Theory and Explanation in Social Psychology

Edited by Bertram Gawronski and Galen V. Bodenhausen

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November 24, 2014
ISBN 9781462518487
Price: $76.00 $57.00
433 Pages
Size: 6⅛" x 9¼"
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December 17, 2014
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Price: $76.00 $57.00
433 Pages
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This volume provides the first authoritative explication of metatheoretical principles in the construction and evaluation of social-psychological theories. Leading international authorities review the conceptual foundations of the field’s most influential approaches, scrutinizing the range and limits of theories in various areas of inquiry. The chapters describe basic principles of logical inference, illustrate common fallacies in theoretical interpretations of empirical findings, and outline the unique contributions of different levels of analysis. An in-depth look at the philosophical foundations of theorizing in social psychology, the book will be of interest to any scholar or student interested in scientific explanations of social behavior.

“Lewin tells us there is nothing as practical as a good theory; but how do you know if you have a good theory? In this excellent and innovative volume, social psychologists working on all the important problems—cognition, emotion, motivation, personality, culture, evolution, genes—join together to share their diverse insights on theory generation and theory testing. Useful for students and seasoned researchers alike, these well-written, easy-to-read chapters help you address such thorny problems as whether your data are at the right level of analysis to test your theory; why searching for a mediator can be futile; the importance of meaning-based explanations; why causality is so often elusive; whether your theory can both explain and predict; whether parsimony really matters; and the value of creating social-psychological theories that are both 'more micro' and 'more macro.'”

—Hazel Rose Markus, PhD, Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University


“One of social psychology’s key virtues is its emphasis on ideas, insights, and theories. This extremely useful book discusses classes of theories in social psychology (and beyond) from a broader perspective, and asks important questions about the strengths and weakness of theories. The volume reveals and illustrates how theories can serve different functions. It explores trade-offs in theory development—for example, between breadth and predictive ability—and draws attention to important theoretical challenges. This is a timely, thoughtful volume written by true leaders in the field.”

—Paul A. M. Van Lange, PhD, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands


“Graduate training in psychology often emphasizes data analysis at the expense of conceptual analysis, and the next 'cool finding' at the expense of conceptual integration. Countering this trend, Theory and Explanation in Social Psychology aims to equip readers with the tools needed for sophisticated conceptual analysis and theory building. It will be a classic volume for years to come.”

—Norbert Schwarz, PhD, Provost Professor of Psychology and Marketing, University of Southern California

Table of Contents

I. Basics

1. Theory Evaluation, Bertram Gawronski & Galen V. Bodenhausen

2. Levels of Analysis in Social Psychology, Jan De Houwer & Agnes Moors

3. Causal and Meaning-Based Explanation, Yoshihisa Kashima

II. Mental State Theories

4. Social-Cognitive Theories, Bertram Gawronski & Galen V. Bodenhausen

5. Emotion Theories, Antony S. R. Tony Manstead & Brian Parkinson

6. Motivational Theories, David Dunning

7. Duality Models in Social Psychology, Roland Deutsch

8. Personality Systems and Coherence of Social Behavior, Daniel Cervone, Tracy L. Caldwell, & Nicole D. Mayer

III. Biological Theories

9. Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Behavior, Jennifer S. Beer

10. Genetics of Social Behavior, Wendy Johnson & Lars Penke

11. Evolutionary Theories, Timothy Ketelaar

IV. Pragmatic Theories

12. Rational Actor Theories, David Trafimow

13. Social Functionalism, Philip E. Tetlock & Katrina Fincher

14. Socially Situated Cognition, Gün R. Semin & Margarida V. Garrido

V. Social Theories

15. Interdependence Theory and Related Theories, Harry T. Reis & Ximena B. Arriaga

16. Cultural Psychological Theory, Kimin Eom & Heejung S. Kim

VI. Formal Theories

17. Computer Simulation, Klaus Fiedler & Florian L. Kutzner

18. Mathematical Modeling, Karl Christoph Klauer

19. Agent-Based Modeling, Eliot R. Smith & Asaf Beasley

Author Index

Subject Index


About the Editors

Bertram Gawronski, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His research investigates the mental underpinnings and behavioral consequences of spontaneous and deliberate evaluations of objects, individuals, groups, and social issues. Dr. Gawronski's work has been recognized with the Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), the Career Trajectory Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP), the Early Career Award from the International Social Cognition Network, the Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research and Innovation of Ontario, and the Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award from the German Psychological Society. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), SESP, SPSP, and the Midwestern Psychological Association, and is a member of several editorial boards.

Galen V. Bodenhausen, PhD, is Lawyer Taylor Professor of Psychology and Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University. Dr. Bodenhausen studies a wide variety of issues related to social cognition, such as the origins, nature, and consequences of social attitudes, including both explicit and implicit (or automatic) attitudes; the role of identity concerns in judgment and behavior; the influence of prejudice and stereotypes on perception, judgment, memory, and behavior; how moods and other kinds of emotional states influence judgment and preference; and the nature and consequences of social and consumer values. He is a member of several editorial boards and is a Fellow of APS, the American Psychological Association, SPSP, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

Contributors

Ximena B. Arriaga, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Asaf Beasley, BS, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Jennifer S. Beer, PhD, Department of Psychology and Imaging Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Galen V. Bodenhausen, PhD, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Tracy L. Caldwell, PhD, Department of Psychology, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois

Daniel Cervone, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Jan De Houwer, PhD, Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Roland Deutsch, PhD, Department of Psychology, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany

David Dunning, PhD, Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Kimin Eom, MA, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Klaus Fiedler, PhD, Department of Psychology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany

Katrina Fincher, BS, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Margarida V. Garrido, PhD, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, University Institute of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Bertram Gawronski, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Wendy Johnson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Yoshihisa Kashima, PhD, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

Timothy Ketelaar, PhD, Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Heejung S. Kim, PhD, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Karl Christoph Klauer, PhD, Institute for Psychology, Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Florian L. Kutzner, PhD, Department of Psychology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany

Antony S. R. Manstead, PhD, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

Nicole D. Mayer, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Agnes Moors, PhD, Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Brian Parkinson, PhD, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

Lars Penke, PhD, Georg Elias Müller Institute of Psychology, Georg August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Harry T. Reis, PhD, Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Gün R. Semin, PhD, Director, William James Center for Research, ISPA–Instituto Universitário, Lisbon, Portugal

Eliot R. Smith, PhD, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Philip E. Tetlock, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

David Trafimow, PhD, Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Audience

Researchers and graduate students in social psychology.

Course Use

Serves as a primary or supplemental text in graduate-level courses in social psychology.