Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Just a brief entry today. As most of you are probably aware, the controversial movie Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore is bringing in huge box-office sales around the country.

As with anything on this website, there's a link between Michael Moore and the mid-80s Michigan scene. I would estimate that within just the first few weeks of my September 1984 arrival in Ann Arbor to begin graduate school, I started picking up an alternative political newsmagazine called the Michigan Voice. The editor of this publication was none other than Mr. Moore.

As any viewer of Moore's first film, Roger and Me, knows, Moore is from Flint, Michigan, not Ann Arbor. As noted in the biography linked to Moore's name above, he worked for what was then the Flint Voice, which expanded into a statewide version.

I even remember the cover story of the first issue of Michigan Voice that I ever read, again from 1984. It took to task U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), who remains in office today and has long been one of the most liberal members of the body, for some alleged retrenchments in Levin's liberalism. The headline, a play on a song title by the artist formerly (and currently) known as Prince, was "When Doves Die."

Friday, June 25, 2004

A few weeks ago, I received the Spring 2004 issue of Relationship Research News, the newsletter of the International Association for Relationship Research. Within the newsletter was a review of the book Thrice Told Tales: Married Couples Tell Their Stories. The book was written by Diane Holmberg (a Michigan social psych Ph.D.), Terri Orbuch (a research scientist at UM's Institute for Social Research and a professor at Oakland University in suburban Detroit), and Joe Veroff (Professor Emeritus at UM in social psychology).

The book presents qualitative data (i.e., "narratives" or "stories") from the Early Years of Marriage (EYM) project, begun in 1986 by Veroff, ISR Research Scientist Shirley Hatchett, and the late UM Professor Elizabeth "Libby" Douvan. A number of social psych grad students from the mid-1980s such as Susan Crohan, Ann Ruvolo, and Lynne Sutherland also worked on the project. Orbuch came on a little later in a leadership role. (Note that the above link to the EYM project is from Radcliffe's Murray Center, where some of the EYM data are now archived.)

In preparing this entry, I thought I should do a little homework, so I contacted some people on (or close to) the project to see how things were going. I also read the following article, which provides an excellent overview of the EYM project:

Orbuch, T.L., & Veroff, J. (2002). A programmatic review: Building a two-way bridge between social psychology and the study of the early years of marriage. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19, 549-568.

Participating couples have been interviewed every few years (the title of the book derives from its use of interviews at three occasions). The EYM study has gathered quantitative (closed-ended) data as well as qualitative, but as noted above, the book focused on the latter. Based on the References section of the aforementioned article and some computer searching I did, I would estimate that at least 20 scholarly publications have emerged from the project.

Joe and Libby, always sweet, gentle, and friendly, collaborated extensively in their teaching as well as research. During the Winter 1985 term, I took Joe and Libby's graduate course on socialization (yes, I still have the syllabus and my notes).

In addition to the EYM project, Joe and Libby also collaborated on earlier national surveys on Americans' social participation, as described in the following book:

Veroff, J., Douvan, E., & Kulka, R.. (1981) The inner American: A self-portrait from 1957 To 1976. New York, NY: Basic Books.

This research has been cited in such prominent books as Bowling Alone (by Robert Putnam) and The Tending Instinct (by Shelley Taylor).

Joe also has a long history in studying various social motives (e.g., achievement, power). Monica Biernat, who later switched to research on stereotyping, published an article in 1989 in the Journal of Personality on achievement motives and values, which resulted from her working with Joe.

Joe seems to be doing well at this time. The last time I saw him was in 2002 at a reception during Pat Gurin's retirement celebration (the subject of my June 14, 2004 entry). One of Joe's EYM collaborators, who also notes that "we just finished collecting data in Year 16 of the couples' marriages," informs us that:

"Joe is fine and wonderful. He continues to be active in research activities on the Early Years of Marriage Project. He continues to be a co-PI on the project."

One of Joe's relatives adds:

"He is doing well and I think he enjoys the ongoing connectivity and work on this project. My sense is that he also enjoys the collaborative writing. That said, he is also doing a lot of other kinds of writing for pleasure (fiction, poetry) and savors the slow pace of life in a Michigan small town."

And through the continuing vitality of the EYM project, the legacy of Joe, Libby, and their collaborators lives on...

Friday, June 18, 2004

As people may have noticed from reading some of my postings at this website, I frequently reminisce about events in the 1980s through linkages to developments of today involving the same individuals.

In yet another example of this trend, I took note a while back of the fact that singer/songwriter David Byrne was appearing in concert at UM's Power Center for the Performing Arts this week on June 15 (see review of the concert).

Back in the early years of my grad school experience at Michigan (around 1984 and '85), Byrne's band at the time, the Talking Heads, was among the more popular groups among my fellow social psych graduate students (based on frequency of stereo play at student parties). According to Byrne's online bio,the Talking Heads were active from 1976-1988 (see this excellent Talking Heads fan page).

According to the VH1 Rock Stars Encyclopedia, in October of 1983 (about a year before I arrived at UM), the "Talking Heads' Burning Down The House hits US #9, their biggest hit single to date" (p. 984). Other songs by the group that I remember include Take Me To the River (which I learned from the Encyclopedia was a cover of an Al Green tune), Life During Wartime (This Ain't No Party... This Ain't No Disco... This Ain't No Foolin' Around) and Once In A Lifetime.

Byrne and his bandmates in the Talking Heads were all-around artists, having first met at the Rhode Island School of Design. Byrne has worked in film scoring, winning an Oscar (Best Score) for The Last Emperor, and also in ballet and opera.

A solo artist for the last many years, Byrne appeared to show as much eclecticism as ever in his recent Ann Arbor performance with a string ensemble and a Brazilian sound.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Exactly two years ago to this day, a retirement celebration was held for Professor Patricia Gurin on the UM campus. I (along with a large number of other former students) had the pleasure of working with Pat, and I was equally pleased to attend the retirement festivities. I will discuss three areas in this write-up: the retirement celebration itself, Pat's work in recent years in the area of campus diversity, and the research I and a fellow student, Gretchen Lopez, worked on with Pat.

The Retirement Celebration

A couple of springs ago, I received a letter from Pat dated March 7, 2002, inviting former students of hers to come back to Ann Arbor the weekend of June 14-16, 2002 for both a formal UM Psychology Department event to mark her retirement and other informal gatherings (e.g., a dinner and a brunch).

The letter was very moving, referring to the retirement/reunion weekend as an opportunity "for me to appreciate what is the most important legacy of my years at Michigan. That legacy is you!"

Now, it doesn't take much to get me to go back to Ann Arbor, and I jumped at the chance to attend Pat's events.

The first day, Friday, June 14, consisted of a full day's set of addresses and panel presentations on the many facets of Pat's career at UM (teacher, researcher, mentor, administrator).

Hazel Markus, a Michigan Ph.D. and for many years a professor at UM before moving to Stanford, began the festivities. Hazel's splashy PowerPoint presentation basically covered Pat's life history.

Nancy Cantor, a former Michigan provost and chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at the time of Pat's retirement, also gave an eloquent address (see my February 20, 2004 entry for an update on Nancy). Nancy recalled her days as provost, working with Pat when Pat was serving as interim dean of UM's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA). Mainly, though, Nancy focused on Pat's research on campus diversity and the exacting standards to which Pat was subjecting her own research, because the research could come into play in the legal challenges to UM's affirmative action policies (which culminated at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, about which more later).

Among the panel presentations, one focused on Pat as a mentor, with former graduate students (carefully selected to represent different eras) conveying their experiences. The representative of my era was Kerth O'Brien, who has been on the faculty at Portland (Oregon, as opposed to Maine) State University since receiving her Ph.D. in 1987.

Kerth talked about coming away from meetings with Pat where they had worked on Kerth's dissertation feeling "intellectually rolfed." For those of you not familiar with rolfing, according to a website on the subject, the technique involves deep-tissue massage that "aims to realign the body by using intense pressure and stroking to stretch shortened and tightened fascia back into shape." (As an aside, this past year I advised a student at Texas Tech, Andrea McCourt, on her dissertation; I told her about the "intellectual rolfing" reference, and she seemed to think it fit my advising style, too!)

After all the talks on Friday, a reception was held at UM's Museum of Art. The reception provided further opportunity to catch up with current UM faculty members and fellow alumni. Earlier in the day, I had learned that by amazing coincidence, another conference was going on simultaneously at UM on the developmental psychology of the transition to adulthood, which happens to be one of my main research areas. Thanks to John Schulenberg, who let me sit in, I was able to take in some of the "transition" conference in between some of Pat's sessions.

At the transition conference, I saw University of Minnesota sociologist Jeylan Mortimer, a Michigan Ph.D. whom I knew to have a connection to Pat (and, as it turned out, Pat's husband Gerry). I invited Jeylan to stop by the reception to see Pat and Gerry, which she did. Meanwhile, before the reception, I had told Pat to expect a "mystery guest" at the reception, which was Jeylan.

Saturday night, Pat and Gerry gathered with her former students at a local restaurant for dinner. One of the attendees was Dottie Walker, the administrative secretary for the social psych program when many of us were in graduate school. I have some electronic pictures from the dinner (taken by Lisa Brown) and other events of Pat's weekend. If anyone wants a copy, you can e-mail me (see my faculty website in the "Links" section in the upper right-hand part of the page).

Pat's Research on Campus Diversity

As most readers of this website would likely be aware, the University of Michigan's affirmative action admissions policies were challenged in two companion cases that reached the U.S. Supreme Court and were decided in June, 2003: Gratz v. Bollinger, involving LSA undergraduate admissions, and Grutter v. Bollinger, involving the Law School. (Bollinger is Lee Bollinger, the UM President at time the policies were implemented and now the president of Columbia University.) The Law School's admissions policy was upheld and the undergraduate one overturned; however, UM was able to craft a new undergraduate policy based on the Law School's.

An expert report by Pat, deriving from her research, was part of the materials of the cases. The following are excerpts from the report ("Empirical Results" section):

An important question to examine first is whether structural diversity -- the degree to which students of color are represented in the student body of a college -- shapes classroom diversity and opportunities to interact with diverse peers. It is through these diversity experiences that growth and development occur among college students. To test this hypothesis, I use data from the national CIRP data base...

Structural diversity had significant positive effects on classroom diversity and interactional diversity among all students. Attending a diverse college also resulted in more diverse friends, neighbors, and work associates nine years after college entry. This is strong evidence that structural diversity creates conditions that lead students to experience diversity in ways that would not occur in a more homogeneous student body.

Pat and colleagues have published some of this research in the Harvard Educational Review and the Journal of Social Issues. Further, as I recently learned via an ad for the University of Michigan Press in the Spring 2004 LSA Magazine, Pat has a new book out entitled Defending Diversity, co-authored with Jeffrey Lehman (former UM Law School dean and now president of Cornell University) and Earl Lewis (former dean of UM's Rackham Graduate School and recently named provost of Emory University).

Gretchen's and My Research with Pat

Like the aformentioned research on diversity, the studies that fellow student Gretchen Lopez and I worked on with Pat involved social issues and individuals' experiences in social contexts. In the end, we got a couple of conference papers out of our work. One of them, entitled "Attributional Complexity and Political Thinking," by Lopez, Reifman, and Gurin, was presented at the 1988 meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association in Buffalo, NY. Buffalo is Gretchen's hometown, and I later lived in Buffalo when I had a position at the Research Institute on Addictions (1991-1997).

I still have the EPA program containing the abstract:

The hypothesis that cognitive complexity is reflected in political thinking was examined using questionnaires administered to 63 undergraduates. The questionnaires measured (a) individual differences in cognitive complexity of causal attributions, and (b) political beliefs about gender, race, and class disparities. As predicted, subjects with complex external attributional styles were more likely to identify societal discrimination, as opposed to personal motivation, as the cause of group disparities. The role of cognitive styles in political socialization is discussed.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Just a brief entry on the current National Basketball Association (NBA) finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons.

Not only do the two cities parallel my personal road from undergraduate college at UCLA to graduate school at Michigan. It's also the case that during my last two years of graduate school, 1987-88 and 1988-89, the Lakers and Pistons met both years for the NBA championship. The Lakers won the first of these match-ups, and the Pistons the second. In fact, the NBA website has created retrospectives on both the 1987-88 and 1988-89 finals.

Then, as now, the Lakers were led by high-profile "celebrity" players (Magic and Kareem, then, and Shaq and Kobe, now). Likewise, then as now, the Pistons were known for their "blue collar," physical play under the basket (Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman, then, Ben Wallace, now). The Pistons of yesteryear also featured Isiah Thomas.

In the years before making the finals, the Pistons had to battle through the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics. In similar fashion, once the Pistons established themselves as the top team in the NBA's Eastern Conference, they had to fend off the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, which they did, but only for a while.

I went to a game in March of 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome (probably best known as the former home of football's Detroit Lions, but also the former home of the Pistons) in which Jordan scored 61 points against Detroit. Frankly, from seats up high in a football stadium, the players on the basketball court looked like 10 tiny insects.

Overall, during my years at Michigan, the baseball Tigers probably had the biggest following of the Detroit sports teams among the people I hung out with. They were consistent contenders and even won a World Series during this time, a topic I plan to address in the fall as the 20-year anniversary of the Tigers' 1984 world championship rolls around. The Pistons and Red Wings (hockey) would get some attention when they were doing well in the play-offs, whereas the Lions were consistently bad and got little attention.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Social Psychologists Who Spent Time at Both Michigan and UCLA

Each individual who goes into academia usually has the opportunity to establish affiliations with multiple universities. First, one must receive the Bachelor's degree, then a Ph.D. (sometimes with a Master's along the way, with the Master's and Ph.D. usually from the same university, but not always). Many new Ph.D.'s then take on a post-doctoral fellowship to gain additional training and research publications. Next, after the Ph.D. or post doc, often comes a faculty position at a university (although many Ph.D.'s also end up at research institutes, outside of a university system). Finally, over the course of a career, one may teach at multiple universities.

I received my Bachelor's degree in psychology at UCLA in 1984, then went on to Michigan for my Master's (1985) and Ph.D. (1989) in social psychology.

Either toward the end of my time at UCLA or early in my Michigan days, it became clear that a large number of social psychologists had affiliations with both Michigan and UCLA in some combination. The late Hal Gerard, for one, was one of my advisors at UCLA and had received his Ph.D. at Michigan. The Michigan-UCLA connection is the theme of today's entry. [In a June 11 e-mail, Wayne Osgood has now coined the term "Bru-verines," a combination of UCLA Bruins and Michigan Wolverines.]

In preparing this entry, I gleaned some very useful information from Bert Raven, via an exchange of e-mails. Bert was one of the first social psychologists to establish ties to Michigan and UCLA. Bert received his Ph.D. in 1953 from Michigan. According to Bert's faculty webpage, "He has been a member of the faculty of the Psychology Department at UCLA since 1956, where he is currently a Professor Emeritus, recalled and still active in research and instruction."

After I publicized my "Michigan 80s" website on the Society for Personality and Social Psychology e-mail discussion list, I heard from a number of UM alums, including Bert. After I mentioned my idea of one day doing an entry on the Michigan-UCLA connection, Bert e-mailed the following comments:

"It would be interesting to see your article on the Michigan/UCLA connection, which began first with migration of UM people to UCLA, and later with more movement in the opposite direction. To my knowledge, the first UM PhD to come to UCLA was Zan Sperber. I came shortly thereafter."

Below, I have compiled a list of everyone I can think of in social psychology (or related fields) who has passed through both Michigan and UCLA (please notify me with any additions). I do not know if Michigan-UCLA is the most common two-school combination among people in social psychology, but it would certainly have to be up there.

In thinking about why such a pervasive Michigan-UCLA connection would exist, the first reason that comes to my mind is that both social psychology programs are very large. UCLA currently has roughly 15 faculty in social psychology. Michigan's social psych faculty is probably about the same size, although on the current directory, fewer than 15 faculty are pictured, yet many more than 15 are listed in the roster (which includes people in related fields).

Having a large faculty would also be correlated with large enrollments at both the graduate and undergraduate level. This creates opportunities for an undergraduate at one of the schools to go to graduate school at the other, or a Ph.D. recipient at one to get a post doc or faculty position at the other.

In fact, Michigan and UCLA probably are among the nation's most active universities in providing post-doctoral training. UCLA's health psychology post-doctoral program alone has hosted at least two people with earlier degrees from Michigan. Various post-doctoral programs at UM's Institute for Social Research and in other units have hosted a number of young scholars over the years.

Other possible reasons for the connection? Other than the weather in winter, I think Michigan and UCLA have a lot of the same feel, both being cosmopolitan, large, state universities, with prominent athletic programs, and lots of other cultural activities going on. And, oh yes, both schools' colors are similar, maize and blue for Michigan, and blue and gold for UCLA!

The list of Michigan-UCLA scholars [including June 10 and 11 updates] follows (with web links where available):

UCLA undergraduate-UM graduate student

Bonnie Barber (developmental psych)
Paula Pietromonaco
Alan Reifman
Elissa Wurf

UCLA undergraduate-UM post doc/research scientist

Kathy Carnelley
Pete Ditto
Wayne Osgood

UCLA undergraduate-UM faculty member

Rich Gonzalez

UM undergraduate-UCLA graduate student

Pam Feldman

UM undergraduate-UCLA post doc/research scientist

Jennifer Lerner

UCLA graduate student-UM post doc/research scientist

Grant Marshall (clinical/personality/health)

UCLA graduate student-UM faculty member

Jacquelynne Eccles (developmental psych)
Vincent Hutchings (political science)
Donald Kinder (social psych Ph.D., political science faculty)
Nicholas Valentino (political science and communication studies)
Monique Ward (developmental psych)

UM graduate student-UCLA post doc/research scientist

Darrin Lehman
Roberta Mancuso
Lynne Sutherland

UM graduate student-UCLA faculty member

Elizabeth Bjork (cognitive psych)
Lawrence Bobo (sociology, now at Harvard)
Karin Elliott Brown (social work, now at Cal State L.A.)
Patricia Cheng (cognitive psych)
Andrew Fuligni (developmental psych)
Hal Gerard (deceased)
Oscar Grusky (sociology)
Julia Henly (social work/public policy, now at University of Chicago)
Tim Ketelaar (now at New Mexico State)
John Liebeskind (physiological psych, deceased)
Jerome Rabow (sociology)
Bert Raven
Bernie Weiner

Faculty at both UCLA and UM

Robert Bjork (cognitive psych)
Keith Holyoak (cognitive psych)
Neil Malamuth (communication studies)

Some readers might be thinking that subfields of psychology outside of social psych may be worth mentioning, as individuals in the other subfields would at least be colleagues in the same departments with social psychologists. The listing of sociologists and political scientists may strike some as a little far afield. However, as Bert Raven noted in a follow-up e-mail to my initial posting of the Michigan-UCLA list:

"As you may know, the [Michigan] social psychology PhD program accepted both psychology and sociology undergraduates as graduate students, then tried to make us into hybrids who could fit equally in departments of sociology and psychology."

Also, David Sears e-mailed me, noting the "very active political psychology group at UCLA, [that] has contributed to some connections with Michigan."

Thanks to the following individuals for providing additional names beyond the ones I initially listed: Kathy Carnelley, Matthew Hogben, Keith Holyoak, Bert Raven, and David Sears.