Thursday, April 29, 2004

Every April during the 25 years from 1973-1997, something everyone in the UM social psychology community could look forward to was the annual Katz-Newcomb Lecture. Named in honor of the eminent social psychologists Daniel Katz (1903-1998) and Theodore Newcomb (1903-1984), the lecture always brought a distinguished figure to Ann Arbor. Social psychology is of course a subdiscipline in both psychology and sociology, and the organizing of the event and discipline of the speakers appear to have been divided relatively equally over the years between psychology and sociology.

(Just as a side note, this website has concentrated on social psychology in UM's psychology department, as that's where I received my training. To get a feel for sociological social psychology, interested readers may wish to look at the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, which is published by the American Sociological Association, or at a 1977 article by UM sociologist James House entitled "The three faces of social psychology," Sociometry, volume 40, pp. 161-177.)

UM's Bentley Historical Library has received the papers of both Katz and Newcomb, and in conjunction, has prepared elaborate biographical sketches of each (Katz, Newcomb). In the interest of space, I'll leave it to people to read these biographies and see all that Katz and Newcomb accomplished. As you read along, you'll be reminded of social psychological classics, such as Katz and Braley's landmark research on stereotypes and Newcomb's study of political attitudes at Bennington College. (In the biographies, you'll notice some fairly large gaps of white space between paragraphs; the documents do not necessarily end at such gaps, so be sure to read to the very bottom!) Another reading I would recommend is the following book, with a posthumous authorship by Newcomb:

Alwin, D.F., Cohen, R.L., and Newcomb, T.M. (1991). Political attitudes over the life span: The Bennington women after fifty years. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.

During my years in the graduate program (1984-85 to 1988-89) at least, the Katz-Newcomb was always more than just a lecture. The main talk would take place on a Friday late afternoon. Afterwards, there would usually be a party or a large group of people would go out to dinner. No questions would be taken after the speaker's lecture. Rather, one would have to attend a Saturday morning brunch/seminar to be able to participate in discussion with the speaker. Thus, the Katz-Newcomb filled up a major part of a weekend.

To varying degrees, alumni of the two (psychology and sociology) programs would come back to attend the Katz-Newcomb. The only one I came back for was the 1997 edition, the 25th in the series. By that time (as best I could tell), I was the only out-of-town alumnus in attendance. (I try to get back to Ann Arbor once every year or two, but usually in the summer.)

As already alluded to, after existing as an annual lecture for 25 years (1973-1997), the Katz-Newcomb Lecture now is more of an ad hoc event. Here is one web link to a more recent instantiation of the Katz-Newcomb.

To cap off this retrospective on the Katz-Newcomb, I have attempted to include as comprehensive a list of speakers as possible for the years 1973-1997 (below). Based on my own memories, information I've been able to locate on the web, and the helpful recollections of participants in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) electronic discussion group (listed by name at the bottom), I've constructed a partial list of Katz-Newcomb lecturers. Clearly, some additional work is needed to finish the list, but I wanted to get this entry up in a timely fashion. I will continue to refine the list. Any information that would help fill in the gaps or correct any errors would be greatly appreciated.

[Update, August 5, 2004: While going through some piles in my office, I just found a complete list of Katz-Newcomb lecturers -- and titles -- covering 1973-1992. I have updated the list below, accordingly. The document I found is probably an enclosure with the invitation I -- and probably all program alumni -- received for the 1993 talk.]

1973 Ivan Steiner, Whatever happened to the group in social psychology?
1974 Henri Tajfel, When do we want to be different? And from social mobility to social movements.
1975 Harold Kelley, Action and perception: An attribution analysis of social interaction.
1976 Herbert Simon, Why cognitive psychology is social psychology, and vice versa.
1977 Erving Goffman, The lecture.
1978 Dorwin Cartwright, Contemporary social psychology in historical perspective.
1979 Amos Tversky, On the psychology of possible worlds, and Daniel Kahneman, Decision-making: Rationality and psychophysics.
1980 Roger Brown, Natural categories and basic objects in the domain of persons.
1981 Phil Converse, Generalization and the social psychology of "other worlds."
1982 Shelley Taylor, The cognitive management of life-threatening illness: Dynamics of psychological homeostasis.
1983 Jerome Bruner, The pragmatics of language and the language of pragmatics.
1984 Judith Rodin, The era of the women's revolution: Why have weight obsessions escalated?
1985 Ralph Turner, Self in society: Who am I really?
1986 Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Dilemmas and paradoxes in organizational change.
1987 David Sears, Group interest: A symbolic politics perspective.
1988 Edward E. (Ned) Jones, Attributional anomalies during social interaction: Some consequences of perceiving while acting.
1989 William Gamson, Media discourse and political thinking.
1990 Walter Mischel, Searching for personality: Toward a conditional analysis of dispositions.
1991 Kristin Luker, The social construction of human crises: The case of teenage pregnancy.
1992 Bob Zajonc, Cognition, communication and consciousness.
1993 Karl E. Weick
1994 Jane Allyn Piliavin
1995 Susan T. Fiske
1996 Lawrence Bobo
1997 Herb Kelman

I would like to thank the following people for offering their recollections: Chris Crandall, Phoebe Ellsworth, Donelson Forsyth, Markus Kemmelmeier, Arthur Miller, Chuck Miller, Kerth O'Brien, Howard Schuman, and Elissa Wurf.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Just a relatively brief entry this week. One of my aims in creating this website is to inspire alumni of other social psychology graduate programs to create retrospective websites on their programs. It seemed likely that there would already be other historical sites on the web devoted to various psychology departments and/or programs therein. Up to this point, however, I had not really done much searching in this area.

As often seems to happen, it's when searching for something else totally unrelated that one finds an item of interest. That's how I recently came across the Historical Archives of the Department of Psychology at Florida State University.

These archives include a large number of different write-ups, focusing on the different eras, programs, department chairs, other prominent people, and even the buildings that have housed the department. Among the essays is a history of social psychology at FSU, written by Jack Brigham.

To follow up on this discovery, I went to the Google search engine and typed the following in the seach field: "history" "psychology department". Over 77,000 hits came up. In looking at the first few screens of hits, however, it seemed that in most cases, when a given department provided a history, it consisted of a single, relatively brief page on the entire department, unlike Florida State's approach of providing essays on multiple facets of its department.

I'm sure there are other psychology departments and/or social psychology programs out there that have extensive historical websites. If anyone knows of any, please e-mail the links to me (via my faculty webpage, which is among the links in the upper right portion of this page).

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

This semester, I am teaching a graduate course on structural equation modeling (SEM), an advanced statistical application. This is my third time teaching the course at Texas Tech University and my fourth time overall, as I taught it in 1996 at the University at Buffalo (State University of New York), while I was a researcher at the Research Institute on Addictions.

In developing my lectures, I draw heavily from notes I took myself while taking SEM at Michigan in the Winter 1988 semester from Frank Andrews and Laura Klem. I also took multivariate analysis from Frank and Laura in Fall 1985. I save a lot of stuff, so I have syllabi, notebooks, an extensive set of handouts, and my graded assignments from these two courses.

The classes met twice a week. The way Frank and Laura co-taught their courses was that Frank would lecture one day on the substantive aspects of the relevant statistical technique, and then Laura would teach us how to implement the technique on the computer.

Frank was the clearest, most enthusiastic lecturer one would ever want to hear. In addition to the lecture itself, Frank would hand out extensive bibliographies on the topic, as well as sheets with examples of the technique that had been worked out.

I can't help but think that teaching computer applications of statistical programs must have been so much harder and more time-consuming in the 80s than is currently the case. Back then, data sets were stored on magnetic tape and implementing the commands just to access the data you wanted to work on was a not insubstantial task. Further, we would have to hand type our statistical commands, which usually were quite cryptic. In more recent years, students, faculty members, and other data analysts have had access to much more user-friendly programs that give you an actual spread sheet of your data right on your screen and allow you to select commands from menus. Also, data sets can be transmitted via the Internet and stored/carried on disk.

Despite the seemingly more cumbersome nature of computer data analyses 15-20 years ago compared to now, Laura managed to pull it off. Further, she would use her encyclopedic knowledge of the statistical/data analytic literature in grading our papers. On one paper I just pulled out, for example, she directed me to "See Kenny page 143..."

Frank Andrews died in 1992. To honor Frank, the UM's Survey Research Center created a fellowship to help people attend the Summer Institute. A brief summary of Frank's career is available at this link.

Laura Klem is still around at UM, as seen in this webpage, as a Senior Research Associate with the Center for Statistical Consultation and Research. In fact, she will be teaching a short course on applied structural equation modeling this upcoming May 17 - 20, 2004.

The aforementioned course announcement website notes that, "Enrollees will receive substantial handouts." I couldn't imagine it any other way!

Friday, April 02, 2004

Michigan's men's basketball team last night won the championship of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), essentially a consolation bracket for teams that did not get into the more prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament.

In doing so, the Wolverines repeated their NIT championship of 20 years earlier. Some of you may be wondering what is the significance of this to Michigan social psychology. The answer is that on the very evening the Wolverines defeated Notre Dame to win the 1984 NIT title, I had just arrived in Ann Arbor to visit UM as a potential graduate school. I thus watched the game on television from an Ann Arbor hotel room.

Accompanied by my mother and brother, I used my spring break from UCLA to visit four midwestern (Big Ten) universities to help me decide where to pursue graduate studies in social psychology. Although I grew up in L.A., my family has strong midwestern roots, as my mother's side of the family is from Chicago (I was actually born in the Windy City, but didn't live there very long). All the schools I visited had strong social psychology programs, and these just seemed like they'd be interesting places to go to school.

The first school I visited was Northwestern. One of the faculty there at the time, whom I met, was Geoff Fong, a recent Michigan social psych Ph. D. (a link to Geoff's current facullty webpage at the University of Waterloo is included in one of my earlier postings).

Next, we went to Indiana University in Bloomington. One of the faculty members I met there was Jim Sherman, who is still at IU. Jim is also a Michigan Ph.D. (1967). I was beginning to see a trend. I figured that if Michigan Ph.D. recipients were getting faculty positions at these nice universities, UM might be the best place to go. (I had also visited one school on the West Coast, UC Santa Barbara, and one of the professors I met there, Chuck McClintock, was also a Michigan Ph.D.)

Michigan was third on the itinerary, and we ended the trip at Ohio State. I liked all four schools I visited on the midwestern tour, but then and now Michigan seemed to be the best choice for me.

I still run into Geoff Fong and Jim Sherman at various conferences. Jim and I have really renewed our acquaintance in recent years, as he co-organized an informal sports statistics/decision-making conference in 2003 in Scottsdale, Arizona, timed to coincide with spring-training, naturally. I was fortunate enough to be invited, based presumably on the attention my hot hand website (which involves statistical analyses of sports streaks) had gotten.

For whatever reason, even growing up on the West Coast, I've had a fascination with the Big Ten for as long as I can remember (perhaps because the Pacific Ten and Big Ten winners always met in the Rose Bowl). Those of you who want to get more of a flavor for the towns, campuses, and traditions of the Big Ten (pre-Penn State) would probably enjoy the 1989 book Big Ten Country by Bob Wood (available pretty cheaply over the Internet).