Handbook of Wise Interventions

How Social Psychology Can Help People Change

Edited by Gregory M. Walton and Alia J. Crum

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
November 10, 2020
ISBN 9781462543830
Price: $57.00
474 Pages
Size: 6⅝" x 9" 11/16"
October 4, 2022
ISBN 9781462551002
Price: $35.00
474 Pages
Size: 6⅝" x 9" 11/16"
November 4, 2020
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $35.00
474 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $70.00 $38.50
474 Pages

Precise shifts in the ways people make sense of themselves, others, and social situations can help people flourish. This compelling handbook synthesizes the growing body of research on wise interventions—brief, nonclinical strategies that are “wise” to the impact of social-psychological processes on behavior. Leading authorities describe how maladaptive or pejorative interpretations can undermine people’s functioning and how they can be altered to produce benefits in such areas as academic motivation and achievement, health, well-being, and personal relationships. Consistently formatted chapters review the development of each intervention, how it can be implemented, its evidence base, and implications for solving personal and societal problems.

“In the last decade, researchers from across psychology have been developing and testing a new generation of theory-guided brief interventions that are changing behaviors of hundreds of people at a time. These 'wise' interventions effectively alter the ways people think about themselves, their studying or eating habits, their marriages, and their health. The outcomes are usually objective and meaningful, and often last for years. From leading researchers in the field, this is the kind of book that has the potential to change the lives of undergraduates, graduate students, and even faculty who yearn to make a difference in the world and who also want to discover new insights about people, institutions, and culture.”

—James W. Pennebaker, PhD, Regents Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts and Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin

“This volume highlights innovative interventions and provides behind-the-scenes commentary from their developers. It is indispensable for anyone who wants to use psychological science to change behavior for the better. Each chapter explains a research-based approach to enhancing motivation or changing behavior, and discusses why it works, for whom, and under what conditions.”

—Angela Duckworth, PhD, Founder and CEO, Character Lab; Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

“It’s not often that the world’s leading experts on the psychology of changing behavior and improving well-being come together to share their knowledge. This book presents the latest science on what it takes to promote learning, belonging, happiness, health, and peace.”

—Adam Grant, PhD, The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and Psychology, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“This book is particularly useful in terms of teaching about and critically evaluating the value of psychology in the real world. Its underlying framing is quite pragmatic for different ways to organize a course. It centers both the domains of interventions and the psychological concepts underlying those interventions. Instructors using this book as a text might organize their course around domains (for example, units on health, education, relationships) or psychological concepts (for example, belonging and groups, implicit theories, reappraisal).”

—Kody Manke, PhD, Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University

Table of Contents

Introduction, Gregory M. Walton & Alia J. Crum

I. Education

1. A Growth Mindset about Intelligence, Carol S. Dweck & David S. Yeager

2. The Social-Belonging Intervention, Gregory M. Walton & Shannon T. Brady

3. Self-Affirmation Interventions, David K. Sherman, Mohini Lokhande, Tim Müller, & Geoffrey L. Cohen

4. The Utility-Value Intervention, Chris S. Hulleman & Judith M. Harackiewicz

5. Difference Education: Improving Disadvantaged Students’ Academic Outcomes by Changing Their Theory of Difference, Nicole M. Stephens, MarYam G. Hamedani, & Sarah S. M. Townsend

6. The Pathways Intervention as a Model to Design Broader Systems of Equitable Student Support, Mesmin Destin & Ivan A. Hernandez

7. The Strategic Resource Use Intervention, Patricia Chen

II. Health and Well-Being

8. Happiness Interventions, Kristin Layous sample

9. The Stress-Mindset Intervention, Alia J. Crum, Isaac J. Handley-Miner, & Eric N. Smith

10. Stress Reappraisal Interventions: Improving Acute Stress Responses in Motivated Performance Contexts, Jeremy P. Jamieson & Emily J. Hangen

11. Values-Alignment Interventions: An Alternative to Pragmatic Appeals for Behavior Change, Christopher J. Bryan

12. The Taste-Focused-Labeling Intervention: Emphasizing the Tasty and Enjoyable Attributes of Healthy Foods, Bradley P. Turnwald & Alia J. Crum

III. Conflict and Relationships

13. The Incremental Theory of Personality Intervention, David S. Yeager & Hae Yeon Lee

14. The Empathic-Discipline Intervention, Jason Okonofua & Michael Ruiz

15. The Group-Malleability Intervention: Addressing Intergroup Conflicts by Changing Perceptions of Outgroup Malleability, Amit Goldenberg, James J. Gross, & Eran Halperin

16. The Couples Activity for Reappraising Emotions Intervention: A 7-Minute Marital Conflict Intervention Benefits Relational and Individual Well-Being, Erica B. Slotter & Laura B. Luchies

17. The Abstract Reframing Intervention: Helping Insecure Individuals Benefit from Romantic Partners’ Positive Feedback, Denise C. Marigold

IV. Sustainability

18. The Social Norms Approach: A Wise Intervention for Solving Social and Environmental Problems, Jessica M. Nolan, P. Wesley Schultz, Robert B. Cialdini, & Noah J. Goldstein

19. Dynamic Norm Interventions: How to Enable the Spread of Positive Change, Gregg Sparkman

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Gregory M. Walton, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology and the Michael Forman University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. His research focuses on how basic social-psychological processes contribute to major social problems, such as how negative stereotypes and stigma change school settings for minority group members in ways that can undermine these students’ feelings of belonging and achievement. Dr. Walton develops novel psychological interventions to address these processes, including to increase student motivation, improve academic achievement, and reduce achievement gaps between groups. He is a recipient of many awards for his research, including the Cialdini Prize and the Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Alia J. Crum, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and Primary Investigator of the Stanford Mind and Body Lab. Her research focuses on mindsets; how they affect important outcomes in such domains as exercise, diet, and stress; and how they can be consciously and deliberately changed through intervention to increase physiological and psychological well-being. Dr. Crum is a recipient of awards including the Director's New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health and the Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science. She has worked as a clinical psychologist for the VA health care system and has developed interventions focused on mindset change for organizations, including LinkedIn, UBS, Stanford Health Care, and the U.S. Navy.


Shannon T. Brady, PhD, Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Christopher J. Bryan, PhD, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Patricia Chen, PhD, Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Geoffrey L. Cohen, PhD, Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Education, and (by courtesy) Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, California Alia J. Crum, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Mesmin Destin, PhD, Department of Psychology, School of Education and Social Policy, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Amit Goldenberg, PhD, Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Unit, Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts

Noah J. Goldstein, PhD, Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

James J. Gross, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Eran Halperin, PhD, Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

MarYam G. Hamedani, PhD, Center for Social Psychological Answers to Real World Questions, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Isaac J. Handley-Miner, BA, Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Emily J. Hangen, PhD, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Judith M. Harackiewicz, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

Ivan A. Hernandez, MS, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Chris S. Hulleman, PhD, Curry School of Education and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Jeremy P. Jamieson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Kristin Layous, PhD, Department of Psychology, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, California

Hae Yeon Lee, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Mohini Lokhande, DPhil, Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration, Berlin, Germany

Laura B. Luchies, PhD, Center for Social Research, Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Denise C. Marigold, PhD, Social Development Studies, Renison University College at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Tim Müller, DPhil, Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Jessica M. Nolan, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Jason Anthony Okonofua, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California

Michael Ruiz, BA, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California

P. Wesley Schultz, PhD, Department of Psychology, California State University San Marcos, San Marcos, California

David K. Sherman, PhD, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Erica B. Slotter, PhD, Department of Psychology, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania

Eric N. Smith, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Gregg Sparkman, PhD, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Nicole M. Stephens, PhD, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Sarah S. M. Townsend, PhD, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Bradley P. Turnwald, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Gregory M. Walton, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California

David S. Yeager, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas


Researchers and students in social/personality, educational, and industrial/organizational psychology.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses.