Social Psychology

About the Program

The Social Psychology program at Florida State University involves the scientific examination of how people think about, influence, and interact with each other. The program offers students in-depth training in both basic and applied research. The goal of the program is to prepare students for future positions as researchers and educators. Coursework provides students with an education in a broad range of areas including classic and contemporary issues in social psychology, methodological and statistical approaches to psychological research, as well as in depth seminars in specialty areas such as prejudice and stereotyping, close relationships, motivation, social cognition, and evolutionary psychology. Most graduate students develop further expertise in a specific area or areas of social and personality psychology through hands-on research, in collaboration with one primary faculty member in the Social program. Students who desire to specialize in more than one research area may collaborate with multiple faculty members to help broaden their research. Some students may also have opportunities to collaborate with faculty in the other psychology programs whose interests and expertise are relevant to social psychology.

The broad areas of research interest and expertise of the Social Psychology program's faculty provide several possible directions for interested graduate students to pursue. These broad areas of research include:

  • Close Relationships: Research investigates factors that influence partner preferences as well as factors that promote or hinder the successful maintenance of long-term relationships; identifying cognitive, situational, behavioral, and individual difference variables that predict relationship formation, satisfaction, and long-term stability.
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Research applies evolutionary perspectives to topics areas including romantic attraction and close relationships, social hierarchy, cooperation and friendship, and pathogen avoidance.
  • Implicit Attitudes, Evaluation, and Threat Processing: Research explores how people uniquely perceive, process, and respond to objects in their environment; takes a dual-process approach to study evaluation in general, but also highlights the role of threat processing independent of conscious awareness; incorporates evolutionary, social cognitive, and neurophysiological views using implicit and psychophysiological measures to investigate the role of threat in contributing to and maintaining other phenomena such as prejudice, suicide, and certain phobias.
  • Motivation and Social Cognition: Specific research explores the factors that influence attitude development and change, judgment and decision-making, and risk-taking; links between emotion, motivation, and social cognition; psychophysiological processes underlying motivated cognitive processes.
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping: Research includes the regulation of prejudice, intergroup interactions, and people's motivation to respond without prejudice; identifying mechanisms that encourage reductions in prejudice; the causes and consequences of negative affect in interracial interactions.

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