Social Psychology

Top row: Max Guyll (emeritus), 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 research and teaching position in both academia and industry. Admissions decisions are based on grades, prior research experience, letters of recommendation, and fit with faculty research interests.

Former Graduates (Selected)



Job Title


Abby Boytos 2022 Assistant Professor Seton Hill
Kathryn Bunda Pluta 2022 Post Doctoral Scholar University of Florida
Vanessa Castillo 2022 Assistant Professor Coe College
Marielle Machacek 2022 Research Psychologist Center for Army Leadership
Ryan Ditchfield 2021 Assistant Professor CA State University, Fresno
Nicole Hayes 2021 Post Doctoral Scholar Iowa State University
Minjoo Joo 2021 Assistant Professor Duke Kunshan University
Jeffrey Rokkum 2021 Senior UX Researcher Jackrabbit Online Class Management Software
Johnie Allen 2020 Data Analyst Epic Games
Lanmiao He 2020 Data Scientist Hy-Vee, Inc.
Kelly Kane 2020 Assistant Professor Elmira College
Ann Lewis 2020 Senior Prod Manager Data & Analytics Outreach
Curt More 2020 Lecturer University of Dundee
Kimberly More 2020 Lecturer University of Dundee
Adele Quigley McBride 2020 Postdoctoral Associate Duke Law
Michael Tynan 2020 Lecturer Iowa State University
Adrienne Austin 2019 Program Specialist US Dept of Health & Human Services
Garrett Hisler 2019 Clinical Research Associate SilverCloud Health
Christopher Groves 2018 Assistant Professor University of WI, Oshkosh
Justin Russell 2018 Postdoctoral Fellow University of WI, Madison