The Social psychology program conducts research
concerning how people's thoughts, feelings, and
behaviors are influenced by other people.
Current research projects include studies in:
Emotions and strategic decision-making
Interpersonal attraction and beauty
Dominance and aggression
Evaluation of human services and training programs
In addition to traditional experimental social psychology methods, students who choose to specialize in Social Psychology can receive training in a variety of methodological techniques ranging from field research and cross-cultural studies to content analysis and correlational methods to questionnaire design and evaluation. We also encourage our students to take advantage of the department's other strengths in Engineering and Cognitive Psychology.
Social Psychology FacultyMarina Abalakina
Timothy Ketelaar (Emotion & Social Decision-Making Laboratory)
Walter Stephan (Emeritus)
David Trafimow (Social Cognition Laboratory)
During the first year, students accepted into the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology complete required courses in Statistics and Experimental Design. First year students are required to complete a first year project under the supervision of a faculty Mentor. These projects are typically presented to the faculty at a department-wide poster session held at the end of the spring semester.
During the second year of study, students typically complete their basic coursework which includes seminars in Social Psychology and at least two other areas of focus such as Developmental Psychology, Biopsychology, Cognitive Psychology, or Engineering Psychology. In the second year, students are expected to successfully complete a Master.s Thesis, a process that includes a written paper and oral defense. This project typically begins with the student forming a committee, with the help of their faculty mentor, to evaluate their Master.s Thesis proposal.
During their third year, students form a committee for their comprehensive exam and specialty paper. Successful completion of the comprehensive exam and specialty paper (which includes both written and oral components) qualifies the student for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology.
Ph.D. candidates in Social Psychology form a Dissertation committee and, upon approval of their thesis topic, begin work toward the successful completion of the Dissertation.
In addition to these requirements graduate students in the Social Psychology program are encouraged to become active in a variety of research and teaching activities from the moment they first step foot on campus. For example, all Social Psychology graduate students are encouraged to participate in the annual Spring research conference held in collaboration with the Social Psychology program at the University of Texas- El Paso. At this conference (held in El Paso and Las Cruces alternating years) graduate students present their research to the Social Psychology faculty and students from these two Universities and then adjourn for an evening of food and festivities. Graduate students in the Social Program are also encouraged to present their research at national conventions such as SPSP and APS.
Although each graduate student in the Social Psychology program is typically guided by a single faculty mentor, all students are strongly encouraged to collaborate and work with several Social Psychology faculty members during their graduate careers. Collaborating with several faculty members (including those outside of the Social Program) allows our students to not only acquire a breadth of research knowledge and professional experience, but also provides students with numerous opportunities to publish their work in the top journals (see faculty webpages for a sample of recent publications).
Most of our doctoral students pursue university research/teaching positions but some have taken applied research positions (e.g., marketing research). Recent graduates in Social Psychology have obtained jobs in a variety of settings including Carnegie I level Research Universities, teaching colleges, consulting firms, and a variety of applied research settings.
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