Social-Personality Psychology

Section 1

Social-Personality Division

Program Description

The graduate program in Social-Personality Psychology at the University of Illinois is one of the oldest and most respected in the country. More research conducted at University of Illinois labs has appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology than from any other university in the world (Quinones-Vidal et al., 2004, p. 436). The program provides intensive training in research methods, statistical analysis, and a wide array of theoretical perspectives sharing the theme of the cognitive and emotional basis of social interaction.

Social psychology emphasizes the power of the social situation as a determinant of individual behavior, thinking, and emotion. Personality psychology emphasizes characteristics of the individual that are stable over time but which also determine the individual's behavior, thinking, and emotion. The social-personality program provides particular emphasis on attitudes, culture, emotion, attachment, close relationships, personality development and assessment, genetic and environmental etiology of individual differences, social cognition, social status and power, religion, and subjective well-being.


Students may specialize in social psychology, personality psychology, or both. Students also may take advantage of related courses offered in Industrial-Organizational psychology. The program is designed to train students to become contributing scientists in academic or applied settings and to become teachers at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Over the course of the program, students and advisor work together to design a program of study fitted to the student's particular needs and interests. The program places a heavy emphasis on original research from the beginning of graduate studies, and all students complete a first-year research project which they then present in the weekly brown bag seminar for the social-personality program.

Facilities and Resources

Students have access to state-of-the-art research facilities. Laboratories are run by individual faculty members, and include small cubicles for individual computer testing, small conference rooms for group interaction, and large rooms for mass questionnaire testing.

Affiliated Departments, Programs, and Institutes

The social-personality program is closely aligned with the program in Industrial-Organizational psychology. In addition, faculty with training in social and personality psychology are to be found in other departments across the university, specializing in advertising, communications, marketing, and organizational behavior.

Social-Personality Psychology Faculty

Dolores Albarracin, Professor

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Dr. Albarracin specializes in attitudes and persuasion, the intention-behavior relation, goals, predicting general activity patterns, predicting and changing health risk behaviors, and reviewing the effects of behavioral and clinical treatments in various settings (e.g., through meta-analaysis and clinical trials).

Office: Room 423 | (217) 244-7019 |

Daniel Briley, Assistant Professor

Daniel Briley

How individuals’ unique genetic dispositions dynamically shape and interact with their environments to influence personality and cognitive ability, and how these characteristics in turn affect meaningful life outcomes, including academic achievement, fertility, and social mobility.

Office: Room 417 | (217) 265-6807 |

Joey Cheng, Assistant Professor

Joey Cheng

Dr. Cheng’s research examines the psychological underpinnings of social hierarchy, overconfidence, and competition. She explores questions such as: How do people rise to influence in groups? What vocal signals do people use to communicate status? What causes people to become overconfident? What are the social costs and benefits to being competitive?

Office: Room 415 | (217) 265-6805 |

Dov Cohen, Professor

Dov Cohen

Cultural continuity and change, including culture and different perspectives on the self, cultural syndromes of honor, dignity, and face; language use; the interactions of people, culture, and situations.

Office: Room 413 | (217) 244-5830 |

Jaime Derringer, Assistant Professor

Jaime Derringer

I am interested in how genetic and environmental influences explain individual differences in human behavior

Office: Room 418 | (217) 333-0631 |

R. Chris Fraley, Professor

R. Chris Fraley

Attachment theory and close relationships; personality development and organization; social cognition and affect; evolutionary psychology.

Office: Room 409 | (217) 333-3486 |

Sean Laurent, Assistant Professor

Sean Laurent

My research interests include social and moral cognition, blame and praise, intentionality, causality, and mental states, perspective taking and empathy, and psychology and the law.

Office: Room 235 | (217) 300-4720 |

Andrea Miller, Visiting Assistant Professor

Andrea Miller

Dr. Miller’s research examines the social-psychological foundations of prejudice, discrimination, and inequality, particularly as they interact with the law.

Office: Room 414 | (217) 300-4703 |

Brent W. Roberts, Professor

Brent W. Roberts

Dr. Roberts's primary line of research is dedicated to understanding the patterns of continuity and change in personality across the decades of adulthood and the mechanisms that affect these patterns.

Office: Room 411 | (217) 333-2644 |

Chadly Stern, Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor Chadly Stern

Dr. Stern's research examines how the motivations of liberals and conservatives influence their perceptions of the social world, and how these perceptions can shape large-scale outcomes.

Office: Room 433 | (217) 300-4639 |


Associated Faculty

Ed Diener, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology (Emeritus)

Ed Diener

Subjective well-being and life satisfaction; measuring well-being; cross-cultural differences in subjective well-being; personality and well-being.

Office: Room 415 | (217) 333-4804 |


Facilities Information

Building Remodeling Projects

Click on the title to check out these pictures from the classroom remodeling project in the basement. A second project to replace the elevators will begin in September. Beginning with the freight elevator, each elevator will be out of service for three months. To get quickly from one floor to another, and improve your fitness, we will encourage the use of the stairs. The repainting of the northeast stairwell has been completed, and the painter is starting on the southwest stairwell.