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.