Social Psychology

Top row: Max Guyll (no longer with the university), Stephanie Madon (emeritus), Craig Anderson, Kevin Blankenship, Susan Cross, Marcus Crede, Douglas Gentile. Bottom row: Kristi Costabile, Gary Wells, Alison Phillips, Zlatan Krizan


The social psychology program at Iowa State University is grounded in basic and applied research. The faculty are internationally recognized for their contributions to the areas of attitudes, aggression, culture, eyewitness identification, health, media violence, personality, police interrogation, social cognition, and quantitative psychology. Several faculty in the social area affiliate with the department’s concentration in psychology and law or one or more of the department’s research clusters. Faculty are supported by external research grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, National Institute of Justice, and private foundations. Questions about the social program may be directed to the social area coordinator, Dr. Alison Phillips ( 

Graduate Training

Graduate students in the program learn the theoretical and conceptual bases of social psychology, acquire strong methodological and statistical competencies, and develop critical skills in the areas of teaching and writing through course work, empirical research, and interactions with their major professor(s). Students and faculty disseminate their research through conference presentations and publications. Most social area graduate students obtain academic positions in universities and colleges, though some pursue career options in private research sectors. Historically, all graduate students in the social area have been fully funded as research and/or teaching assistants throughout their time in the program.

First year students become involved in the research programs of one or two social faculty immediately upon entering the program. The department prides itself on the relatively low student-to-faculty ratio, which allows for extensive individualized training. By the end of the first year, students are ready to begin the development of their master’s thesis research. Following the successful defense of their master’s thesis and completion of preliminary exams, each student works closely with her or his major professor, developing and carrying out a variety of research ideas, one of which culminates in the dissertation proposal. Students become increasingly independent throughout this process, and ultimately develop the competencies and experience to transition into faculty positions themselves. Admissions decisions are based on GRE scores, grades, prior research experience, letters of recommendation, and fit with faculty research interests.

2022 Recruitment:

The following faculty are interested in recruiting a new graduate student for 2022:

Craig Anderson

Kevin Blankenship

Kristi Costabile

Marcus Crede

Douglas Gentile

Zlatan Krizan

Alison Phillips

Former Graduates (Selected)




Ryan Ditchfield 2021 California State University, Fresno
Yueran Yang 2016 University of Nevada, Reno
Ceren Gunsoy 2016 Clemson University
Laura Smalarz 2015 Williams College (now at Arizona State University)
Kyle Scherr 2011 Western Michigan University
Muniba Saleem 2011 University of Michigan
Rachel Reimer 2009 Des Moines University
Jennifer Willard 2008 Kennesaw State University
Michelle Stock 2007 George Washington University
Jonathan Gore 2005 University of Eastern Kentucky
Amy Bradfield 2001 Bates College
Pamela Bacon 2001 St. Benedict’s College/St. John’s University
Laura Madson 1996 New Mexico State University
Paul Windschitl 1996 University of Iowa