a

hunches about h o w a particular psychologi-

trial period with the scheme and that they be

cal process might manifest itself in story.

encouraged t o report back their responses to

by theory,

along with


the scheme after a brief amount of practice. W e often ask coders to report the numbers they Using Naive


have assigned to various protocols. It is vital

W h e n using qualitative data in social and

that they realize that disagreement is not a

personality psychology, in general, at least two

problem at this stage. Often, wide differences

independent raters are required for at least

in initial coding help to identify problematic

some of the ratings that are done, in order to

dimensions and can be useful in resolving

allow for reliability estimates. Because of the

ambiguities for all coders. Raters must be given

logistical realities o f academic research, these

an opportunity t o discuss particularly difficult

raters often are graduate or undergraduate

or complex categories with the other raters and

research assistants. As such, they tend to be

the principal investigator. Repeated meetings

truly naive in their interactions with

and training sessions may be necessary. An


research materials. Training these individuals

appropriate metaphor is an immersion course

to be proficient raters may be a unique chal-

in a second language. I encourage raters to

lenge. The process ought to be conceived of as

mentally code everything they read, hear, or

occurring in two stages, training and coding.

see for the relevant dimensions. In our study of


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS parents o f children with D S , undergraduate

be blind t o the other raters' ratings as well as

raters were given detailed descriptions o f the

to the hypotheses o f the study and other

coding dimensions. In addition, across several

aspects o f the participants that may be under

meetings, coders analyzed a variety of stories

investigation. O n e way t o assure raters that

for these dimensions, including stories o f life

consulting with each other to ensure high reli-

transition collected from other samples, such

ability is not necessary is to emphasize the

as divorced women. In this case, the emphasis

importance o f each rater being consistent

was not on mastering an existing scheme but

within his or her own ratings. T h a t is, raters

on ascertaining that all coders understood the

should be encouraged to develop their own

"gist" of the instructions and could recognize

sense o f what is "high" on a given dimension

potential aspects of accommodation when they

and to stick with that standard

saw it. Again, for these ratings, the emphasis

the coding. Coders should keep their practice


was on consistency within each rater, rather

materials from the training phase, so that they

than getting a "right answer."

can consult these when they are confused or are

unsure about their coding. In training raters

plenty o f available practice materials. In other

to code for motive imagery, for instance, pre-

F o r many

existing schemes, there

cases, narratives that were used for other

vious training materials that have been "cor-

investigations can be useful practice materi-

rected" by expert scoring can allow them to

als. Finally, it may be necessary to find cre-

check their intuitions with previous materials.

ative alternatives for practice materials. In my

Even with well-trained coders, differences

lab, where the qualitative data typically are

of opinions do erupt in coding. In most cases,

narratives, raters have practiced on works o f

data for analyses are supplied by averaging

fiction, poetry, letters to the editor, and pub-

over the ratings, so these differences are not

lished soap opera summaries. Other practice

crucial. However, if the study involves cate-

materials for coding o f nonverbal behavior

gorizing data, it may be desirable to obtain a

may be T V clips, magazine photos, and films.

"right answer" in the end. Typically, a con-

However one chooses t o train coders, at

sensus can be reached with some discussion,

some point they are ready t o begin actual

particularly with at least one expert coder in

coding. W i t h regard


attendance. However, it is important that the

schemes, this may occur when the investiga-

ratings prior to discussion are retained for

tor has a sense that "everyone gets it." T h i s

the calculation o f reliability estimates.




was more or less h o w we completed training for the D S study. In other cases, there are actual tests that can be administered


Naive Approach.





Naive coders may relate to the data

instance, for the coding manuals in Smith

in only top-down sorts o f ways. They have

[ 1 9 9 2 ] ) . In this case, after sufficient practice,

been trained on a particular coding scheme

raters can take the test to ensure that their

and are likely, therefore, to attend to just those

ratings are mapping o n t o expert scoring (typ-

dimensions that the scheme presents as rele-

ically t o within 9 6 % o f expert scoring).

vant. Y e t , reading and thinking about the raw data certainly can lend itself to more bottom-

The Coding Phase. Although communica-

up discoveries. H o w can the researcher remain

tion among raters is invaluable during train-

open to such developments while using rela-

ing, once training is complete, it is important

tively naive coders? O n e solution, obviously,

that raters be told not to talk t o each other

is to read all or most o f the protocols oneself.

about specific aspects o f the coding once the

W i t h a large sample, this is not always feasi-

"official" coding has begun. All raters must

ble. Instead, the coders can serve as conduits


and Meanings


of interesting information. In the initial stages

event can play a helpful

of content analyses, our team o f coders is

(Pennebaker &

role in coping

invited to discuss with us any other interesting

was reason t o believe that the use o f fore-

Seagal, 1 9 9 9 ) . Thus, there

things they happen upon—to share particu-

shadowing in stories might relate to positive

larly striking narratives with the group during

psychological functioning. A coding scheme

the coding process. In our lab, coders meet to

for foreshadowing was developed, and all the

discuss coding progress one or two times a

narratives were coded by all raters for the

week. (Specific stories are not discussed, but

presence or absence o f this narrative device.

dimensions are. In this way, raters can discuss

D r a m a t i c examples o f foreshadowing did

general issues without revealing their codes to

indeed emerge in a portion o f these stories.

each other.) I typically ask coders to keep an

For instance, one participant described how,

eye out for what I might be missing and to jot

at their baby shower, her husband opened a

down ideas as they read the narratives, in

child care b o o k at random and started read-

order to continue to get a sense o f what is

ing loud. T h e y both recoiled in horror as they

interesting about the stories.

realized he was reading about D S . Another

An example o f this process is provided,

mother began her story with a visit to an

once again, by our study o f parents o f chil-

amusement park during her pregnancy. It

dren with D S . This study was conducted

happened that there were a number of children

specifically t o explore the possibility that

with D S at the park, and she t o o k this as a

accommodation might be found in stories o f

sign that the child she was carrying would

life transition. However, another interesting

also have D S (King, Scollon, et al., 2 0 0 0 ) .

aspect o f these narratives presented itself as

Interestingly, in accord with our predictions,

we embarked on our coding. In addition to

foreshadowing was associated with height-

coding for accommodation, three additional

ened well-being for these parents.

coders coded the emotional tone o f the beginnings and endings o f the stories. While conducting this coding, these coders noted a

Reliability and Validity

fascinating aspect o f the stories these parents

Because social and personality psycholo-

shared. For most o f the protocols, the story

gists tend t o treat qualitative data in a quan-

began with a doctor's announcement o f the

titative way, these data are expected t o meet

child's diagnosis o f D S , in the hospital, imme-

the same standards o f reliability and validity

diately or shortly after

birth. Sometimes,

however, the story began not with

as m o r e structured measures. In asking about


reliability, we want t o k n o w if a measure is

announcement but rather at an earlier point

relatively free o f error o f measurement—are

in time. For instance, one mother wrote about

the ratings consistent across raters? In asking

a dream she had months prior to the child's

about validity, we want to k n o w that there is

birth. Another wrote about having a sinking

evidence that the measure used actually taps

suspicion during her pregnancy that the child

the construct under investigation.

she was carrying would have D S . F r o m a literary perspective, w h a t


observed was clearly foreshadowing. In liter-


ature, it is clear that foreshadowing can be a

Using qualitative data, the question o f

compelling way to enhance the coherence o f a

reliability typically is phrased in terms o f the

narrative from one moment o f the drama t o

relationships a m o n g ratings done by differ-

the next. It has been suggested that construct-

ent raters. In calculating reliabilities, the

ing a coherent narrative about a traumatic life

implications o f decisions that





DESIGN AND ANALYSIS made along the way in the investigation (e.g.,

have counted images and added these up

W h a t scale o f measurement was used to code

within passages). Measuring reliability in this

the data? H o w many raters were used? H o w

case means gauging the consistency across

much o f the data did each rater actually

judges in their patterns o f ratings. Imagine

rate?) c o m e to the fore. M y purpose


that three raters read the passage below

reviewing these issues here is t o emphasize

(from the parents o f children with D S ) and

the implications o f these decisions for relia-

coded it for emotional positivity, on a scale

bility and to give practical suggestions for

from 1 (not at all) to 7 (extremely


obtaining acceptable reliability estimates. First, note the difference between coder agreement and coder reliability. Interrater agreement refers to the degree to which coders give the exact same rating to a narrative, videotape,







Agreement typically is a concern when ratings have been done using nominal (or categorical) scales. T h e simplest and, perhaps, most easily understood measure o f agreement is the percentage o f agreement. It is important to note, of course, that some agreement among raters may occur by chance, so the percentage o f agreement may, in fact, overestimate


It was long enough ago that the word was Mongoloid. I was alone and it was late at night when the doctor told m e . . . . I laugh at this now because I was 33—I called my parents. I think I wanted them to fix things—they had been pretty good at that in the past.. . . Then I realized that I was mourning as if my child had died yet 1 still had a nice fat baby in the nursery. I rang for him to be brought to me expecting him to be a monster instead of the cute thing I saw in the delivery room. I tore all of his clothes off of him and just looked at him. He was beautiful. (King, 2001)

actual level o f agreement by judges that is due to their recognition of the variables o f interest.

If the three raters rated this passage 4 , 5,

A more sophisticated measure o f agreement,

and 7, respectively, there are clearly disagree-

one that is useful when categories are mutually

ments in their assessments o f the absolute level

exclusive, is Cohen's K (Cohen, 1960), which

of the positivity o f the passage. However, if, in

includes an estimate o f the agreement that

the context o f all the ratings these raters did,

would be likely to occur by chance. In cases

we find that this passage actually was rated

where the codes produced by raters are nomi-

relatively highly by all raters, the reliability

nal but the categories are not mutually exclu-

will be high. For instance, if the rather cur-

sive, other alternatives may be phi coefficients

mudgeonly rater w h o gave this passage a 4

among ratings or, again, simple percentage

consistently rated very positive passages as 4 ' s

agreements. In our study o f parents o f chil-

while our very positive rater consistently

dren with D S , we used phi coefficients (essen-

rewarded such passages with 7's, the ratings


will be reliable. Again, reliability estimates are




ratings) to express the strong degree of agree-

not concerned with the mean

ment among our judges for the ratings o f fore-

among raters but are ways o f gauging their

shadowing (average phi = . 9 1 ) .

proportionality or rank order consistency.







T h e most obvious and convenient way to

typically refers not to the exact agreement o f

calculate reliability in this case is to simply

ratings but rather to the extent to which

calculate the correlations among the ratings

ratings are proportional across judgments.

and to report, perhaps, the average correla-

Typically, in this case, ratings have been con-


ducted on an interval scale (e.g., scales from

C r o n b a c h ' s alpha for a composite rating. In

1 to 7 ratings) or a ratio scale (e.g., raters

the study o f parents o f children with D S , we







and Meanings

used interrater correlations to justify the

represents the characteristic idiosyncrasies o f

creation o f composites for all the a c c o m m o -

each rater.


dation dimensions. It is worth noting that in

First, let's consider the optimal case, in

this study, all the raters rated all the stories,

which all raters have rated all the protocols.

and this decision allowed us the greatest free-

In this situation, we would use the average

dom in calculating the reliability.

among all raters as the actual score given to

It is not always the case that the same

a protocol. Differences among the raters can

raters will rate all materials. Sometimes, data

be assumed to cancel out in the averaging o f

may be collected over the course o f a longer

ratings, so rater variance should not be con-

time period, and so raters are replaced. At

sidered error. T o estimate the reliability o f

other times, the data sets are so large that it

the composite score, we could conduct a

is nearly impossible to have a pair or trio

rater x person two-way A N O V A on the rat-

of raters rate all o f them. Such situations

ings. T h e output would provide the variances

require us t o consider the role o f rater vari-

for raters, persons, and error. T o calculate

ance in the reliability estimate. In this case,

the Spearman-Brown correlation, these mean

the intraclass correlation is preferred because

squares would be inserted into the formula as

it allows the researcher t o decide exactly

follows (Ebel, 1 9 5 1 ; Tinsley & Weiss, 1 9 7 5 ) :

what the place o f interrater variance ought to be vis-a-vis the reliability o f an instrument.


- MS

p e r s o n

T o appreciate this issue, it is helpful to imag-


ine these data in a way that may not c o m e



intuitively to many researchers—that is, to think o f each rater as a level o f an indepenT o understand the effects o f the levels o f the independent variable (i.e., the raters) on the dependent variable (i.e., the ratings), we must partition the variance in the ratings into attributable




attributable to the object being rated (i.e., the person), and error variance. Thus, we can think o f the ratings as dependent variables in a rater x person analysis o f variance (ANOVA).



analysis, in


practice, provides a clear sense o f the role o f rater variance in the ratings. Any output for an A N O V A will include the variance attributable t o the independent

e r r o r

term above represents

only random error. T h e variance partitioned

dent variable in an experiment.


N o t e that M S


(i.e., the mean square for rater) and


off for raters is not included in the calculation at all. However, in cases where not all coders have coded the entire data set, or if "doubling up" has occurred on only a subset o f cases, the final ratings given to protocols are not composites o f multiple ratings by the same raters. As a result, between-rater variance is rightfully treated as error. Although using a composite of judges' ratings allows us to use the reliability o f the composite, in this case we really need the reliability o f an average single judge's ratings. Here a simple one-way A N O V A (analyzing ratings by persons) provides the variances for the intraclass reliability estimate:

attributable to the person being rated (i.e., the mean square for person), as well as the leftover (unsystematic) error variance. N o t e that the variance due to person here represents



+ MS

e r r o r


the degree to which raters were sensitive to the changes in the dimensions o f interest

where K = the number o f judges rating each

across protocols. T h e variance due to raters

person. (If K varies across individuals, the



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS average number o f judges can be calculated

about the consistency o f a measure, it is

for inclusion in this formula; see Tinsley and

possible to have very high reliability and very

Weiss [ 1 9 7 5 ] . ) N o t e that in this equation, the

low validity. Because reliability refers to sys-


tematic variance, if all raters consistently

e r r o i

includes the between rater variance

m a k e the same mistakes, reliability will be

as error. The bottom line is that if raters complete

high, yet these highly reliable ratings will

ratings on only a portion o f the data, the relia-

consistently miss the variable in question.

bility estimates should treat between-rater dif-

O n c e again, decisions affecting the quality o f

ferences as error and the reliabilities will be

an investigation from its inception clearly

lowered accordingly. Note that for all estimates

impinge on eventual validity: W a s the coding

of reliability, increasing the number o f raters

scheme sufficiently clear? W e r e the raters

will increase the interrater reliability. However,

appropriately trained? W a s the proficiency

the addition of raters has less and less impact on

of the raters well gauged? Although reliabil-

reliability as more raters are added. In terms of

ity clearly is a challenge, validity issues may

what are acceptable reliabilities, generally the

present even greater difficulty, particularly

same rules o f thumb can be used as apply to

for newer coding schemes.

questionnaire data—reliabilities below . 6 0 are likely to raise eyebrows.

Convergent validity can be difficult


gauge, particularly if a construct is understood be

to be strongly intertwined with its own mea-

chosen with attention to the scale o f measure-

surement method. For many years, the T A T


sum, reliability estimates should

ment used, the number of coders, and the

measures o f motivation were held in low

amount o f overlap by coders. Some methods

regard because they failed to show convergent

for computing reliability are fairly easy (for

validity with questionnaire measures o f the

instance, computing percentage agreements,

same motives (see King, 1 9 9 5 , for a review).

interrater correlations, or alpha reliability

However, theoretical justifications for these

across composites for coders), whereas others

null results provided a new way to think o f

be m o r e challenging logistically (for

these measures (McClelland et al., 1 9 8 9 ) . It is

instance, computing mean square estimates

important to remember that the lack o f rela-

for variance attributed to person x rater). As

tion between self-report and content-analytic

a rule, researchers probably select the reliabil-

measures may be substantively interesting and


ity estimate that gives them the best result,

not necessarily indicative o f invalidity of either

but these must always be selected within the

type of measure. For instance, in the study by

confines o f the data themselves. Although

Dovidio and colleagues reviewed earlier, the

many textbooks review the issues o f reliabil-

spontaneous nonverbal behavior shown by

ity, I recommend an article by Tinsley and

white participants in the presence o f a black

Weiss ( 1 9 7 5 ) . It has been extremely useful in

confederate was not related to their verbaliza-

obtaining reliability estimates given varying

tions or to their self-reported attitudes, yet

numbers o f coders, levels o f measurement,

clearly this behavior has importance in its own

and research goals. T h e advice offered is

right. Qualitative measures are used exactly

straightforward and extremely helpful.

because they tap into something that more structured measures cannot get to; thus, it should not be surprising when these measures


fail to converge.

The validity o f an instrument concerns

Seeking to establish criterion-related valid-

h o w much the measure actually taps w h a t

ity may be a more profitable approach to

we want it t o . Although reliability tells us

establishing the validity of qualitative methods.

Measures and Meanings


This possibility is well illustrated in the classic

this problem is a challenge. Clearly, simply

distinction in the Type A Behavior Pattern

including excerpts o f narratives is one way t o

literature. Research comparing the Type A

attempt to preserve the integrity o f the whole.

Structured Interview (which relies on the cod-

However, this solution p r o b a b l y is pro-

ing o f nonverbal behavior) with the Jenkins

foundly unsatisfying for both the reader and

Activity survey (a reliable questionnaire) has

the researcher. In addition, the press for

demonstrated that, reliability differences not

brevity in journal articles may decrease the

withstanding, the more qualitative measure

likelihood o f even this level o f inclusion (or to

does a superior j o b of predicting coronary

the relegation o f these excerpts to rarely read

heart disease (e.g., Matthews, 1 9 8 8 ) .

appendices). W h a t other alternatives exist? O n e possibility is to return to the single case to examine h o w individual narratives reflect


and challenge group based results (see Allport [ 1 9 6 1 ] ; this advice certainly would also apply to purely quantitative w o r k ) . M y w o r k on the relations between the content o f implicit motives (measured via imaginative stories)

Methodological Problems and Confounds

and personal goals demonstrates h o w the examination o f individual cases can enlighten

There are a variety o f confounds that m a y

even null results. In this case, n o evidence

be unique to the use o f qualitative data. O n e

emerged for the kinds o f straightforward rela-

problem in verbal reports is that o f verbosity.

tions one might expect between implicit

Individuals w h o simply talk a lot more than

motives and goal content (e.g., individuals

others may score higher on measures based

high on need for achievement did not have a

on free responses. Typically, researchers

high number o f achievement-related personal

include the length o f a protocol as a control

goals) (King, 1 9 9 5 ) . An examination o f a few

variable in analyses or m a y convert scores to

single cases, however, demonstrated

"images per 1 , 0 0 0 w o r d s " or some similar

these t w o types o f motivation

measure t o account for differences in w o r d

related within a given person in complex,



usage. Other potential confounds in coding

sometimes idiosyncratic ways that could not

nonverbal behavior are the effect o f attrac-

be captured in group analyses. It is important

tiveness, smiling, and clothing on ratings.

that such an examination not be presented as

Typically, researchers strive t o equalize these

an afterthought. Such analyses may inspire

characteristics across rated targets, or code

research on a broader sample. Another possi-

for these potential confounds in order to sta-

bility would be to combine quantitative anal-

tistically control for them later.

yses with more purely qualitative analyses. Such a possibility may require interdisciplinary research that acknowledges and nego-

Losing the Trees for the Forest Perhaps




research is more likely t o (rapidly) quantify qualitative data, the risk o f losing the whole in pursuit o f numerical descriptions o f the data is more pressing. Y e t , one o f the very





associated with differing



areas o f social

science. Finally, it might be worthwhile to consider alternative outlets for research that is more purely qualitative, keeping in mind that it is often a question o f where and when, not

strengths o f qualitative data is their capacity

if, a scientifically sound, provocative article

to convey a sense o f the whole. Overcoming

will be published.




Special Ethical



A final unusual problem in the use o f qualitative data is special consideration for ethical treatment o f the data.






Advances in technology have led to the develop-

interviews, and videotaped interactions or

ment of a number of innovative computerized

monologues may reveal more than the typi-

systems for analyzing qualitative data, including

cal questionnaire about a particular research

N U D * I S T , nVivo, H y p e r R E S E A R C H ,

participant. Participants w h o are asked to

ATLAS.ti. Each of these systems certainly war-

share stories o f their personal experiences

rants a chapter (or book) of its own, and fortu-


must be assured that the data will be pub-

nately, such chapters and volumes have been

lished only in group format. I f a researcher

written (e.g., Fielding & Lee, 1 9 9 1 ; Richards &

would like to use excerpts from various par-

Richards, 1 9 9 4 ) . Critiques also are available

ticipants t o enliven his or her research report,

that compare and contrast the strengths and

he or she ought to ask for permission from

weaknesses of each of these (Huberman

these participants to do so. Typically, if indi-

Miles, 1 9 9 4 ) and compare these systems to

viduals are t o be videotaped, they should give

human ratings (Rosenberg, Schnurr, & Oxman,


their permission to be so taped. If telling par-


ticipants beforehand about the taping might

researchers to manage qualitative data. One






interfere with natural behavior, the partici-

issue is that these packages don't actually code

pants may be taped surreptitiously but later

for you; they simply allow you to make use of

should be informed o f the taping and offered

their various features for organizing data, track-

the chance to destroy the tape.

ing patterns that your exploration has uncov-

Finally, during coding, it is extremely

ered. As such, these tools may be best suited to

important that coders treat the research pro-

more modestly sized data sets and for use by

tocols with the appropriate level o f respect.

expert coders (see Loxley, 2 0 0 1 ) . Although

In my lab, student raters are asked to sign a

differing in their specific features, these pack-


ages essentially help a researcher taking a


reviews the


treatment o f qualitative data. Raters are not

"bottom-up" approach to build a conceptual

to talk about these data with anyone w h o is

framework for a data set. Coming from a

not in the lab. Raters must behave profes-

top-down approach, they allow a researcher to

sionally while in the lab, in case research par-

organize text features that are theoretically

ticipants c o m e by to drop off questionnaires

relevant in hypothesis testing.

or be interviewed. Furthermore, if a rater recognizes a particular participant from his or

Some packages allow for a simultaneous "macrolevel"

accounting o f the


her research materials, the rater must stop

emerging in the data. F o r instance, ATLAS.ti

working on those materials immediately and

uses semantic categories to group codes into

turn them over t o the principal investigator


for reassignment to another rater. It is impor-

approach that, in addition to performing code

tant for raters to recognize that participants

and retrieve functions, also provides nodes for





have shared important aspects o f their lives

an index system that functions parallel to the

with us. W i t h o u t their candor and willing-

microlevel coding. This index system allows

ness to share, our w o r k would be impossible.

the research to track and

Their materials must be treated with

dynamic connections between the general con-

highest degree o f respect.


also consider

structs emerging in the content analyses.




Using these technologies is a truly interactive

to such a molecular level o f analysis. T h e

experience, and the potential for theory build-

human reader may never be replaced entirely

ing appears very strong. M o s t o f the packages

by computerized analyses.

are available in demonstration versions on the World Wide W e b . As the creators of N U D * I S T themselves have

commented, this

T e c h n o l o g y also has




promising inroads in other areas in which


qualitative data have required a great deal o f

"Offers many ways for a researcher never to

time and effort to quantify. For instance,

finish a study" (Richards & Richards, 2 0 0 1 ,


p. 4 5 8 ) .

Lien, H u a ,

Perhaps because T h e Linguistic Inquiry and

and colleagues (Cohn, Z l o c h o w e r , 8c K a n a d e , 2 0 0 0 ) have been

developing facial feature matching software

W o r d Count (LIWC) (Pennebaker & Francis,

t o code for emotional facial

1 9 9 6 ) was designed by a social psychologist,

These innovations may allow researchers t o

its reliability has been empirically addressed

avail themselves o f rich qualitative


(Pennebaker & King, 1 9 9 9 ) and it has been

sources without the effortful training


used on very large data sets successfully (e.g.,


Pennebaker, Mayne, 8c Francis, 1 9 9 7 ) . As

required. O f course, such innovations must

L I W C processes text, every word in a protocol

be shown to have excellent convergent valid-

is matched against a catalog o f words in the

ity with manual coding in order to prove

L I W C dictionaries. These dictionaries include

truly useful for researchers.







a variety of topics o f interest to social psychologists, including positive and


emotion, self-references, social words, deathrelated words, and cognitive words



thinking, causation). T h e output is SPSS ready

Using qualitative

and includes the percentage o f words that the

researcher to tap into a well o f rich informa-




person used that fit into each o f the L I W C dic-

tion. W h e n I first thought about what it

tionaries. L I W C is enormously flexible. T h e

meant to be a psychologist, this is what I

various dictionaries can be combined in a vari-

thought I'd be doing: learning from people

ety o f ways to tap into whatever construct

doing what they do—that is, making meaning

interests the researcher. A weakness o f a word

out o f their experiences. Qualitative

count strategy is that words are necessarily

allow us to examine the natural behavior o f


decontextualized, so L I W C misses sarcasm,

human beings in its various forms. Decisions

metaphor, and other aspects o f language that

about what we study and h o w we study it

are less than straightforward.

have far-reaching implications for the even-

T o use these programs, protocols must be

tual usefulness o f such inquiries. Qualitative

transcribed into text files for the computer.

research in social and personality psychology

Although this may be a small obstacle (we

involves a number o f challenges, but in the

sometimes ask participants to type their sto-

end the best o f this w o r k can be seen to

ries onto a computer), it might also make

embody the best o f the hard and the soft in

research on archival texts that have not been

our science. T h e key is to balance the desire to

transcribed laborious. T e x t analysis programs

wring as much from the data as possible with

represent a potential

maintaining the dignity o f the whole, to not

boon to


research, but it is important to bear in mind

lose the "big picture" in the search o f that

that not all research questions lend themselves

which easily lends itself to quantification.



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Georgeson, J . C., Harris, M . J . , Milich, R., & Young, J . (1999). "Just teasing . . .": Personality effects on perceptions and life narratives of childhood teasing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1 2 5 4 - 1 2 6 7 . Guba, E. G., 8c Lincoln, S. L. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Hoyle, J . F. (1968). Sylvia Plath: A poetry of suicidal mania. Literature of Psychology, 18, 187-203. Huberman, M . A., 8c Miles, M . B. (1994). Data management and analysis methods. In N. K. Denzin 8c Y . S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 4 2 8 - 4 4 5 ) . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Keltner, D., 8c Bonanno, G. (1997). A study of laughter and dissociation: Distinct correlates of laughter and smiling during bereavement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 6 8 7 - 7 0 2 . King, L. A. (1995). Wishes, motives, goals, and personal memories: Relations and correlates of measures of human motivation. Journal of Personality, 63, 985-1007. King, L. A. (2001). The hard road to the good life: The happy, mature person. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41, 51-72. King, L. A., 8c Broyles, S. (1997). Wishes, gender, personality, and well-being. Journal of Personality, 65, 50-75. King, L. A., Scollon, C. K., Ramsey, C. M., 8c Williams, T. (2000). Stories of life transition: Happy endings, subjective well-being, and ego development in parents of children with Down Syndrome. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 5 0 9 - 5 3 6 . Lester, T. (1994). Emotional self-repair and poetry. Omega, 28, 79-84. Loxley, W. (2001). Drowning in words? Using NUD*IST to assist in the analysis of long interview transcripts from young injecting drug users. Addiction Research and Theory, 9, 5 5 7 - 5 7 3 . Matthews, K. (1988). CHD and Type A behavior: Update on and alternative to the Booth-Kewley and Friedman quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 104, 373-380. McAdams, D. P. (1980). A thematic coding system for the intimacy motive. Journal of Research in Personality, 14, 4 1 3 - 4 3 2 . McAdams, D. P, 8c Bryant, F. B. (1987). Intimacy motivation and subjective mental health in a nationwide sample. Journal of Personality, 55, 3 9 5 - 4 1 3 . McAdams, D. P., Reynolds, J . , Lewis, M., Patten, A. H., 8c Bowman, P. J . (2001). When bad things turn good and good things turn bad: Sequences of redemption and contamination in life narrative and their relation to psychosocial adaptation in midlife adults and in students. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 27, 4 7 4 - 4 8 5 . McClelland, D. C. (1980). Motive dispositions: The merits of operant and respondent measures. In L. Wheeler (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychol­ ogy (Vol. 1, pp. 10-41). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. McClelland, D. C , Koestner, R., 8c Weinberger, J . (1989). How do self-attributed and implicit motives differ? Psychological Review, 96, 6 9 0 - 7 0 2 . Morgan, C. D., 8c Murray, H. A. (1935). A method for investigating fantasies. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 34, 2 8 9 - 3 0 6 . Pennebaker, J . W., 8c Francis, M. E. (1996). Cognitive, emotional, and language processes in disclosure: Adjustment to college. Cognition and Emotion, 10, 601-626. Pennebaker, J . W., 8c King, L. A. (1999). Linguistic styles: Language use as an individual difference. Journal of Social Psychology, 77, 1 2 9 3 - 1 3 1 2 . Pennebaker, J . W., Mayne, T. J . , 8c Francis, M . E. (1997). Linguistic predictors of adaptive bereavement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 863-871.




DESIGN AND ANALYSIS Pennebaker, J . W., & Seagal, J . D. (1999). Forming a story: The health benefits of narrative. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 1243-1254. Phillips, D. C. (2000). The expanded social scientists' bestiary: A guide to fabled threats and defenses of naturalistic social science. Oxford, UK: Rowman and Littlefield. Richards, T., & Richards, L. (1994). Using computers in qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y . S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 4 4 5 - 4 6 2 ) . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Rosenberg, S. D., Schnurr, P. P., & Oxman, T. E. (1990). Content analysis: A comparison of manual and computerized systems. Journal of Personality Assessment, 54, 2 9 8 - 3 1 0 . Runyan, W. M. (1982). Life histories and psychobiography: Explorations in theory and method. New York: Oxford University Press. Smith, C. (Ed.). (1992). Motivation and personality: Handbook of thematic content analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Stirman, S. W., & Pennebaker, J . W. (2001). Word use in the poetry of suicidal and nonsuicidal poets. Psychosomatic Medicine, 63, 517-522. Tinsley, H. E. A., & Weiss, D. J . (1975). Interrater reliability and agreement of subjective judgments. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 22, 3 5 8 - 3 7 6 . Vidich, A., & Lyman, S. (1994). Locating the field. In N. K. Denzin & Y . S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 19-22). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Winter, D. G. (1992). Content analysis of archival materials, personal documents, and everyday verbal productions. In C. P. Smith (Ed.), Motivation and person­ ality: Handbook of thematic content analysis (pp. 110-126). New York: Cambridge University Press.



Implicit Methods in Social Psychology JOHN F . KIHLSTROM University of California,




Rather, the questionnaire method has been

merely with the impact o f the social situ-

central to social psychology because social

ation on individual behavior, social psy-



social psychology were





chologists would have n o interest in people's

assumptions that people were aware o f the

mental states. T h e y would

attitudes, beliefs, and values that guided their

be concerned

solely with measuring various features o f the

behavior, and that they would be willing to

social environment and various aspects o f

reveal them if asked appropriately.

people's behavior within that environment.

O f course, social psychologists were not

But long before the cognitive revolution in

stupid. They fully understood that some o f the

psychology, social psychologists believed that

mental states in question were highly charged,

social behavior was determined by the per-

and perhaps even embarrassing, and


o f the situation in

people might not be willing to talk about them

which that behavior took place. T h e central

with strangers. Consider, for example, the

role o f mental states, in turn, explains why,

lengths to which Alfred Kinsey and his associ-

son's mental


almost from the beginning, social psycholo-

ates went to get people to talk about their sex

gists have relied on self-reports o f attitudes,

lives—as well as the difficulties encountered in

stereotypes and other beliefs, preferences, val-

today's climate o f political correctness in get-

ues, goals, and motives. Self-report question-

ting people to talk frankly about their views

naires and other survey instruments have not

with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity.

been merely a convenient and inexpensive

Social psychologists also understood that the situation




way o f collecting information about people's


behavior (although they have been that, t o o ) .

lematic. By virtue o f demand characteristics

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Preparation of this chapter was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH­ 3 5 8 5 6 . I thank Jack Glaser, Tina Pantaleakos, and Carol Sansone for their comments.



(Kihlstrom, 2 0 0 2 ;


1 9 6 2 ; also see


Haslam & M c G a r t y , Chapter 1 1 , this volexperimenter bias (Rosenthal, 1 9 6 3 ) ,

O f course, the notion o f unconscious determi-

evaluation apprehension (Rosenberg, 1 9 6 5 ) ,

nants o f behavior was not entirely new, given

reactance (Brehm, 1 9 6 6 ) , and a host o f other

that it lies at the roots of Freud's psycho-


factors, research designs might not possess

analytic theory o f the mind and behavior.

the kind of external validity that would permit

According to Freud, conscious experience,

us to conclude that people actually thought or



action were determined



unconscious sexual and aggressive motives, as

Accordingly, social psychologists have exer-

well as defense mechanisms unconsciously

felt what they seemed to think and

cised a great deal o f ingenuity in getting

deployed against these primitive drives in order

around these problems, from unobtrusive or

to reduce the anxiety caused by their conflict



with the constraints o f the real and social

Wegener & Fabrigar, Chapter 7, this volume)

world. If Freud was right—and many person-






ality and social psychologists working in the


first half o f the 2 0 t h century thought he was—


C a c i o p p o , Lorig, N u s b a u m , &

then a variety o f new techniques was needed to

Chapter 1 7 , this volume). Beginning in the 1 9 8 0 s , a new dimension was added to the problem o f self-reports by

go beyond self-report to tap people's unconscious beliefs, feelings, and desires.

the increasing recognition that people's experiences, thoughts, and actions could be influenced by percepts and memories o f which they were unaware (Kihlstrom, 1 9 8 4 , 1 9 8 7 ) .

Projective Tests In Freud's own work, these unconscious

If unconscious thoughts, feelings, and desires


exist and can influence social behavior while

brought to the light o f conscious awareness, by


ostensibly discovered,


remaining unconscious, then even the most

means o f the clinical technique o f free associa-

sophisticated questionnaires and surveys will

tion. But very quickly a number o f formal tests

not succeed in tapping the mental states that

were developed for this purpose, beginning

underlie what we do when we interact with


other people. This chapter surveys a number

technique o f free associations to serve as a



o f Freud's


of methods recently introduced for assessing


people's unconscious, or implicit, attitudes,

Standardized versions o f Jung's procedures,

beliefs, and other mental states relevant to

accompanied by rudimentary

social interaction (for alternative coverage o f

quickly developed (Kent & Rosanoff, 1 9 1 0 ;

this material, see Fazio &




1918/1969). norms, were


Rapaport, Gill, & Schafer, 1 9 6 8 ; Rapaport,

Although there is some overlap between these

Schafer, & Gill, 1 9 4 4 - 1 9 4 6 ) ; these in turn led

"implicit" methods and those generally called

to the development o f word-association norms

"unobtrusive," there is an important concep-

for purposes o f research with normal individu-

tual distinction. Unobtrusive methods


als (e.g., Russell & Jenkins, 1 9 5 4 ) . A number

used to assess attitudes, beliefs, and values o f

of other techniques were soon added (Lindzey,

which people are aware, but that they may be

1 9 5 9 ) , including the Rorschach Inkblot Test,

unwilling to reveal to the investigator. By con-

the Thematic Apperception Test ( T A T ) (see

trast, implicit methods are used to assess atti-

King, Chapter 8, this volume), and the Draw-

tudes, beliefs, and values o f which people are

a-Person Test. Even the Wechsler-Bellevue

unaware. This creates additional methodolog-

Intelligence Scale (WBIS), forerunner to the

ical problems for the investigator.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and perhaps

Implicit Methods

in Social


the prototypical example o f a performance-

proved to have some validity, there is no

based test o f cognitive ability, was co-opted for

evidence that the scores in question actually

the purposes o f projective personality assess-

represented a subject's unconscious


ment, both in the clinic (Rapaport, Gill, et al.,




literature promoting the T A T as a measure

and by the United States Central

Intelligence Agency (Bern, 1 9 8 3 ; M a r k s , 1 9 7 9 ;


Consider, for e x a m p l e , the





(McClelland, Koestner, & Weinberger, 1 9 8 9 ) .

M a r k s & Greenfield, 1 9 8 4 a , 1 9 8 4 b ) . All o f this w o r k was predicated on the pro-

T h e low correlation between T A T and ques-

1939a, 1948;

tionnaire measures o f achievement motivation

Rapaport, 1 9 4 2 ) , in which the subject is given

is often interpreted as a reflection o f the inde-




the opportunity "to reveal his way o f organiz-

pendence of unconscious and conscious moti-

ing experience by giving him a field (objects,

vation, but it could simply mean that T A T

materials, experiences) with relatively little

measures lack convergent validity. Similarly,

structure and cultural patterning, so that the

the fact that implicit and explicit measures o f

personality can project upon that plastic field

motivation predict different classes of behavior

his way o f seeing life, his meanings, signifi-

is often taken as evidence o f a pattern of dis-

cances, patterns, and especially his feelings"

criminant validity, but the same pattern o f cor-

(Frank, 1 9 3 9 b , p. 4 0 3 ) . Although the use o f

relations could be interpreted as a result o f

projective techniques does not necessarily

method variance. If the T A T , R o r s c h a c h

mean that the affects, drives, and other mental

(Bornstein, 2 0 0 1 ) , and other projective meth-

states revealed by the test are unconscious,

ods are to acquire the status o f "implicit"

that is the general assumption behind their

methods, more is needed than evidence for

use. As Rapaport, Gill, et al. wrote:

their reliability, validity, and utility. W h a t is needed is convincing evidence that they tap mental states.

The use of projective tests assumes that the examiner is after something in the subject about which the subject does not know or is unable to communicate; otherwise the examiner would ask him about it directly. . . . By means of projective tests we discover tremendous aggressions in persons who appear meek, or great dependent needs in suspicious and manly-appearing [sic] persons who deny having any such inclinations. If taken seriously, these tests therefore refer to unconscious motivation of action and behavior, and necessitate a personality theory that assumes the existence of, and accounts for, these motivations. (Rapaport, Gill, et a l , 1968, pp. 227-228)


Despite their continued popularity among

she thinks and does in the real world outside

many clinical psychologists, it is now generally

the testing situation. In such tests, face validity


is very high. Other tests, however, assume no

The Subtle and the Obvious Running parallel with the psychodynamic literature on projective techniques, some hint of the unconscious also can be found in the and signs,

distinctions between samples between subtle and obvious


items, in the psy-

chometric literature on objective tests of personality.





questionnaires assume, at least tacitly, that the test items represent samples

o f the respon-

dent's actual behavior—that is, that there is some degree o f isomorphism between the person's performance on the test and what he or

that projective techniques



such isomorphism. From this point o f view,

(Lilienfeld, W o o d , & Garb, 2 0 0 1 ) . Even in the

test items are intrinsically interesting units o f

few instances where projective techniques

behavior that are signs

not satisfactory psychometric

o f some underlying


DESIGN AND ANALYSIS disposition. T h e original versions o f the

will not see through them, and thus will be

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

tricked into self-disclosure. Similarly, at least

( M M P I ) and

in principle, subtle items might be useful with


its " n o r m a l "


Psychological Inventory








were both constructed under the sign assump-

ted toward

self-disclosure but are simply

tion. As a result, they contain many "subtle"

unaware o f their traits and other mental char-

scale items that lack face validity, even though

acteristics. However, it appears that personal-

they correlate with some empirical criterion

ity tests are disguised in this way at the

(Goldberg & Slovic, 1 9 6 7 ; Seeman, 1 9 5 2 ) .

expense o f validity (Mischel, 1 9 6 8 , 1 9 7 2 ) . O f

Ironically, then, the prototypical "objective"

course, the reply to this weak evidence for the

tests o f personality make the same assumption

empirical validity o f subtle

as do the Rorschach and other projective tech-

items might be the same as for the T A T : that


niques—that test responses are signs o f under-

subtle items, reflecting unconscious tenden-

lying dispositions, not samples of behavior

cies, should not be expected to correlate with obvious items that reflect conscious aware-

(Meehl, 1 9 4 5 ) . The preference for empirically valid signs

ness, and that as such, subtle items might pre-

over face-valid samples reached its apex in

dict different criteria than do obvious items.

Berg's deviation

which held that

However, there is no evidence for the dis-

even preferences for random drawings could

criminant validity o f subtle versus obvious

be used as personality scale items, so long as

items. Nor—and this is the central point—is

people with different dispositions expressed

there any evidence that subtle items tap traits,

different preferences (Berg, 1 9 5 5 ) . In fact,

attitudes, and the like o f which the subject is


however, most empirically derived personality

unaware. T h e first lesson o f 1 0 0 years o f per-

scales (including those o f the M M P I and CPI)

sonality assessment is this: If you want to

contain a m i x of face-valid items that are obvi-

k n o w what people can tell you, you should

ously related to the substantive domain under

ask them. I f you want to k n o w what people 1

consideration, and "subtle" items that do not


tell you, unfortunately, subtle ques-

appear to relate to the domain. Although an

tionnaire items, like projective techniques,

early analysis by Seeman found that subtle and

would appear to be risky choices for the

obvious items were equally good predictors

assessment o f unconscious mental states.

of criterion behavior (Seeman, 1 9 5 2 ) , later studies found performed

that obvious M M P I


better than subtle items (Duff,


1 9 6 5 ; Goldberg &c Slovic, 1 9 6 7 ) . In addition, a study by Hase and Goldberg ( 1 9 6 7 ) showed

If not projective tests, or inventories o f subtle

that questionnaires constructed by "rational"

items, then what? One answer to this question

means, such that each scale item possessed

is provided by research in implicit memory

face validity, performed better than question-

(Schacter, 1 9 8 7 ) . Neurological patients with

naires constructed by "empirical" means

bilateral lesions to the hippocampus and asso-

that resulted in a m i x of obvious and subtle

ciated structures in the medial temporal lobe

items (see also Ashton &

characteristically are unable to remember the

Goldberg, 1 9 7 3 ;

Jackson, 1 9 7 5 ) . Scales consisting entirely o f subtle items

events and experiences that have transpired since


onset o f their



have been advocated in some corners on the

However, it is n o w known that this antero-

ground that subjects w h o approach personal-

grade amnesia affects only conscious recollec-

ity questionnaires with a defensive attitude

tion. W h e n patients are tested with techniques

Implicit Methods

in Social Psychology


that do not require conscious recollection,

Kihlstrom, Barnhardt, &

they typically show that some traces o f post-



morbid experience have been encoded, remain



in storage, and interact with ongoing experi-

Shames, & Dorfman, 1 9 9 6 ) , learning (Kihl-

ence, thought, and action—albeit outside con-

strom, 1 9 9 6 ; Reber, 1 9 6 7 ) , emotion (Berridge

scious awareness. T o take a familiar example,

& W i n k i e l m a n , 2 0 0 3 ; Kihlstrom, Mulvaney,

patients w h o have studied a list of words often

Tobias, &

show various priming

effects, as on tests o f

word-stem and word-fragment

problem Kihlstrom,





1 9 9 6 ; Kihlstrom,

T o b i s , 2 0 0 0 ) ; and


(Kihlstrom, Mulvaney, et al., 2 0 0 0 ; McClelland


et al., 1 9 8 9 ) . Along the same lines, it should be

perceptual identification and lexical decision,

possible to use priming as a measure of the sorts

and free association or category generation—

of implicit, unconscious attitudes, beliefs, and

even though they cannot recall or recognize

values of interest to social psychologists. In a

the items they studied. Because the list items

sense, deriving measures of individual beliefs,

are not accessible to conscious recollection,

attitudes, feelings, values, and motives repre-

priming evidently is an effect o f

sents a revival of Jung's ( 1 9 1 8 / 1 9 6 9 ) use of


memory. T h e dissociation between explicit

response latencies on a word-association test as

and implicit memory also can be observed in

a "complex-indicator."

neurologically intact subjects w h o are not particularly amnesic, as when explicit memory is affected by an experimental manipulation, such as level o f processing, that has little or no effect on implicit memory.

The Importance of Matching Tasks In all o f this, it is critical that explicit and implicit expressions o f memory be assessed

These two examples, taken together, give






us the definition o f implicit memory as uncon-

example, an experiment in which explicit

scious memory: In the amnesic patients, prim-

memory is assessed with free recall but

o f conscious

implicit memory is assessed with priming on

ing occurs in the absence

recollection; in the normal subjects, priming

stem completion. Such an experiment might

occurs independently

o f conscious recollec-

well find that more target items are produced

tion. N o t e that the mere fact that a subject

on the priming task than on the free recall

completes the stem mar

task, but this would not be evidence o f a dis-



is not enough to qualify a

sociation between explicit and implicit mem-

behavior as an implicit or unconscious expres-

ory. T h e reason is that stem completion is a

sion o f memory. T h e word market,

variant on cued recall, in that the stem serves

rather than marble

or at least

some item plausibly related to it, has to have

as a cue for recall o f the whole word, and it is

been on the study list—if not, there is n o sense

well known that cued recall typically is supe-

in talking about memory. But note, t o o , that

rior to free recall. T h e same consideration

the mere fact o f priming is not sufficient to

would apply to a comparison o f free recall

permit discussion o f unconscious


with priming on perceptual


Priming occurs in nonamnesic controls, and

Perceptual identification is a variant on recog-

for deeply processed items as well. T o qualify

nition, in that the entire study item is re-

as unconscious, priming has to occur in the

presented on the memory test, and it is well


of, or independently

of, conscious


known that recognition is superior to recall. In psychometric terms, then, recognition is

The implicit-explicit distinction in memory

an "easier" test o f memory than cued recall,

can be extended to other domains as well,

which in turn is an "easier" test o f memory


than free recall. And in statistical terms,






DESIGN AND ANALYSIS is just neuropsychological

Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale (MAS) but high

jargon for statistical interaction: Dissociations

levels o f defensiveness on the M a r l o w e -

occur when one variable, such as population

Crowne Social Desirability Scale (SDS). In

(e.g., amnesic vs. nonamnesic) or experimental

other words, they reported low levels o f dis-

manipulation (e.g., level o f processing), inter-

tress, but their high levels of social desirability


acts with another variable (e.g., explicit vs.

suggested that they might be repressing distress

implicit test) to affect performance. It is well

that they were actually experiencing uncon-

known that spurious interactions can occur as

sciously. O t h e r groups showing

artifacts of task difficulty (e.g., Chapman &

patterns o f M A S and SDS scores, such as non-


Chapman, 1 9 7 3 , 2 0 0 1 ) . Accordingly, in any

defensive nonanxious (low M A S , low SDS)

study o f dissociations between explicit and

and nondefensive anxious (high M A S , low

implicit measures, it is important that the

SDS) subjects, served as comparison subjects

tasks be matched as closely as possible on


relevant psychometric characteristics.

Mulvaney, Kihlstrom, Figueredo, & Schwartz,

alternative classification schemes, see

clinch the case for a dissociation

1 9 9 2 ; Weinberger & Schwartz, 1 9 9 0 ) . In the

between explicit and implicit memory, we

experiment, Weinberger et al. asked their sub-


must show not just that implicit memory

jects to read phrases with sexual and aggressive

occurs in the absence of, or independently of,

content. Despite their general denial o f distress,

explicit memory. W e must also show that the

"repressors" showed increased response laten-

cues available to the subject remain constant

cies and

across tasks. Thus, the appropriate explicit

response during the task (see also Asendorf &

comparison for stem completion is stem-cued

Scherer, 1 9 8 3 ) . Weinberger et al. concluded

elevated levels o f physiological

recall. In stem-cued recall, the subject is asked

that the "repressors" were repressing after all:

to fill in a stem with an item from a previously

Although they denied being in distress, they

studied word list, thus requiring conscious rec-

clearly were disturbed by what they were

ollection; in stem completion, the subject is

asked to read. Put another way, repressive style

asked to fill in the stem with any appropriate

entails a dissociation between explicit and

word, thus obviating conscious recollection.

implicit expressions of anxiety (Kihlstrom,

Similarly, the appropriate explicit comparison

Mulvaney, et al., 2 0 0 0 ) — a t least in principle.

for perceptual identification is recognition. In

The Weinberger et al. ( 1 9 7 9 ) study is very

recognition, the subject is presented with a

provocative and deserves its status as a minor

copy o f a previously studied word and asked

classic in the experimental study o f psychody-

whether it was on a previously studied word

namics and defense, but it is not definitive evi-

list; in perceptual identification, the subject is

dence o f unconscious emotion. Setting aside

presented with the word and asked to identify

the question o f whether repressors really were

what it is. In the best comparisons, different

repressing anxiety or instead merely denying

items are tested explicitly and implicitly, so

felt distress to the investigators, the study did

that performance on one test does not contam-

not properly test for the dissociation between

inate performance on the other.

explicit and implicit emotion. For such a test

The importance o f test matching is illus-

to be valid, the cues presented to the subject

trated by a classic experiment on "repression"

would have to be the same for both explicit

performed by Weinberger and his colleagues

and implicit conditions. F o r example, subjects

(Weinberger, Schwartz, & Davidson, 1 9 7 9 ) .

might have to rate their emotional response to

In this experiment, the investigators were inter-

each phrase in the explicit condition, and rate

ested in a group o f subjects, labeled


the difficulty o f reading the phrase in the

w h o reported low levels of trait anxiety on the

implicit condition. But in the Weinberger

Implicit Methods

in Social Psychology


et al. experiment, the "explicit" measure was

experiment, subjects were presented with pairs

reports o f generalized distress on the M A S ,

of letter strings and were asked to judge sim-

whereas the "implicit" measure was behav-

ply whether both were words. O n some trials,

ioral or physiological response to specific

the first word was black or white, and the sec-

sexual and aggressive phrases. There was n o

ond word was associated with the racial

assessment o f explicit emotional response to

stereotypes o f whites or blacks, such as smart

the phrases, so in the final analysis we don't

or lazy. In such a situation, the first word can

k n o w whether the "repressors" were repress-

be considered as a prime for processing the

ing anything at all. T o validate the concept o f

second word. N o t e that the subject's task

repression, we need evidence o f a dissociation

had nothing to do with social judgment.

between explicit and implicit measures o f

Nevertheless, white subjects responded more

emotional response to the same stimulus. T o

quickly when the stimulus paired a positive

validate the concept o f "repressive style" as

word such as smart with the prime white than

an individual-difference, we need evidence

when it was paired with the prime black; there

that this dissociation is greater in individuals

was no difference with negative words such as

identified as repressors, as opposed to nonde-

lazy. Wittenbrink and colleagues, in a similar

fensive subjects w h o truly are high or low in

study, found that white primed lexical deci-


sions concerning positive trait terms, whereas black

lexical decisions concerning

negative characteristics (Wittenbrink, Judd, &

Priming as a Measure of Implicit Attitudes

Park, 1 9 9 7 ) . Similarly, Blair and Banaji had subjects make lexical decisions about words

O f course, the Weinberger et al. study o f repression was performed before the criteria for explicit-implicit dissociations had been formulated, but the lesson holds. M o r e recently, Banaji and Greenwald applied the explicitimplicit distinction to the central social psychological concept o f attitude and other constructs, such as stereotypes and prejudice (Banaji & Greenwald,


1 9 9 4 ; Blair,

2 0 0 1 ; Brauer,

Wasel, &C Niedenthal, 2 0 0 0 ; Greenwald & Banaji, 1 9 9 5 ; Greenwald, Banaji,


et al., 2 0 0 2 ; see also Wilson, Lindsey,


Schooler, 2 0 0 0 ) . Although social psychology traditionally has assumed that people

such as doctor and nurse that were primed by male or female first names, such as Jack or Jill (Blair &c Banaji, 1 9 9 6 ) . T h e general finding o f their research was that response latencies were shorter when there was a congruence between the gender o f the name and the gender-role connotations o f the word, as in vs. Jill-doctor.


O n the basis o f results such as

these, we might conclude that the lexical decision task reveals people's implicit, or unconscious,





gender. Another





implicit attitudes is represented by a series o f

aware o f their attitudes, these authors have

studies by Banaji and her colleagues o f the

suggested that people may possess positive

"false fame" effect documented by J a c o b y

and negative implicit

about them-

(Jacoby, Kelley, Brown, & Jasechko, 1 9 8 9 ;

selves and other people, attitudes that can

J a c o b y , Woloshyn, & Kelley, 1 9 8 9 ) . J a c o b y


affect ongoing social behavior outside o f con-

has interpreted this effect in terms o f priming:

scious awareness.

Priming increases familiarity, which is incor-

An early example o f the use o f priming to

rectly interpreted as evidence o f fame. In their

study implicit attitudes is research by Gaertner

experiments, Banaji and Greenwald adapted



Jacoby's procedure by dividing the study and

McLaughlin, 1 9 8 3 ) . In this

test lists into equal numbers o f male and


(Gaertner &





female names (Banaji & Greenwald, 1 9 9 5 ) .

with respect to the belief or attitude in question.

They found that the false fame effect was

A finding that whites, but not blacks, are more

greater for male than for female names, and a

likely to associate whiteness with smartness,

signal-detection analysis indicated that sub-

and that males, but not females, were more

jects adopted a lower criterion for judging

likely to associate maleness with fame, might

male names as famous than they did for

well support the attribution o f subjects' exper-

female names. Because the average subject

imental behavior to their social

was more likely to associate fame with males

rather than the structure o f the society in

than with females, Greenwald and



which they live. O f course, it could also hap-

concluded that the paradigm of false fame

pen that blacks and women adopt prevailing

provided evidence for "implicit gender stereo-

social stereotypes concerning race and gender,

types that associate male gender, more than


female gender, with achievement" (Greenwald

would at least provide some converging evi-

& Banaji, 1 9 9 5 , p. 1 6 ) .

dence that priming was a measure o f individuals'

Critique of Priming By this point in time, a fairly large number

an in-group


vs. out-group

social attitudes




something more generic, such as their abstract knowledge o f stereotypes and prejudice found in their society.

of such studies have been published, too many

M o r e important in the present context,

to be reviewed comprehensively in this chapter

most ostensible studies of implicit social cog-


comprehensive coverage, see Fazio &

nition either fail to make a comparison with

Olson, 2 0 0 3 ) . However, before we interpret

an explicit measure o f the same attitude or

such studies as providing evidence o f uncon-

employ an explicit measure that is inadequate

scious racism and sexism on the part o f sub-

to the task. F r o m the point o f view o f implicit

jects, a few questions need to be addressed.

social cognition, it is not interesting if subjects

First, it is not entirely clear that the perfor-

betray, by their performance in a priming

mance o f subjects in these sorts o f experiments

task, attitudes,

is indicative of their personal attitudes, as

that they are fully aware o f harboring. Priming

opposed to the structure o f the social environ-

effects that are congruent with a subject's con-

stereotypes, and


ment. For example, perhaps doctors really are

scious beliefs and attitudes may well be inter-

more likely to be named J a c k and nurses more

esting unobtrusive or nonreactive measures,

likely to be named Jill; and given the hegemony

but more is required to make the inference

of the patriarchy, it may well be that an unfa-

that people's unconscious attitudes, beliefs,

miliar male is more famous (at least in some

and values actually are different from their

quarters) than an unfamiliar female. And

conscious ones. In addition to the indirect

although whites are no smarter than blacks,

assessment o f implicit attitudes, beliefs, and

and blacks are no lazier than whites, it may be

values, there must be a comparative direct

that the subjects' behavior was influenced by

assessment o f their explicit counterparts, and

their knowledge o f this common social stereo-

the correlation between explicit and implicit

type, rather than their personal endorsement of

measures o f the same attitude must be low—

it. This is especially a problem because the

certainly nonsignificant, preferably zero.

experimental task does not require subjects to

M a n y studies simply fail to provide this

make statements about themselves, but only to

sort o f comparison, in which case they stand

make judgments about language. Moreover, many studies o f implicit social

as little m o r e




attitudes, beliefs, and values can be displayed

cognition fail to test for differences between

in priming effects. W h e n studies do provide

in-groups and out-groups, or other stakeholders

this comparison, they often give contradictory

Implicit Methods results.





in Social Psychology

skewed, sometimes highly so, and



McLaughlin ( 1 9 8 3 ) found that implicit racial

characterized by substantial

stereotyping occurred regardless o f subjects'

variability, requiring large numbers o f trials to

scores on a questionnaire measure of racial

achieve satisfactory levels o f reliability.

prejudice, whereas Wittenbrink e t a l . ( 1 9 9 7 ) found

many positive correlations between


These considerations underscore the point that the study o f implicit attitudes, beliefs,

explicit and implicit measures. As it happens,

and values described in this chapter reverses

the Gaertner and McLaughlin ( 1 9 8 3 )

the role o f priming in experiments, from that


Wittenbrink e t a l . ( 1 9 9 7 ) studies used differ-

of dependent


to that o f


ent questionnaires to assess implicit racial


prejudice, but perhaps the most

ing not merely as a expression o f attitudes,


T h a t is to say, we wish to use prim-

problem is that they used questionnaires at all.

beliefs, and values that are already known

As noted earlier, the most compelling demon-

from people's responses on paper-and-pencil

strations o f the dissociation between explicit

questionnaires, but as an alternative measure

and implicit memory are provided by studies

of these attitudes, beliefs, and values that will

in which the stimuli presented to the subjects

predict people's behavior in a way that their

are the same, but the task demands are differ-

self-reports will not. T h e two roles may w o r k

ent. In memory studies, the explicit task refers

at cross-purposes. In experimental

to a past event, whereas the implicit task does

where the goal is t o determine h o w minds

not. Following this example, future attempts

w o r k in general, the best dependent variables


to use priming tasks to demonstrate a dissoci-

are those that show relatively little between-

ation between explicit and implicit attitudes,

subjects variance. In

beliefs, and values should keep the stimuli pre-

work, where the goal is to predict what dif-

sented to the subject constant, and


ferent people will do in a particular situation,

whether the experimental task refers expressly

the best independent variables are those that

to the subject's mental state.

show relatively wide dispersion across the


A final problem is that although implicit

population. T o the extent that response laten-

attitudes, beliefs, and values should function

cies measure h o w minds w o r k in general,

as individual difference variables, they are not

rather than h o w particular individual minds

always treated as such. In the Gaertner and

work, they may simply not present enough

McLaughlin ( 1 9 8 3 ) study, for example, prim-

variance to make them useful measures o f

ing scores were the dependent variables in an

individual differences.

experiment in which individual differences in racial prejudice served as a blocking variable in an analysis of variance design, and there


was no attempt to take account o f individual


differences in priming. In the Wittenbrink e t a l . ( 1 9 9 7 ) study, by contrast, both explicit

Although priming studies o f implicit social


cognition remain popular, Greenwald and his

implicit measures o f prejudice

construed as individual-difference



colleagues recently have introduced another

entered into a multivariate analysis. Historic-


ally, o f course, social psychologists have been

(IAT), for the measurement o f implicit atti-

allergic to individual




the Implicit Association Test





1 9 7 3 ; Cronbach, 1 9 5 7 ) , but it may also be

M c G h e e , & Schwartz, 1 9 9 8 ) . Based on the

that priming scores are not well suited to being

general principle o f stimulus-response com-

treated as individual-difference measures. For

patibility (DeHouwer, 2 0 0 1 ) , the I A T requires

example, their distributions

subjects to make a series o f dichotomous






DESIGN AND ANALYSIS judgments about instances o f various concepts,

people's racial or ethnic prejudices, but also

such as black and white American names (e.g.,

that it reveals prejudices o f which the subjects

Alonzo or Adam, Amanda or Aiesha) and pos-

themselves are unaware.

itive and negative words (e.g., caress or abuse, or crash). These responses are made


by pressing different keys on a keyboard or button b o x . W h e n the two concept sets are combined, Greenwald and

his colleagues

The IAT as a Psychometric Device Since its formal introduction in 1 9 9 8 , the I A T has become extremely popular

as a

found that response latencies are faster when


associated concepts share a response key, com-

beliefs, and values in a number o f domains. A

pared to when they do not. Accordingly, in the

search o f the PsycINFO database (keyword:

for measuring



example cited, the observation o f faster laten-

" I A T " ) identified at least eight studies using

cies when a subject has to make the same

the I A T published in 1 9 9 9 and 2 0 0 0 , and as

response to white names and positive words,

many as 2 0 published in 2 0 0 1 alone. Given

compared to white names and negative words,

the inevitable delays o f the scholarly publica-

reveals an implicit association between white

tion process, this record o f adoption is quite

and positivity. By the same token, observation

remarkable. O f particular interest is a multi-

of faster latencies when a subject has to make

method psychometric study comparing three

the same response to black names and positive

implicit measures o f racial prejudice, includ-

words, compared to black names and negative

ing a priming procedure and two versions Qf

words, reveals an implicit association between

the I A T , in which all tests were completed in

black and positivity.

each o f four testing sessions separated by two

Using this procedure, Greenwald, M c G h e e ,



Preacher, &


e t a l . ( 1 9 9 8 ) showed that subjects implicitly

2 0 0 1 ) . Treating each individual trial as if it

associate flowers with pleasantness and insects

were an item on a test, the two versions o f the

(Experiment 1 ) ; that

I A T yielded acceptable if not outstanding esti-

Korean subjects implicitly associate Korean

mates o f internal consistency, perhaps reflect-

names with pleasantness and Japanese names

ing the inherent instability o f response latency



with unpleasantness, and that Japanese sub-

measures noted earlier—as well as the fact

jects do the opposite (Experiment 2 ) ; and that

that I A T measures o f prejudice are calculated



as difference scores. R a w test-retest correla-

names with pleasantness and black names

tions for the I A T were relatively low, but after

subjects implicitly associate

with unpleasantness. In the latter two experi-

correction for measurement error these rose

ments, the I A T proved to be more sensitive to

considerably. And although the bivariate cor-

individual differences in ethnic or racial preju-

relations among the implicit measures were

dice (or, if you will, more discriminating) than

quite low, first- and second-order confirma-

explicit measures such as the feeling ther-

tory factor analyses revealed

mometer or the semantic differential (see also

convergence among them. Although

Greenwald & Farnham, 2 0 0 0 ) . In the Korean-

findings still must be confirmed in other

substantial these

Japanese study, the I A T correlated signifi-

domains, taken together they suggest that the

cantly with the feeling thermometer but not

I A T is a promising psychometric instrument

with the semantic differential. In the black-

for the evaluation o f implicit social attitudes,


beliefs, and values.







questionnaire measures o f racist

However, if utility (or efficiency) of mea-

beliefs, the correlations were uniformly non-

surement is considered as an important prop-

significant. T a k e n together, these


erty o f a psychometric device (Mischel, 1 9 6 8 ) ,

suggest not only that the I A T can measure

it is not clear that the I A T is superior to a

Implicit Methods

in Social Psychology


standard priming procedure. In the Cunningham

such as buffering (Greenwald 8c Farnham,

et al. (2001) study, the two versions of the I A T

2 0 0 0 ) . In fact, the implicit measure o f self-

correlated .30 and . 4 8 , respectively, with the

esteem was somewhat more strongly predic-

Modern Racism Scale, while the corresponding

tive of buffering than the explicit measures

correlation for the priming procedure was only


.26. By any reasonable standard, a priming pro-

Rudman, et al. ( 2 0 0 2 ) have shown that the

cedure is easier to construct, administer, and

I A T gives m o r e satisfactory results

interpret than the IAT. If a low correlation with

explicit measures such as an attitude ther-

explicit measures is a desirable characteristic of

mometer or standard questionnaires, when

an implicit measure (and it must be desirable, if

compared against the predictions o f a variant

the implicit measure is to be truly implicit), then

on Heider's ( 1 9 4 6 ) balance theory.



Banaji, than

this status is achieved far more economically by a standard priming procedure than by the IAT. O f course, for any psychometric procedure

Critique of the IAT

there are always trade-offs between reliability

M o r e studies o f this sort are needed, espe-

and validity of measurement, on one hand, and

cially in light o f the fact that responses on the

utility, on the other. Investigators may be will-

I A T , and perhaps measures o f priming as

ing to sacrifice some utility in the service of

well, are subject to the influence o f a number

increased reliability and validity. Further com-

o f nuisance variables. F o r example, in their

parative studies probably are in order.

original paper, Greenwald, M c G h e e , et al.

O f course, these psychometric analyses are


noted that

response latencies are

purely internal. W h a t about the relation with

affected by differences in the familiarity o f the

external factors? T o establish their validity, all

stimuli to which subjects respond, as well as

psychological tests, like the constructs they

by differences in evaluation. M o r e recently,

purport to measure, must relate in signifi-


cant ways to reasonable external criteria

argued that I A T indices o f anti-black atti-





(Cronbach & Meehl, 1 9 5 5 ; Loevinger, 1 9 5 7 ) .

tudes could be obtained not only from sub-

One very interesting finding is that I A T mea-

jects w h o actually held negative


sures o f bias and prejudice toward an out-

toward blacks but also from subjects w h o

group occur even following a minimal group

held neutral



blacks, so long as they were less favorable

Monteith, 2 0 0 1 ) . In successive experiments,

than their attitudes toward whites. Preferring

the I A T revealed prejudice by white American

white over black names is not necessarily evi-

subjects against names ostensibly associated

dence o f racism: It may be n o different from



or positive attitudes


with Surinam (a real but unfamiliar country),

any other forced " c h o i c e " between two posi-

Marisat (a nonexistent country), and members


of artificial groups (Quans and Xanthies) cre-

Stravinsky over Schoenberg or tiramisu over

ated by random assignment. Such a finding


strengthens the inference that the I A T really

( 2 0 0 1 ) showed through computational mod-




M o r e important,



Brendl et al.

measures prejudice after all. Another supportive

eling that "evidence" o f prejudice on the I A T

finding is that I A T measures o f anti-black

could emerge not only from differences in

prejudice predict the quality o f white subjects'

familiarity o f the targets being evaluated, as

actual behavioral interactions (e.g., body

Greenwald, M c G h e e , et al. ( 1 9 9 8 ) had also

openness, eye contact, and friendly laughter)

suggested, but also from differences in task

with black targets (McConnell 8c Leibold,

difficulty, which can induce subjects to shift

2 0 0 1 ) . Similarly, I A T measures o f self-esteem

their response criterion between the response-

predicted subjects' response to task failure,

compatible and response-incompatible blocks



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS of the I A T procedure. Differences in target

analysis o f four data sets collected over the

familiarity can be controlled for, at least in

Internet yielded implicit-explicit correlations

principle; but because response-incompatible

ranging from . 1 7 4 to . 7 7 5 , and

judgments are inherently more difficult than


response-compatible ones, this problem will

Banaji, 2 0 0 2 , Tables 2 - 6 and p. 2 0 ) .

remain. Brendl et al. remind us that although


.43 (Greenwald, Nosek, 8c

Like Greenwald, Cunningham et al. ( 2 0 0 1 )

prejudice (conscious or not) may well pro-


duce an effect on the I A T (or, indeed, on any

relationship was weaker than the individual


involving response latencies), an

relations among the implicit-implicit relation-

effect on the I A T or similar measure may not

ships, but the fact remains that the implicit-





indicate prejudice, for the simple reason that

explicit relationship was far from trivial in

such an effect may have multiple causes, such

magnitude. In all these studies, explicit and

as target familiarity or task difficulty, that

implicit attitudes were dissociated in the weak

have nothing to do with prejudice.

sense o f not being highly correlated (no corre-

T h e question o f whether the I A T actually

lation is perfect), but not in the strong sense o f

assesses people's attitudes and beliefs raises

being entirely unrelated. In a sense, the ques-

the critical and thorny question o f whether

tion is whether the glass is half empty or half

the attitudes and beliefs revealed by the I A T

full, and it risks reviving one of the less savory

really are unconscious—that is, whether sub-

aspects o f the trait-situation

jects' responses on the I A T can be predicted

bedeviled the psychology of personality in the



by measures o f their corresponding explicit

1 9 7 0 s and early 1 9 8 0 s : W h o s e correlations

attitudes and beliefs. In this regard, the evi-

are bigger? It should be understood, first, that

dence remains mixed. In their original paper,

the explicit measures used in these studies

Greenwald, M c G h e e , et al. ( 1 9 9 8 ) reported

are various forms of questionnaires and self-

that the average correlation between explicit

ratings, and the I A T is first and foremost a

and implicit measures o f the same construct

behavioral measure o f human performance.

(r = . 2 5 ) was lower than the average correla-

Correlations between these two classes o f

tions among explicit measures (r = . 6 0 ) , but

measures are notoriously (and, still, contro-

the implicit-explicit correlations were still

versially) low. T h e explicit-implicit correla-

numerically positive. Similar findings were

tions obtained by Greenwald, M c G h e e , et al.

obtained by Greenwald and Farnham ( 2 0 0 0 )

( 1 9 9 8 ) , for example, were well in line with the

in a comparison o f explicit and implicit self-

typical correlation between

esteem. In the Cunningham


measures o f traits and attitudes, on one hand,

study, a first-order confirmatory factor anal-

and actual attitude-relevant behavior on the

ysis revealed significant relations between all

other (Sherman 8c Fazio, 1 9 8 3 ) . In a recent

et al.

three implicit measures of racism and



report on the psychometric characteristics of

explicit measure, and in fact the two paths

their instrument,

involving the I A T were stronger than the path

( 2 0 0 2 ) clearly state that "superior I A T mea-

Greenwald, Nosek, e t a l .

involving the priming-based measure. In a

sures should yield higher values for these

second-order analysis, in which the three tests

[implicit-explicit] correlations" (p. 5) and that

were considered to converge on a single latent

"even the smallest positive implicit-explicit

variable, the association between implicit and

correlations appear to demand an interpreta-

explicit prejudice remained strong. Another

tion in terms of construct overlap" (p. 2 0 ) .

study o f racial attitudes found that the I A T

Given that truly implicit measures o f attitude

was correlated significantly with an explicit






o f racial


8c Leibold, 2 0 0 1 ) . A


belief should

be dissociated—that


their explicit counter-

parts, it seems clear that Greenwald, Banaji,

Implicit Methods

in Social Psychology


and their colleagues tend to view the I A T as an

linking cognition to actual social behavior that


is the core o f social psychology.

measure o f subjects'


beliefs, and values, not as a measure o f truly

Nevertheless, if genuine progress is to be made, investigators need to distinguish among

unconscious mental states. In the final analysis, the issue o f the implicit-

three quite different topics: unobtrusive, non-

explicit relationship can be settled only by

reactive methods

employing measures


beliefs, and values; the automatic generation

beliefs, and values that are comparable to our

of these mental states, whether conscious or

measures o f their implicit


unconscious; and truly implicit, unconscious,

whether the implicit measures are provided by

attitudes, beliefs, and values. T h e relations

the I A T , priming, a psychophysiological mea-


sure, or something else. Only when sources of

Presumably, unobtrusive measures are used to

method variance are minimized, if not elimi-

reveal attitudes, beliefs, and values o f which

nated, can we hope to determine the true rela-

the person is consciously aware, but unwilling

tion between explicit and implicit measures o f

to disclose to others. Automatic processes may

o f explicit

o f measuring

these are s o m e w h a t



social attitudes, beliefs, and values. It is not at

unconsciously activate attitudes, beliefs, and

all clear that the solution to this problem will

values, but these mental states themselves are

be as straightforward

not necessarily unconscious. Implicit attitudes,

for implicit attitudes,

beliefs, and values as it was for implicit

beliefs, and values may well affect a person's

memories, but the ambiguity o f the current

conscious experience, thought, or action, but

situation calls out for some determined effort

these mental states are, by definition,

to resolve it.

accessible to conscious awareness. If we are


interested in the truly unconscious determinants o f social behavior, we cannot be satisTHE UNOBTRUSIVE, THE AUTOMATIC, T H E IMPLICIT—AND THE PSYCHOLOGIST'S FALLACY Based on the model o f implicit memory, an increasing number of investigators are coming to take seriously the proposition that unconscious attitudes, beliefs, and values can influ-









or even with


demonstration that certain attitudes, beliefs, and values are generated automatically. W e must also demonstrate that these mental states are unconscious, in the sense that they can be dissociated from, and are not predicted by, their explicit counterparts.

ence people's social interactions. O f course,

Herein lies the problem: W h a t do we take

such an idea was central to psychoanalytic the-

as evidence for an unconscious mental state?

ory, but the connection to modern cognitive

Long ago, William James noted that


psychology frees the idea o f unconscious



influence from its Freudian death grip. N o w ,

believing what one likes in psychology, and of

when social psychologists talk o f the uncon-

turning what might become a science into

"is the sovereign means

scious, they use the same concepts and meth-

a tumbling-ground

ods as their cognitive colleagues—at least in

1 8 9 0 / 1 9 8 0 , p. 1 6 3 ) . J a m e s also cautioned psy-

for whimsies


principle. This line of inquiry is still in its

chologists against the psychologist's

infancy, or perhaps the toddler stage (though

which he defined as "the confusion o f his own


we can hope it will avoid the Terrible T w o s

standpoint with that of the mental fact about

and the White Food Stage), and it is extremely

which he is making

promising—not least because it links the inter-

1 8 9 0 / 1 9 8 0 , p. 1 9 6 ) . T h e psychologist's fal-

his report"


est in unconscious processes clearly present

lacy, in which we assume not only that every

in cognitive psychology with the interest in

event has a psychological explanation, but



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS also that our psychological explanation is the

they should not correlate with their explicit

correct one, is hard enough to resist with

counterparts. In fact, we want the correla-

mental states, as

tions between explicit and implicit measures

when we infer people's attitudes, beliefs, and

to be as close t o zero as possible, and to be

values from their behavior. But it is particu-

reassured that the low correlations are not

larly vicious with respect to people's

procedural or statistical artifacts.

respect to people's conscious


mental states, when they are in no

In such a situation, the validity o f tests o f

position to authoritatively correct our infer-

implicit attitudes, beliefs, and values will rest


ences. Psychoanalysts and some other insight-

on a package o f both convergent and dis-

oriented psychotherapists have been doing

criminant evidence ( C r o n b a c h &

this sort o f thing to their patients for a hun-

1 9 5 5 ; Loevinger, 1 9 5 7 ) . O n the discriminant


dred years (Freud, 1 9 0 5 / 1 9 5 3 ) . In the current

side, it must be demonstrated that implicit

revival o f interest in the psychological uncon-

attitudes, beliefs, and values are essentially

scious, it is important that we not perpetuate

uncorrelated with their explicit counterparts

their errors (Kihlstrom, 1 9 9 7 ) .

(see C o o k & G r o o m , Chapter 2 , this vol-

The study o f implicit memory and its cog-


Moreover, it is important that


nate phenomena addresses this problem in a

explicit measures employed be comparable

number o f ways. First, the implicit expression

with the implicit measures under considera-

of episodic memory, whether in the form o f

tion. It is not enough to compare priming or

priming or some other effect, has to be related


plausibly t o some independently verifiable



event in the subject's past personal experi-

explicit and implicit tests must be as closely









comparable as possible, differing chiefly in

implicit and explicit memory is documented

whether they require subjects to reflect con-

by comparing subjects' performance on two

sciously on their attitudes, beliefs and values.

closely matched tests, one that refers to, and

O n the convergent side, it must be demon-

S e c o n d , the


requires, conscious recollection o f a prior

strated that implicit attitudes, beliefs, and


values are associated with construct-relevant







Something similar needs to happen in the

behaviors or experimental

study o f implicit social cognition if implicit


attitudes, beliefs, and values are to be consid-

Depending on theoretical considerations, it




explicit counterparts


ered truly unconscious. First, we need assur-

may well be that explicit and implicit atti-

ance that the effect


tudes, beliefs, and values are affected by dif-

whether a priming effect or an implicit asso-

ferent manipulations, correlate with different

ciation or something else, really is an expres-

variables, and predict different behaviors. O r ,


sion o f the person's attitudes and beliefs,

it might be that implicit attitudes, beliefs, and

rather than an artifact o f some stimulus prop-

values are more strongly related t o some

erty such as familiarity or some task properly

external variables than are their explicit

such as difficulty. Ordinarily, such evidence

counterparts. Whatever proves t o be the case,

would be provided by a positive correlation

it is important that these external relations

between the effect and the person's responses

should be construct-relevant, as defined by

t o a questionnaire or some other measure,

the investigator's theory o f the

(e.g., Fazio, Sanbonmatsu, Powell, & Kardes,

under investigation. In this way, we can


1 9 8 6 ) , but that sort o f evidence is not avail-

avoid the psychologist's fallacy and have a

able when it comes to truly implicit attitudes,

genuine science o f the unconscious, not a

beliefs, and values, because by

tumbling ground for whimsies.




in Social Psychology

NOTES 1. The second lesson is that no amount of statistical finesse (Jackson, 1 9 7 1 ) can substitute for a few intelligent people writing items based on clear definitions of the construct to be measured (Ashton & Goldberg, 1973; Hase & Goldberg, 1967; Jackson, 1975). 2. Extensive information on the IAT, including demonstrations, generic software for constructing experiments, and bibliographies of published and unpublished work, is available on the World Wide Web at the following URLs: and materials.htm. These Web sites also make reference to an "IAT Corp." which presumably was established to promote the IAT as a psychometric instrument for assessment of social beliefs and attitudes.

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Mediated and Moderated Effects in Social Psychological Research Measurement,

Design, and Analysis Issues



he most rudimentary research questions

represent constructs proposed to explain the

in social psychology c o n c e r n

association between two variables. In social

direct and




between two constructs. Classic examples

are, Does behavior reflect attitudes?


psychology, mediators,



intervening variables or mechanisms, usually reflect cognitive, affective, or


Does similarity breed attraction? Although

processes by which an independent variable

such questions represent a fundamental, per-

influences a dependent variable. For instance,

haps essential, starting point for research on

attitudes might influence behavior through an

social behavior, they are but a starting point

elaborate cognitive process that involves selec-

for constructing a detailed and informative

tive attention and biased processing o f behav-

account o f it. In a theory-oriented discipline

ioral cues in the immediate environment (i.e.,

such as social psychology, we want to k n o w

selective attention

h o w attitudes give rise to behavior and why


similarity engenders


Mediators enrich theoretical accounts o f social

we want to k n o w the situations in which, or

phenomena by virtue o f their focus on process.


the people for w h o m , these associations are







Questions that address the conditions that

strongest and weakest—that is, the condi-

qualify an association concern

tions that qualify the association.


Questions o f " h o w " and " w h y " concern mediators.


are variables



are variables that represent con-

structs proposed to magnify, attenuate, cancel, or reverse the association between two vari-

AUTHORS' NOTE: During the writing of this chapter, Rick Hoyle was supported by grants R01-DA12371 and R43­ DA1123 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and grant R 0 1 - M H 0 1 0 0 3 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Jorgianne Robinson was supported by a Wethington Fellowship from The Graduate School at the University of Kentucky.



DESIGN AND ANALYSIS ables. Statistical moderation can take many

transmitted through the intervening variable.

forms, but the defining feature o f a moderated

In the three-variable case, the remaining por-

effect is that the association between the inde-

tion o f the effect is transmitted through the

pendent variable and the dependent variable

intervening variable as an indirect

differs in strength or form at different levels

Although the inferential outcome of a test of

of the moderator. For example, attitudinal

mediation often is cast in either-or terms, this


similarity might be more predictive o f attraction

need not be the case. It is possible that a

for women than for men (i.e., gender moderates

particular mediator accounts for none o f a

the similarity-attraction effect).


documented direct effect, all o f the effect, or

define the limits o f theoretical accounts o f

some, but not all, o f the direct effect. Because

social phenomena


their focus


qualifying conditions. T h e basic logic o f research on mediated and



any particular intervening variable likely represents only one o f several mechanisms by



which an independent variable influences a dependent variable, the latter inferential out-

although there are complications and poten-

come, partial mediation,

tial pitfalls to the implementation o f either. In

come than full mediation,

is a more likely out-

the simplest studies o f mediation or modera-

favoring mediation is warranted.

if an inference

tion, a third variable is introduced into a

The evaluation of a moderated effect, in

research design that previously focused exclu-

conceptual terms, involves an evaluation of the

sively on the effect o f an independent variable

effect (direct or indirect) o f an

on a dependent variable. In the case o f medi-

variable on a dependent variable at different


ation, the third variable usually is reflective o f

levels of a moderator variable. In contrast to

a process (e.g., emotion regulation, delibera-

evaluations of mediated effects, there is no

tion) and believed to be associated with both

assumption o f a previously documented or

the independent and dependent variables. In

demonstrable association between the inde-

the case o f moderation, the third variable usu-

pendent and dependent variables. Indeed, one

ally captures some relatively fixed character-

of the more appealing features of research that

istic o f the individuals or groups being studied

includes possible moderator variables is the

(e.g., gender, group size), feature

prospect o f finding an effect (albeit a qualified

o f the

immediate situation (e.g., number o f people


present, presence or absence o f a mirror), or

dependent variable when no main effect (i.e.,

of the independent

variable on the

secondary quality o f the independent variable


(e.g., attitude

Traditionally in social psychology, moderated

importance, domain

o f ego

association) can



threat) and need not be associated with either

effects have been referred to as

the independent

effects and evaluated as a matter o f course in

or dependent

variable in

order t o moderate their association.

research involving factorial designs,

At the conceptual level, the evaluation o f a mediated


involves partitioning




which data typically are analyzed using analysis o f variance. Increasingly, however, social

effect o f an independent variable on a depen-

psychological studies include at least one inde-

dent variable into two portions, the direct

pendent variable or moderator variable that is

effect and the indirect effect. This evaluation


assumes a documented or demonstrable effect

manipulated. T h e inclusion of such variables is

along a continuum



of the independent variable on the dependent

a departure from a pure factorial design, and

variable, and the question is whether

the resultant data are best analyzed using tech-


portion o f this effect can be attributed to a

niques that do not evaluate interaction effects

particular intervening variable. T h e

as a matter of course (e.g., multiple regression).


effect is that portion o f the effect that is not

In such cases, researchers must



and Moderation


construct interaction terms and evaluate them

same time, at one point in time, and the same

in strategically specified predictive equations.

strategy is used to measure all variables, yield-

Inferences regarding moderation are compli-

ing a single score for each one. Although the

cated by the fact that there are many patterns

opportunistic approach would appear to be

by which the effect o f an independent variable

maximally flexible, affording the researcher

on a dependent variable can vary across levels

considerable latitude in h o w to analyze the

of a moderator variable. These range from the

data once they are gathered, the approach is

crossover pattern, in which the independent

severely limited because, with rare excep-

variable has opposite effects on the dependent

tions, the status any variable is assigned in a

variable at the two levels or extremes o f the

statistical hypothesis test is arbitrary.

moderator variable, to interactions in which

Persuasive tests o f mediated and moder-

the effect is discernibly stronger or weaker but

ated effects are possible only in studies that

does not change direction when moving from

conceptualize and measure constructs with

one extreme to the other along the scale o f the

reference t o their predetermined status in a

moderator variable.

theoretical account o f the phenomenon or

In the remainder describe and

o f this chapter,

illustrate, using




process o f interest, a reasoned empirical







example, basic strategies for designing studies

accounts, hypothetical constructs can be clas-

of mediated and moderated effects in social

sified uniquely as causes, effects, mediators,

psychology. These strategies address the three

or moderators, and the variables that repre-


sent them in empirical research can, in turn,

concerns o f social psychological

research: measurement, design, and analysis.

be classified uniquely as independent, depen-

In the measurement section, we outline a gen-

dent, intervening, and moderator variables,

eral approach to measurement that provides a

respectively. Access t o a rich and detailed

strong foundation for testing hypotheses that

theoretical account is essential t o the devel-

involve mediation or moderation. W i t h regard

opment and testing o f hypotheses regarding

to design, we discuss strategies for gathering

social behavior, particularly hypotheses that

data that allow for inferences essential to

posit mediated and moderated effects.

definitive tests o f mediation and moderation. Finally, we outline statistical approaches to testing for mediated and moderated effects.

Practical Benefits of Theory

W e conclude the chapter with a section on the

Because o f Lewin's ( 1 9 5 1 ) early influence,

various stumbling blocks to a full implemen-

social psychologists have long been committed

tation of the strategies we present.

to building theoretical accounts o f the phenomena and processes they study. The most complete, and




clearly specify the status o f the constructs they


comprise. T h e fundamental

distinction is

One approach to empirical research in social

between cause and effect and their empirical

psychology is to develop a list o f variables rel-

counterparts, the independent and dependent

evant to a phenomenon o f interest, find a sin-

variables. At the core of this distinction is the

gle self-report measure o f each, and, on one

concept o f causality ( M a r k &


occasion, administer the set t o as many par-

Chapter 1 2 , this volume; West, Biesanz, &

ticipants as possible from the population o f

K w o k , Chapter 1 3 , this volume). The funda-

interest. There are numerous drawbacks to

mental criteria for establishing causality

this opportunistic


that (a) the cause and effect are associated (i.e.,