Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A couple of brief items this week:

I exchanged e-mails the other day with University of Wisconsin-Madison Political Science Professor (and University of Michigan Ph.D.) Charles Franklin. Every summer, the UM's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) offers a summer statistics program that attracts both instructors and students from around the nation; people from UM also participate.

Charles has taught many ICPSR summer courses over the years, and it so happens that I took his 1985 class on linear models (multiple regression), which occurred during the summer between my first and second years of grad school. At the time, Charles was a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis.

I recently re-discovered Charles after 20 years via his blog on statistical analysis in political science, Political Arithmetik. He had done a series of postings on the rise in President Bush's job approval rating in various polls from roughly 35 percent a little while back to the low 40s at the moment. I e-mailed Charles to suggest that perhaps Bush's recent increase resulted, at least in part, from regression toward the mean; I also mentioned that I had taken an ICPSR course from him, and let him know where I had ended up. He sent me a nice reply, although he was less than convinced on the matter of regression toward the mean.


Also this week, completely out of the blue, I received an article reprint in the mail. Describing himself as an "old Ann Arbor graduate" in an attached note, Norm Feather had sent me a recent article of his entitled "Social psychology in Australia: Past and present," from the International Journal of Psychology. From the article, it appears Norm has taught at Australian universities for roughly the last 45 years, including at Flinders University since 1968.

In a section of the article covering the period from immediately after World War II until the 1980s, Norm notes that among "early figures in Australian social psychology... the majority obtained their doctorate in the United States -- Harvard and Michigan being two of the major centres..." (p. 266, my emphasis added).

In fact, two of my fellow UM grad students from the 1980s, Bill von Hippel (social psychology) and Bonnie Barber (developmental), have moved to Australia for faculty positions in recent years.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The University of Michigan announced earlier this month the establishment of the National Center for Institutional Diversity (news release). As noted in the release, the Center is an outgrowth of the UM's defense of affirmative action up to the U.S. Supreme Court a few years ago. Pat Gurin, a faculty mentor to numerous students in the 1980s and other decades and now with Emerita status, will be the acting director of the NCID. As can be seen in the linked documents, Pat holds a Distinguished University Professorship named after Nancy Cantor, now the Chancellor of Syracuse University; Nancy, a former Michigan psychology professor, was Provost at UM during the build-up to the Supreme Court cases. The NCID's website can be accessed here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The First Annual Ziva Kunda Memorial Lecture was held a few weeks ago (September 26) at the University of Waterloo, where Ziva spent the last several years of her career before her death in 2004 (earlier note on her passing). Fittingly, the inaugural speaker in this lecture series was Dick Nisbett, Ziva's advisor during her graduate training at the University of Michigan in the 1980s.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Social Psychologists Who Spent Time at Both Michigan and Buffalo

Time for another "overlap" analysis, this time looking at social psychologists (and others in related fields) having affiliations with both the University of Michigan and the University at Buffalo. The latter was known previously as the University of Buffalo, when it was a private institution before joining the State University of New York (SUNY) system, but either way the school has long been referred to by local residents as "UB" (click here for the school's history). I have previously done Michigan-UCLA (June 2004), Michigan-Stanford (February 2005), and Michigan-Ohio State (May 2005) listings.

Lora Park, now a new faculty member at Buffalo after completing her Ph.D. at UM, deserves co-authorship on this entry. When, at some point early in 2005, I put out a request for suggestions for future overlap lists, Lora e-mailed me with a list of Buffalo-Michigan people and mentioned that she, herself, would be joining the UB faculty. During my visit to Ann Arbor this past July, I was able to meet Lora in person.

Buffalo has special importance for me, for a couple of reasons. First, I was based at the Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) near downtown Buffalo from 1991-1997 and also taught a couple of classes at UB in 1995 and '96. In fact, in one of the great "small world" instances in my life, shortly after I arrived at RIA, I learned that the institute's librarian, Ann Sawusch, was the daughter of former Michigan personality psychology professor John (Jack) Atkinson. I have not included visiting professors and lecturers in my previous cross-school listings, and I shall not include myself in the list below; still, I wanted to mention my connection to Buffalo.

Second, two distinguished (and now deceased) figures in the history of social psychology, Daniel Katz and Hal Gerard, each had ties to both Michigan and Buffalo. Katz (who got a degree at Buffalo in 1925 [!] before going to Syracuse for his doctoral work) spent the bulk of his career at Michigan, whereas Gerard spent the bulk of his career at UCLA (where I did some research with him during my undergraduate years).

Here is the list (updated October 19) :

Buffalo undergraduate-UM faculty member

Daniel Katz

UM undergraduate-Buffalo faculty member

Jim Pomerantz (cognitive, now at Rice University)
Jim Sawusch (cognitive)

Graduate school at both Buffalo and UM

Diane Quinn
Connie Wolfe

Buffalo graduate student and UM post-doc

Riia Luhtanen

UM graduate student-Buffalo faculty member

Irving Biederman (neuroscience, now at U. of Southern Calif.)
Walter Cohen (exper./cog., UB faculty member 1948-1974)
Hal Gerard (deceased)
Jack Meacham
Lora Park
Joel Raynor
Egan Ringwall (clinical, UB faculty member 1949-1977)
Phil Shaver (now at University of California, Davis)
Steve Spencer (now at University of Waterloo)

UM post doc-Buffalo faculty member

Sandra Murray

Faculty member at both Buffalo and UM

Jenny Crocker (lab page)
C. Jim Smith (behavioral neuroscience, at UM 1953-1961 and at UB 1961-1999)

Thanks to Jack Meacham for supplying names of some earlier Buffalo-Michigan overlappers.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Jan Jacobs, a developmental psychologist who received her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1987 and later served on the faculty at the University of Nebraska and Penn State, died on Friday (click here for obituary). At the time of her death, she was vice president and dean for undergraduate education at Penn State. Some of you may also remember Jan's husband Wayne Osgood from his time in the 1980s as a scientist at the UM's Institute for Social Research. Condolences to Jan's family and friends.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The 113th annual American Psychological Association convention was held August 18-21 in Washington, DC. I attended and came across several people with current and former University of Michigan ties. I figure the best way to recap the convention is just to proceed in chronological order.

August 18

Opening night, last Thursday, the UM psychology department held an Alumni Social Hour. Most other schools participate in an overall Alumni Night with each school getting its own table in a large ballroom, but the Michigan program is large enough to have its own social hour. The Michigan social hour was very well attended in the 1980s and early 90s, as I recall, but less so after that; it may even have been scrapped for a time in recent years.

Thus, it was nice to see the Michigan social hour being held this year. Due to a delay in my connecting flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Washington, DC, I was barely able to get to the final 20-30 minutes of the Michigan social hour, but I was glad I did. The event was co-hosted by current Department Chair Rich Gonzalez and Professor Emeritus Bill McKeachie. I was able to chat with both of them, as well as with a couple of current graduate students.

Copies of the annual departmental newsletter, On Our Minds..., were also available at the social hour (the newsletter is also available online). In addition to news items and profiles about people in the department, the newsletter also announced the merger of the personality and organizational psychology programs into a new one called Personality and Social Contexts.

August 19

The first several sessions I attended on Friday (one of which I participated in) did not include any former Wolverines. However, in the late afternoon at a social hour for researchers of alcohol and other drug use and addiction, I saw 1987 Michigan Ph.D. Kerth O'Brien. Although I didn't immediately associate Kerth with research on substance use, she has studied health and high-risk behavior for roughly two decades, so I guess her presence at the social hour wasn't that surprising.

August 20

Saturday afternoon, things really started to get rolling, in terms of seeing former Michigan people. At a 1:00 poster session, I saw Danny McIntosh. Danny's time in the graduate program (1987-1992) overlapped with mine (1984-1989), and we collaborated (along with Phoebe Ellsworth, whose research interests I described a few entries ago) on a study of stress, coping, and health among law students during the latter part of my time at UM (and continuing after my graduation). References to a couple of articles we published from that study are available on this list of Danny's publications. It had been years since Danny and I had seen each other in person, so it was nice that he was at APA. In recent years, Danny has been part of a colllaborative group studying psychological reactions to 9/11, the products of which include an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

While Danny and I were conversing, another person, Chris Davis, joined in. I did not know Chris, but it quickly became clear that his research background in stress and coping matched Danny's very closely. Chris received his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia, working with UM Ph.D. Darrin Lehman. Chris also did a post-doctoral fellowship at UM in the 1990s with sociologist Ron Kessler (more on Kessler later) and along the way co-authored several papers with former UM faculty members such as Camille Wortman and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema.

Then, at 2:00, the aforementioned Ron Kessler, a professor at Harvard Medical School after many years on the Michigan faculty, gave a major address on the National Comorbidity Survey, which he has headed up. The NCS was the first nationally representative survey to examine the prevalence of clinically diagnosable mental disorders in the United States, as well as treatment utilization. Thus, even though Ron is a sociologist, the relevance of his work to psychology could not be clearer. During his APA address, in setting up the historical context for the NCS, Ron alluded to the Michigan heritage in this type of research, citing the 1957 study, Americans View Their Mental Health, by Gerry Gurin, Joe Veroff, and Sheila Feld (Ron has also cited this earlier project in his writings).

From there, at 3:00, I went to see a talk by Sheena Iyengar, a rising star in the field of decision-making research. Sheena was introduced by Stanford professor Hazel Markus, who was a Michigan professor during my time in grad school.


In addition to the "maize and blue" presence at the APA convention, another thing I found interesting was the layout of the convention area in downtown Washington. The 2000 APA convention had also been held in the nation's capital, but at the old convention center. The old convention center was imploded in 2004 (see the video!), so now there's a huge dirt field, surrounded by a number of attractive, modern buildings (some of them hotels and the others probably office buildings), with the huge, new convention center slightly off in the distance, though still visible. I think a park or garden would round off the area nicely, but it seems likely some new commercial venture will go in the empty space. It will be interesting to see what the same area looks like when the APA convention comes back to DC in 2011.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Completing the trilogy of my write-ups from my Ann Arbor visit...

Part III: The Ann Arbor Art Fair

Among Ann Arbor's traditional events, the Art Fair every summer would seemingly have to be the most heavily attended -- perhaps a half-million people pass through -- and perhaps the best known. As those of you who have attended know, the town's biggest streets (State St., South U., Liberty, Main, and others) are shut down to auto traffic, in favor of artist booths/tents. Restaurants and other businesses take their commerce onto the sidewalks in front of their stores, and bands perform on musical stages scattered throughout the area.

This year it was held from Wednesday, July 20 to Saturday, July 23. The latter part of my visit overlapped with the Art Fair, allowing me to attend all through the day Wednesday and in the morning Thursday.

Although often referred to in the singular -- the Art Fair -- the event technically comprises four separate fairs, each concentrated in a different region of the general campus/downtown area. The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, billing itself as the original, dates back to 1960.

All of the fairs are juried, which I understand to mean that artists must submit their work (or photos thereof) for judging, with only the top ones invited to participate. According to the webpage for another of the individual fairs, the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, works include "ceramics, painting, jewelry, sculpture, photography, glass, wood, fiber and much more," which can be purchased.

I just like to browse around and soak up the atmosphere. As I mentioned in Part I, the weather was quite hot, so I didn't walk around as much as I typically would have. In fact, it was only in the early evening on the Wednesday, after a brief but intense rainstorm, that I felt it was comfortable to walk around. Going along State St. between North U. and South U., most of the booths were still open. My informal observations revealed most of the artists to be from either the Midwest or Southeast.

Although there are subtle changes between the Art Fairs of the mid-late 1980s and those of today, such as in where the musical stages are located, things mostly seem similar. My most lasting memories tend to be of the throngs of people. I couldn't find any photographs on the web from this year's event that I felt captured the atmosphere as I see and feel it. However, someone named Chuck Lohr posted some nice photos from the 2000 Art Fair on the web (if you visit his page, scroll down and click on the photos from the intersection of South University and East University, and of Main and Liberty, to see what I consider the most illustrative photos in the set).

As crowded as it gets, I always tell people that not too long after the 6:00 p.m. Saturday conclusion of the Art Fair, the set-up crews will have taken down the booths so quickly that you'll have to remind yourself of the massive undertaking that just was.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Continuing on with my summary of my July visit to Ann Arbor...

Part II: My Visit in the UM Psychology Department

Several of the professors from my graduate-student days (1984-89) in the UM social psychology program remain on the faculty, plus I've met other people who've joined the Michigan psychology department in the years after my departure. Thus, my trips to Ann Arbor always include a visit to the psychology building on campus.

Not as many people tend to be around in the summer as during the regular school year (many, presumably, are either traveling or just not coming into the office as much). Still, I was able to visit with Phoebe Ellsworth, the professor who launched me on the psychology and law component of my research. Phoebe and I have stayed in regular communication for the entire 16 years since I graduated, exchanging e-mails whenever any new court decisions bearing on social science research come along. We've also collaborated on academic articles, our most recent of which came out in 2000, in the journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

Phoebe actually has a joint appointment in both the law school, where she studies jury behavior (her law school homepage), and in psychology, where she studies emotions (her psychology homepage). Phoebe arrived at Michigan for the 1987-88 academic year, having formerly been on the faculty at Stanford (I had applied to graduate school at Stanford and been rejected, but it worked out nicely as I was now able to work with Phoebe at Michigan).

My association with Phoebe began when she put a notice on the bulletin board seeking a Teaching Assistant for the Psychology and Law course she would be teaching in the Winter 1988 term. I got the job, and things went from there. As I've noted previously, my primary research area for roughly the last 15 years has been in adolescent and young adult drinking. However, psychology and law has been a solid secondary area for me. In addition to periodic academic publications in psychology and law, I also write an informal e-mail newsletter every summer for friends, colleagues, and family members, summarizing that year's U.S. Supreme Court term.

The timing of my recent meeting with Phoebe was perfect, as the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts had only been announced the evening before. In addition to the Roberts nomination, Phoebe and I discussed the usual stuff, such as what kind of research each of us was currently working on.

I also toured the floors of the psychology building to see who else I might run into or what news items I might see posted on the bulletin boards, and ended up chatting briefly with a few other people.

One thing I noticed for the first time was a series of photographs on display on the social psychology floor. They were taken by Emeritus Professor Mel Manis, of current and former UM social psychology faculty members. The photos make for an excellent documentation of the recent history of the social psych program.

While walking through the developmental psychology section of the building, I noticed a posted announcement of a very sad nature. Harold Stevenson, a longtime UM professor, had recently died, at the age of 80. Stevenson's obituary appeared in numerous newspapers, including the Washington Post, a testimony to his stature in the field.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A little over a week ago, I visited Ann Arbor, my first trip back in three years. Most things in town looked the same as in 2002, or even as in 1984, my first year of graduate school at UM. Yet, things also change. Over the next few weeks, I plan to write a three-part entry about my Ann Arbor visit, focusing on (1) the town and campus, (2) my visit in the psychology department, and (3) the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which partially overlapped with my visit. Today, I'll start with...

Part I: The Town and Campus

Assuming one flies into Detroit Metro Airport, the first task after retrieving one's luggage is, of course, to get to Ann Arbor. Some of you may remember a shuttle system where you could go to a ground transportation counter at the airport and purchase a ticket for a ride to Ann Arbor (and could set up a trip in the opposite direction from the Michigan Union). Well, that shuttle system is gone and has been for a few years. There are some other options that appear to require one to do some advance planning (including one university-based shuttle that only runs around the time of the major school breaks), or else one has to take a taxi (which is about $45 one way) or rent a car.

After traveling west on I-94, one approaches the campus from the south, along State St. Upon reaching the beginning of the campus area, one of the first things a visitor would probably notice is the construction on the new building for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (the construction can be watched via webcam -- be sure to scroll to the bottom of the new page that comes up).

Another area of active construction is a bit further north on State St., at the intersection of Washington St. (between Liberty and Huron). At what I believe is the former location of Olga's cafe, there is now a high-rise apartment building with a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant on the ground floor. To the east of this block (in the direction of the Modern Languages Building), there is another construction site, this one for a UM building. Also in the same vicinity, the Frieze Building will be converted into a dormitory. Some photos of the general scene in this area can be accessed here.

A completed construction project, one more in the heart of campus, is the "jazzing up" of the Mason/Haven Hall area off the Diag.

I went to many of my old favorite establishments, such as State St. Barber Shop (where Bill, the barber who cut my hair during grad school, is still going strong), Borders bookstore (multiple visits), Moe's Sport Shop and Steve and Barry's for t-shirts (including one commemorating this year's NCAA women's softball championship won by UM), the restaurants Seva and Cottage Inn, Bruegger's and Einstein Brothers for bagels, and, on different evenings, the adjacent Stucchi's and Ben and Jerry's for ice cream. One new place I went to, on State St. in the area where North University comes in, is Noodles and Company.

Ann Arbor summers are typically mild, except when a national heat wave is going on. Well, this year, there's been a national heat wave, and Ann Arbor has not been exempt. That inhibited my walking a little bit, but as can be seen from the above, I still got around.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A few brief items on developments from roughly the past month involving people associated with the social psychology program (and related ones) at the University of Michigan in the 1980s...

The Spring 2005 issue of Dialogue, the newsletter of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, came out recently. Paula Niedenthal, an '87 UM Ph.D., wrote a piece on the process of becoming an academic in France, where she's been since the late 1990s (she previously had served on the faculties at Johns Hopkins University and Indiana University in the U.S.).

Separately within the same Dialogue issue, Paula contributed a two-page cartoon series under the rubric of "Social Psychology: Graphic Version -- Ch. 1, Conformity." Paula and I overlapped for three years during graduate school and I remember her, back then even, having a talent for drawing cartoons reminiscent of those in the New Yorker magazine (click here for the New Yorker's "cartoon bank").

The Dialogue issue also contained an extensive display of statistics -- both on individual researchers and at the institutional level -- on publication patterns in the top social-personality psychology journals from 1994-2004. Many Michigan faculty members, alumni, and former post-docs were among those listed. Further, in the institutional statistics, UM topped the publication productivity statistics for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and was the only school to appear among the top publishing institutions for all six journals considered.

Beyond the issue of Dialogue, here are two additional items...

University of Texas professor David Buss, a faculty member in UM's personality psychology program from 1985-1996 and longtime researcher in evolutionary psychology, has published a new book entitled The Murderer Next Door. An extensive description of the book is provided in this UT news release.

Ron Kessler, a UM sociologist from 1979-1996 before moving to Harvard Medical School, has released some new results from a national survey on the prevalence of mental health disorders. During his years at Michigan, Ron collaborated on various projects with faculty, post-docs, and graduate students in psychology in the broad area of stress, social support, coping, and health.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Social Psychologists Who Spent Time at Both Michigan and Ohio State

Last weekend, I traveled to Ohio State University. I was there primarily for a conference on the teaching of statistics, but while there also gave a talk before the Group for Attitudes and Persuasion within the social psychology program and visited with faculty and graduate-student members of the group. I enjoy photographing college campuses, so I put together a photo essay of the Ohio State campus.

I thought it would be fitting to do a list of the "Ohio State-Michigan connection," enumerating social psychologists (and others in related disciplines) with formal ties to both universities (I have previously done UCLA-Michigan and Stanford-Michigan lists, which can be found in this blog's archives).

Considering the physical proximity of Michigan and Ohio State (such that an undergrad at one school might want to go to grad school at the other), both schools' membership in the Big Ten athletic conference, and the fact that both schools have long had thriving social psych programs, I would have expected a large list of people with both Buckeye and Wolverine ties. However, in my first cut at it, at least, the list is fairly small. As always, suggestions for additions to the list and any factual corrections are welcome. Here's the list (updated 6/2/05):

Ohio State undergraduate-UM graduate student

Bert Raven

Graduate degrees from both schools

Susan Cross (M.A. in Higher Education, Ohio State; Ph.D. in social psych, UM)

Ohio State graduate student-UM post doc

Roger Kirk (Baylor University, psychology/statistics)

Ohio State graduate student-UM faculty member

Monique Fleming (now at UCLA)
Joseph Priester (now at UCLA)
David Ronis (researcher in UM School of Nursing)
Denise Sekaquaptewa
Claude Steele (now at Stanford)

UM graduate student-Ohio State faculty member

Hal Arkes (quantitative)
Jon Krosnick (now at Stanford)
Tom Nelson (also a UM undergrad, Ph.D. in social psych, faculty position in political science)
Bill von Hippel (now at University of New South Wales)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I just received my Spring 2005 issue of the Michigan Alumnus magazine. One of the articles was entitled, "The Institute for Social Research: Interdisciplinary, International, Influential" (full text not available from the magazine's website).

The Institute, widely known as the ISR, was where nearly all the social psychology faculty and graduate students had their offices during the 1980s (and perhaps before). East Hall, which houses the psychology department and all its subdisciplinary components, opened some time in the early '90s.

Today, I would say, the ISR is best known for conducting at least four prominent national surveys: the Monitoring the Future (on high school seniors' drug use), National Election Study, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and Consumer Sentiment surveys.

Although my primary research area for nearly the last 15 years has been adolescent and young-adult drinking, I mainly conducted laboratory experiments during my graduate school years (in the ISR's basement labs) and never had any connection to the Monitoring the Future project (the only 1980s-era student from the social psych grad program I can think of who worked on Monitoring the Future was Greg Diamond; you can see here where he has some publications from that work).

One of the undergraduate courses I teach at Texas Tech University is called Problems of Adolescence; I regularly refer to findings from the Monitoring the Future study in that class. In my other undergrad course, Research Methods, I draw upon various ISR studies as occasions warrant.

Some of the key areas covered in the Michigan Alumnus article (which was not very long) were:

*The potential applications of ISR research to public policy.

*ISR's role in helping develop social science research centers around the world.

*The long history of experimental/laboratory social research within ISR's Research Center for Group Dynamics.

*ISR's long history also in the field of longitudinal research.

Today, many UM social psych professors retain an ISR appointment, as seen on this list (not everyone on this list is a UM social psych professor; the social psych program is big, but not that big). Also, talks and other events continue to be held at ISR.

Although the ISR probably does not play as central a role in most social psych grad students' training as it once did, it is one of the many outstanding academic resources at UM.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

One of the more unique, although to outsiders, obscure, aspects of going to school at the University of Michigan is how early the academic year ends. I have purposely chosen to write this entry today, because today happens to be the final day of regular instruction for the Winter 2005 semester at UM.

As noted in the linked academic calendar, UM's classes end today, Tuesday, April 19. Students have Wednesday, April 20 (as well as the weekend) as study days, then begin final exams Thursday, April 21. Although various commencement activities appear to take place between April 29-May 1, the big graduation is Saturday, April 30 in Michigan Stadium (aka "The Big House," due to its current seating capacity of 107,501).

I never got to participate in a graduation at The Big House. I defended my dissertation in August, 1989, and so had to come back for the December graduation at Crisler Arena. I remember a couple of other students, Monica Biernat (social psych) and Dori Frewald (individually designed program in environmental psych) also coming back for that graduation. Having come in from Houston, where I was on a post doc, I got a major cold during that visit back to Ann Arbor.

At Texas Tech University, where I'm currently on the faculty, we don't end classes until May 3.

One way that UM gets to have its second semester end early is by starting early, January 5, this year (Texas Tech started only a week later, January 12, so there's got to be more to it than the starting date). UM is also known for its early spring break, usually beginning in late February.

Within the state of Michigan, at least, word gets around about UM's early end to school. As seen in this newsletter from Michigan Technological University, where there was a proposal a few years ago to cut back from 15-week to 14-week semesters, "...MTU students complain[ed] that students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, which has 13-1/2-week semesters, get a jump on summer jobs because their semester ends two weeks earlier."

I certainly enjoyed the early end to the second semester and the early start to summer. After the cold winters, it's nice to have some extra time to be outdoors, and the timing of the semester end allows more opportunity to travel during the summer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

One of my favorite things to do in the spring was to field a co-ed intramural (IM) volleyball team of social psychology graduate students (and also organizational psych students). We didn't have a team my first spring (1985), but did in '86, '87, '88, and '89.

Southern California is the hotbed of U.S. volleyball, where people grow up playing on the beach. Besides myself, others in the Michigan social psych program hailing from this region, who played one or more years on the IM team, included post doc Pete Ditto and grad student Kari Edwards. Org psych grad student Susan Hatter was from L.A. and had played volleyball for Swarthmore (Pennsylvania) as an undergrad. Social psych grad student Eric Lang was from even further west, Hawaii.

Some of the social psych grad students from the Midwest were also good. I remember seeing Paula Niedenthal, who went to undergrad college at Wisconsin, playing volleyball one year at the social psych program's beginning-of-the-school-year picnic and I knew I had to recruit her for the team. Steve Spencer, who came from Hope College in western Michigan, lent some height to the team; Steve's wife Shelly appeared to be an experienced, well-trained volleyball player and was a major asset the years she played.

Two additional organizational psych grad students who joined in with us were Philippe Byosiere and Helen Robillard.

(I hope I'm not omitting anyone; I'll certainly update this entry to add anyone I missed.)

Our games were played in the Intramural Building, a nice walk south several blocks from the heart of central campus on State St., then off on a side street.

Our games were always played on midweek evenings and afterwards, we frequently went to the Cottage Inn on William St. (near the Institute for Social Research, where we had our social psych offices) for pizza and whatever one's favorite beverage was.

In the early years of the team, we used to practice on weekends, but as time went on and we all got busier, we stopped doing so. I don't remember exactly what our records were in the IM competition, but I think we probably won at least as often as we lost.

Naturally, teams had to use three men and three women at all times. An additional rule was that, if a team used its full complement of three hits during a given possession (to try to dig, set, and spike the ball), a female player had to contact the ball at least once. One year, in honor of this rule, we named our team "She's Gotta Hit It," a play on a Spike Lee movie title from the same era, She's Gotta Have It.

Volleyball is probably as team-oriented a sport as any. Unlike in basketball, football, soccer, and hockey, where individual players can hold the ball (or puck) for several seconds at a time, volleyball players must perpetually and instantaneously direct the ball to a teammate (or hit it over the net). More so than in these other sports, volleyball players must have a constant awareness of their teammates' locations, creating an enhanced level of interdependence. In retrospect, it seems fitting for a team of social and organizational psychologists to gravitate to volleyball.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

According to this month's issue of the Ann Arbor Obserser, tonight is the 20th Anniversary Concert of the Chenille Sisters. The event is being held at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

The Chenille Sisters -- Cheryl Dawdy, Connie Huber, and Grace Morand -- used to play at free entertainment events in town, such as Top of the Park and the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. I first saw them play in the summer of either 1986 or '87. They were definitely a group I and a number of fellow graduate students enjoyed going to see.

The Observer characterizes the group as possessing an "unbeatable combination of breaktakingly precise and resonant vocal harmonies, a comic wit that's both corny and subversive, and a delightfully eclectic repertoire of original songs mixed with jazz, swing, folk, and blues standards."

A recent profile article in the Ann Arbor News contends that " would be tough to identify a local performer or group that has reached as many people or been as successful during the past 20 years as the Chenille Sisters."

That about sums it up!

I just found a pretty thorough list of funny folk songs and there's a pretty healthy-sized section on the Chenille Sisters.

Their song "Walk Like a Beautician" is a parody of the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian." One of the Chenille Sisters' members, Grace, is indeed a hair stylist, as noted in the Ann Arbor News article linked above. The Chenilles' version uses scissors (the sound of the two blades hitting each other at the end of each cutting motion) as a percussion instrument. Further, the part that the Bangles sing "Way-Oh, Way-Oh," the Chenilles sing, "Wave-Oh, Wave-Oh... Permanent Wave-Oh."

The Chenille Sisters also did a mid-90s PBS special that I watched while living in Buffalo, New York.

I hope to be able to see the Chenilles perform again in the future, either some time when I visit Ann Arbor or in another city.

Congratulations to the ladies!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

1980s Visiting Professors in Social Psychology

During the five years (give or take) of graduate school needed to complete the Ph.D. and amass enough publications to be competitive on the job market, students in the UM social psychology program can draw upon a number of resources. These include the faculty in social psychology and other disciplines, fellow students, and the "intellectual infrastructure" on campus (e.g., research centers, libraries).

Professors from other universities who spend a semester or year at UM are additional assets to the program. Ideally, the arrival of visiting professors will initiate a mutual cross-fertilization of research ideas and skills, benefiting both the visitor and host institution.

During my five years (1984-1989) as a graduate student in the UM social psych program, we had at least six prominent social-personality psychologists serve as visiting professors. They are listed below in roughly chronological order (note, I have updated the entries, based on feedback by two of the former visiting professors; the new information is shown in italics):

Alice Isen spent the entire 1984-85 year at Michigan. For over 30 years (including the time she was at Michigan), she has studied how being in a positive mood influences an individual's behavior and cognition. Research on affect and cognition was a key part of the UM social psych program in the 1980s, with Bob Zajonc and many students working in that area. Alice's presence strengthened the program's research portfolio on affect, both by bringing in additional perspectives and increasing the opportunity for graduate students to conduct research on the topic.

The one student, I recall, who worked closely with Alice was Greg Diamond. The following publication is a product of this collaboration:

Isen, A.M., & Diamond, G.A. (1989). Affect and automaticity. In J. Uleman & J. Bargh (Eds.) Unintended Thought (pp. 124-152). NY: Guilford.

Alice later notified me that:

While I was at Michigan, I also worked with Paula Niedenthal and Nancy Cantor, producing the following paper:

Isen, A.M., Niedenthal, P., and Cantor, N. (1992). The influence of positive affect on social categorization. Motivation and Emotion, 16, 65-78.

Susan Fiske spent the Fall '84 semester at UM. I remember Susan appearing before our little informal first-year social psych grad-student seminar to talk about her research (I was also part of the team to meet with Susan in advance of her presentation). Her book (with Shelley Taylor) Social Cognition came out that year.

After 20 years, it's hard for me to remember the details of what Susan discussed (both at the preparatory meeting and with the full group), but I recall some type of "piecemeal" processing model she was working on (see the list of publications from that era on her vita, which is linked to the beginning of the previous paragraph). I can't remember if this was related or not, but Susan discussed primacy effects in person perception, including Asch's "change of meaning" theory. Susan also studied political psychology, publishing some articles with UM's Don Kinder.

Suzanne Thompson visited in the Winter 1985 semester. She is probably most identified with health psychology, stress and coping, and perceptions of control. Suzanne's vita (see link at beginning of this paragraph) contains the following publication:

Davis, C. G., Lehman, D. R., Wortman, C. B., Silver, R. C., & Thompson, S. C. (1995). The undoing of traumatic life events. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 109-124.

Although the publication date of this article is a decade after Suzanne's semester as a visiting professor, it's at least conceivable that this collaboration stems from her time in Ann Arbor (Camille Wortman was a UM professor at the time and Darrin Lehman was a graduate student; Roxy Silver, a student of Camille's from back at Northwestern, later was a visiting researcher at UM's Institute for Social Research).

Suzanne received her Ph.D. at UCLA, working with Hal Kelley and Shelley Taylor (it's hard to get better training than that!). Suzanne gave a Group Dynamics Seminar at UM on attributions of intentionality, which may have derived from her work with Kelley. In fact, I still have the handout from that talk, which took place on March 26, 1985.

Bill Graziano, whose academic interests fall at the intersection of social, personality, and developmental psychology, was a visiting professor of developmental psych during at least the Winter 1985 semester, if not the full 1984-85 academic year. Based at the University of Georgia at the time, Bill later spent many years on the faculty at Texas A&M University. After my arrival in 1997 as a faculty member at Texas Tech University, Bill and I were able to renew our acquaintanceship at SPIT (Social Psychologists in Texas) conferences.

As can be seen from the link to Bill's current homepage at the beginning of the previous paragraph, he now chairs the Department of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. I am in a similar department at Texas Tech, Human Development and Family Studies. Largely as a result of our being in the same kind of department, I have been seeing Bill increasingly at conferences of organizations such as the Society for Research in Child Development, National Council on Family Relations, and International Association for Relationship Research.

Bernie Weiner, himself a UM Ph.D. and for many years a professor at UCLA, came back to his graduate alma mater as a visitor during the Winter 1987 semester. Since I had received my bachelor's degree from UCLA, I quickly introduced myself to Bernie upon his return to Michigan. I always visit UCLA when I go home to see my family in Los Angeles and often run into Bernie, either in the UCLA psychology department (Franz Hall) or at Pauley Pavilion, home of Bruin basketball.

Reuben Baron, now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, visited UM in Fall 1988 (as he updated me). Reuben received his Ph.D. from NYU (not at Michigan, as I originally wrote). However, he spent a post-doctoral year with Herb Kelman at Michigan in 1962-63. Reuben's son Michael was in school at UM in 1988; I had Michael in the small section of intro psych that I taught.

I remember that Reuben, who described himself as a "neo-Gibsonian," and James Hilton, a traditional person-perception/self-fulfilling prophecy scholar, had some extended talks about perception and the nature of stimuli; they even gave a joint presentation on this topic.

In recent years, Reuben has applied his interest in perception in another direction, namely art. He is a curator and art critic. As seen in this art review that he co-wrote, Reuben continues to draw upon social psychological research.

He also manages to keep a hand in social psychology. He is carrying out NSF-sponsored research on cooperation as well as being a co-editor (with Eagly and Hamilton) and chapter author of a Festscrift volume dedicated to the work of Herb Kelman, The Social Psychology of Group Identity and Social Conflict (2004, APA Press).

All told, the six visiting professors all brought their considerable expertise to UM and complemented existing research areas. There is no question they enriched the students' graduate education. I hope the visitors feel they benefited, as well, from their Michigan experiences. I continue to stay in touch with many of these professors, at least via occasional exchanges of e-mail or by running into them at conferences.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Social Psychologists Who Spent Time at Both Michigan and Stanford

In my June 5, 2004 entry (June 2004 archives), I presented a list of all known social psychologists (and individuals in related fields) having ties to both the University of Michigan and UCLA (I thank many colleagues for helping augment my list).

I now present the second installment of the series, this time focusing on overlap between Michigan and Stanford. And, as you'll see in the list below, there's a lot of it. Virtually all of the connections with which I've come up are at the graduate-student level and higher (e.g., post-doctoral fellowship, faculty). I'd have to think there are additional people, beyond the few I have, who went to Michigan or Stanford as an undergraduate, then went to the other school in some later capacity. Please let me know of such individuals (or any other people I'm missing at any level).

Here, now, is the list (updated as of February 10, 2006):

Stanford undergraduate-UM graduate student

Geoff Fong

Stanford undergraduate-UM faculty member

Donald Kinder (trained as a social psychologist, on the political science faculty)
Laura Klem (Senior Research Associate, Center for Statistical Consultation and Research)
Lorraine Gutierrez (joint social work/psychology; also attended grad school at Michigan)

UM undergraduate-Stanford post doc

John (Jack) Mayer

UM undergraduate-Stanford faculty member

Barbara Gans Tversky (cognitive psych; also attended grad school at Michigan)

Stanford graduate student-UM faculty member

Angus Campbell
Nancy Cantor (now Chancellor at Syracuse University)
Barbara Fredrickson
Susan Gelman (developmental psych)
Rich Gonzalez
John Hagen (developmental psych)
Barbara Smuts (biopsychology)
Harold Stevenson (developmental psych, emeritus)

UM graduate student-Stanford post doc

Christy Miller Buchanan (developmental psych)
Julie Garcia (post doc upcoming)
Joseph Mikels
Daryl Wout
Elissa Wurf

UM graduate student-Stanford faculty member

Daryl Bem (now at Cornell)
Sandra Bem (now at Cornell)
Jon Krosnick (social psych Ph.D., faculty appointments in communication, political science, and psychology)
Eleanor Maccoby (developmental psych)
Michael Morris (business, now at Columbia University)
Robert Roeser (ed psych, currently W.T. Grant scholar)
Larissa Tiedens (business)
Amos Tversky (deceased)

Faculty at both Stanford and UM

Phoebe Ellsworth (also received Ph.D. from Stanford)
Leon Festinger (deceased)
Hazel Markus (also received Ph.D. from Michigan)
Susan Nolen-Hoeksema (clinical psych, now at Yale)
Edward E. Smith (cognitive science; also received Ph.D. from Michigan)
Claude Steele
Bob Zajonc (also received undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from Michigan)


Phil Converse (former director of both UM's Institute for Social Research and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, which, though not officially affiliated with Stanford, is on Stanford property)

I want to thank the following people for their comments and for suggesting individuals for the list, beyond those I had initially put up: David Buss, Barbara Fredrickson, Julie Garcia, Jon Krosnick, Mark Lepper, John (Jack) Mayer, Jennifer Overbeck, Steve Peck, David Sears, and Christian Waugh.

I'll continue doing these Michigan/other school linkages. Please send me your suggestions of schools to link with Michigan!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It was just recently announced that James Jackson will become the new director of the UM's Institute for Social Research (ISR). The news release gives a pretty extensive summary of his career history and achievements, so I won't repeat it.

James was the social psychology area chair when my cohort entered the graduate program in Fall 1984. In that capacity, James presided over our first-year students' introductory seminar, helping socialize us into the program and the field. I always found him very enthusiastic and very helpful.

Congratulations to James!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Mark Blumenthal, who operates the website Mystery Pollster (and who, as noted in my October 18, 2004 entry, did his undergraduate work at UM; click for October 2004 archives) recently reviewed polling data on President Bush's Social Security proposals. In my opinion, Mark's is the webpage of record for explaining the mechanics of polling to a general audience.

In analyzing recent polls on Social Security, Mark invokes the concept of "non-attitudes," coined by Phil Converse. "Non-attitudes" refer to opinions that are spontaneously generated by respondents who want to create the impression they are well-informed. Converse, though best known in political science circles, received his training as a social psychologist.

For nearly the entire time that my cohort and I were in graduate school at Michigan, Converse was the director of the Institute for Social Research, where social psychology faculty and student offices were located at the time. Converse then moved in 1989 to become director of Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a position he held until 1994.

Converse is today listed as a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Michigan.

In at least two of the graduate courses I took at UM -- Hazel Markus's on advanced social psychology and Don Kinder's on public opinion -- we covered Converse's work.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Today marks the exact one-year anniversary of the launching of this website. During the first year, I wrote 46 entries, close to my goal of weekly postings (the most recent writings are shown further down on this page, whereas older ones are automatically moved to the archives, which can be accessed via headings over to the right, midway down). This website has helped put me back in contact with several classmates and professors from my Michigan days. I've enjoyed working on the website and I hope you have enjoyed reading it.

I will, of course, continue to post writings. However, to really keep this page fresh and vibrant, I would like to invite all of you out there who have any sort of connection to the Michigan social psych program to supply me with "guest commentator" write-ups.

You can discuss anything, including your favorite research projects, professors, courses, parts of campus, Ann Arbor establishments, etc. If you had to boil down your favorite or most significant UM experience, what would it be?

You can just e-mail me some text (a link to my Texas Tech faculty webpage, which has an e-mail link, is available in the upper right of this page) and I'll put it up. I really want to make this website an historical repository (an electronic yearbook or scrapbook, if you will) and having multiple contributors will help immensely.

I hope to continue with this website for a very long time and, as always, Go Blue!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

One aspect of life at the University of Michigan people who go there know they'll have to put up with is the cold winter weather. In thinking about the coldest days I could remember, I'm highly confident that the most severe weather occurred exactly 20 years ago to this day.

January 20, 1985 was a Sunday, a Super Bowl Sunday, in fact. It was also, of course, a presidential inauguration day, for Reagan's second term (more on that later). The combination of these two major national events makes the date very memorable.

The Ann Arbor weather that day, as I recall, was around -40°F with the wind chill factor. And windy it was! Being out in that weather was literally painful to my exposed skin.

Two grad students hosted a Super Bowl party at their apartment. I lived in the graduate dorms on North Campus that year (my first year) and the party was at an apartment complex south of campus near the Briarwood Mall, so I got a ride from someone.

Other than walking for a few minutes at a time between residences and the car, I was indoors all day, but even the relatively short periods outside were highly memorable.

The bitter cold spell was not limited to the state of Michigan or even the Midwest. In fact, it went as far east and south as Washington, DC, where the inauguration was taking place. As described in a history of the second Reagan inauguration:

"Because January 20, 1985 fell on a Sunday, the public Inauguration ceremony was scheduled for Monday, January 21, 1985. Reagan was sworn in privately on January 20. Owing to record cold temperatures on January 21, 1985, however, the public Inauguration ceremony was moved indoors to the Rotunda, and became a semiprivate ceremony."

For the record, the DC temperature was reported to range from -10°F to -20°F wind chill.

For my remaining years of graduate school (ending in 1989), I lived in apartments in the Central Campus area, where virtually everywhere one would want to go was within short walking distance. During these latter years, I remember two or three other occasions where I thought, "Wow, this is really cold!," but these did not match the intensity of January 20, 1985.

I remember being told once that, ostensibly because such a high percentage of the people who need to be on campus (i.e., faculty, staff, and students) live within walking distance of the university, UM has never once cancelled classes due to inclement weather. That may be an overstatement, but I don't recall any cancellations during my five years.

I just checked the Weather Channel's Ann Arbor data (see link in upper right-hand corner) and for the present January (2005) to date, the average high temperature has been 30°F. This confirms my impression that the Super Bowl/Inauguration weekend 20 years ago was unusually cold.

Lastly, I want to add that while the weather may deter some people from going to UM, I was one of three Californians in my entering social psychology graduate cohort and there were additional Californians in other years (and even one person from Hawaii, Eric Lang).

Friday, January 07, 2005

Within social psychology, most observers would consider the top three empirical research journals to be the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP), Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (PSPB), and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (JESP). Unlike medical journals that sometimes have one-word names such as Eye, Pain, and Thorax, social psychology journals have long names that necessitate the use of the aforementioned abbreviations in our conversations.

Just as January marks the start of a new year, it also marks the beginning of a new annual volume for most academic journals, at least those that publish monthly (some journals publish two or more volumes a year, but one of them would often start in January). The beginning of a new publishing year provides a nice opportunity to note the 1980s-era University of Michigan social psych Ph.D.'s serving in editorial roles for these three social/personality journals.

Most journals in the field tend to have the same editorial structure. Each journal has an editor, a small set of associate editors, and a pretty large board of consulting editors. When an author submits a manuscript to a journal to be considered for publication, the editor will either oversee the review process for that manuscript him/herself or transfer it to an associate editor to oversee. The editor/associate editor will generally send the manuscript to around 3-5 reviewers (from among the consulting editors and experts not on the board, the latter being known as "ad hoc reviewers"). The editor/associate editor overseeing the review of a given manuscript will then integrate the reviewers' evaluative comments along with his/her own independent judgment, leading to an editorial decision of accept, revise-and-resubmit, or reject (immediate acceptances are extremely rare).

At this moment, there is at least one UM Ph.D. grad serving as an associate editor at all three of the social/personality journals listed above. JPSP is such a large journal that it is divided into three subsections: Attitudes and Social Cognition, Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, and Personality Processes and Individual Differences. Monica Biernat serves as an associate editor for the Attitudes and Social Cognition section of JPSP (this latter link takes you to lists of the editorial teams for all three JPSP sections).

PSPB's list of associate editors includes two Michigan grads, Paula Niedenthal and Bill von Hippel.

Finally, Steve Spencer is an associate editor for JESP.

In looking at the larger category of consulting editors for these journals (available via the above links), the Michigan alums (and post docs) listed are too numerous to mention. I particularly applaud the associate editors, however. I have only served as a reviewer (both as a consulting editor for JPSP in previous years and as an ad hoc reviewer for many journals), and simply reviewing a manuscript is a lot of work. I'd imagine that the effort must be magnified considerably for an associate editor or editor.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy new year to everybody! Later today, Michigan will be playing in the Rose Bowl against the University of Texas. As I've noted in previous postings, I've lost considerable interest in football over the years, due to the violence and injuries of the sport. Football is, however, an enormous part of the fabric of the University of Michigan, so I think at least a brief mention of the Wolverines' bowl-game history is warranted. Further, this provides me an opportunity to recommend a major book that came out a few years ago on the role of athletics in university life.

First, regarding today's game, this will be Michigan's 19th appearance in the Rose Bowl, played in Pasadena, California (I found a web document on Michigan's history of bowl appearances, which is up to date through January 1, 2003; the Wolverines have also earned trips to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day of 2004 and 2005). In fact, dating from when a previous policy forbidding the Big Ten from sending teams to any other bowl besides the Rose Bowl was eliminated in the mid-1970s, Michigan has made it to a bowl game for 30 straight seasons. And these bowl appearances have often been of the prestigious New Year's Day variety.

Based upon an unscientific survey I recently conducted of family members with Michigan ties, there seems to be somewhat less enthusiasm for the Wolverines' Rose Bowl game this year than in previous ones. This probably stems in large part from the fact Michigan lost its traditional regular-season finale to Ohio State and made the Rose Bowl only through losses by key Big Ten rivals.

Further, the Rose Bowl has traditionally pitted the champions of the Big Ten and Pacific Ten conferences. However, this year, Pac Ten champion USC is playing in the Orange Bowl, under a relatively new provision that if a Big Ten or Pac Ten team is ranked in the top two nationally heading into the bowls, then traditional conference linkages to particular bowls can be overridden to let the top two teams play for the national championship. As a result, Michigan is playing a non-Pac Ten opponent, in the Texas Longhorns. Just as a matter of novelty, I would think the Texas team and its fans would be more fired up for the game than their Michigan counterparts. However, once the game starts, Michigan should be fired up, too (if the players weren't already).

As I suggested above, football is a major part of UM's identity, both to the external public and to people associated with the school. What else can be said about a university whose home games consistently draw over 100,000 fans per game? How should we feel, both at Michigan and elsewhere, about the huge role of athletics in university life, with tens of millions of dollars being used to build palatial sports facilities, coaches at big-name schools making salaries perhaps 10 or 20 (or more) times those of faculty members, and schools' lowering their admissions requirements for athletes (relative to students at large at the same institutions)?

As someone who is both a sports fan and one who cares deeply about universities' academic missions, I have been concerned about this issue for a long time and have sought out information on the topic. One source I would highly recommend is the 2001 book The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values, by James L. Shulman and William G. Bowen.

Shulman and Bowen begin by reviewing mission statements from some select universities and asking, "How, then, does intercollegiate athletics relate to such missions?" (p. 3). The authors then present an enormous research study of three generations of alumni (some of whom were athletes) at 30 academically selective universities, including the University of Michigan. From admissions to academic performance while in college to post-college achievements, the book provides statistical analyses on virtually every kind of comparison imaginable -- high-profile sport-, low-profile sport-, and non-athletes; participants in men's and women's sports; and alumni from different generations. The appendices have a lot of further information, including athletic budgets from the schools in the study.

Lastly, and tying this all back to Michigan social psychology, two former UM professors are mentioned in the book. Nancy Cantor, who as discussed in my February 20, 2004 entry (February 2004 archives), is now the Chancellor at Syracuse University, gave one of the testimonial blurbs on the back of the book and had some of her research cited inside. Also, the research of Claude Steele, who moved from Michigan to Stanford over a decade ago, is featured in the book.