Two basic ideas motivate my research
The first idea is that social psychological theory offers potentially useful tools for changing society in constructive ways. The second idea is that studying attempts to change society is one of the most fruitful ways to develop and assess social psychological theory. Much of my work has focused on prejudice and conflict reduction, using large-scale field experiments to test theoretically driven interventions.
Through field experiments in Central and Horn of Africa and in the United States, I have examined the impact of the mass media and interpersonal communication on tolerant and cooperative behaviors. I find support for a behavioral change model based on social norms and group influence. To change behavior, I suggest, it may be more fruitful to target citizens’ perceptions of typical or desirable behaviors (i.e. social norms) than their knowledge or beliefs. How do social norms and behaviors shift in real world settings? Some initial suggestions from this research include peer or role model endorsement, narrative communication, and group discussion. My work in post-conflict countries has led to related research on political cultural change and on the use of social networks for studying peer influence. I am also interested in social scientific methodology—particularly causal inference and behavioral measurement.
Below, I group peer-reviewed articles and chapters on these topics into five overlapping categories:
- social norms, networks, and influence
- media effects
- prejudice and conflict reduction
Social norms, networks, and influence
Project in progress: When the sorting hat sorts randomly: A natural experiment on culture (with Joan Ricart-Huguet).
Tankard, M., & Paluck, E.L. (2017). The effect of a supreme court decision regarding gay marriage on social norms and personal attitudes. Psychological Science, 1-11 doi: 10.1177/0956797617709594 .
Paluck, E.L. Shepherd, H., & Aronow, P. (2016). Changing climates of conflict: A social network driven experiment in 56 schools. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
See project site: njroots.princeton.edu/
Shepherd, H., & Paluck, E.L. (2015). Stopping the drama: A field experiment on network signals, gender, and social influence in a high school. Social Psychology Quarterly.
Paluck, E.L., & Shepherd, H. (2012). The salience of social referents: A field experiment on collective norms and harassment behavior in a school social network. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, p. 899-915.
Paluck, E.L. (2011). Peer pressure against prejudice: A high school field experiment examining social network change. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 350-358.
Blair, G., Littman, R., Paluck, E.L. (under review). Motivating the adoption of new community-minded behaviors: An empirical test in Nigeria.
Paluck, E.L., Blair, G., & Vexler, D. (in prep). Entertaining, informing, and discussing: Behavioral effects of a post-conflict radio intervention in Southern Sudan.
Paluck, E.L., Shafir, E., & Wu, S. (2017). Ignoring alarming news brings indifference. Cognition
Paluck, E.L., Lagunes, P., Green, D.G., Vavreck, L., Peer, L., & Gomila, R. (2015). Does Product Placement Change Television Viewers’ Social Behavior? PLOS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138610.
Paluck, E.L. (2012). Media as an instrument for reconstructing communities following conflict. In K. Jonas & T. Morton (Eds.), Restoring civil societies: The psychology of intervention and engagement following crisis. Wiley-Blackwell.
Trujillo, M., & Paluck, E.L. (2011). The devil knows best: Experimental effects of a televised soap opera on Latino trust in government and support for the 2010 Census. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2011.01249.x
Paluck, E.L. (2010). Is it better not to talk? Group polarization, extended contact, and perspective-taking in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1170-1185.
Paluck, E.L. & Green, D.P. (2009). Deference, dissent, and dispute resolution: A field experiment on a mass media intervention in Rwanda. American Political Science Review, 103(4), 622-644.
-Heinz I. Eulau Award recipient
Paluck, E.L. (2009). Reducing intergroup prejudice and conflict using the media: A field experiment in Rwanda. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 574-587.
-Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize Honorable mention
Paluck, E.L. (2009). What’s in a norm? Sources and processes of norm change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 594-600.
Prejudice and conflict reduction
The contact hypothesis re-examined. (with Seth Green and Donald P. Green).
Chwe, M., & Paluck, E.L. (in press). Confronting hate collectively. PS: Political Science and Politics.
Paluck, E.L. (2016). How to overcome prejudice. Science. 352(6282), 147.
Littman, R., & Paluck., E.L. (2015). The Cycle of Violence: Understanding individual participation in collective violence. Advances in Political Psychology, 36, 79-99.
Cikara, M., & Paluck, E.L. (2013). When going along gets you nowhere. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7/8, 559–571.
Paluck, E.L. (2012). The dominance of the individual in intergroup relations research: Understanding social change requires psychological theories of collective and structural phenomena. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35, 451-66. (see target article with all comments.)
Paluck, E.L. (2012). Prejudice and conflict reduction interventions. In L. Tropp (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict. Oxford University Press.
Paluck, E.L., & Green, D.P. (2009). Prejudice reduction: What works? A critical look at evidence from the field and the laboratory. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 339–367.
Nagda, B., Paluck, E.L., Tropp, L.T., Eds. (2006). Reducing Prejudice and Promoting Social Inclusion: Integrating Research, Theory, and Practice on Intergroup Relations. Journal of Social Issues Special Issue.
Paluck, E.L. (2006). Diversity training and intergroup contact: A call to action research. Journal of Social Issues, 62(3), 439-451.
Nagda, B., Tropp, L.T., Paluck, E.L. (2006). Looking back as we look ahead: Integrating research, theory, and practice on intergroup relations. Journal of Social Issues, 62(3), 439-451.
Uhlmann, E., Brescoll, V.L., & Paluck, E.L. (2006). Are members of low status groups perceived as bad, or badly off? Egalitarian negative associations and automatic prejudice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42(4), 491-499.
Gomila, R., Littman, R., Blair, G., & Paluck, E.L. (in press). Audio recording interviews to eliminate ongoing data-fabrication: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment in Nigeria. Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Paluck, E.L. & Shafir, E. (in press). The Psychology of Construal in the Design of Field Experiments. To appear in Handbook of Field Experiments, Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee, Eds. Elsevier.
Nosek, B. A., Alter, G., Banks, G. C., Borsboom, D., Bowman, S. D., Breckler, S. J., Buck, S., Chambers, C. D., Chin, G., Christensen, G., Contestabile, M., Dafoe, A., Eich, E., Freese, J., Glennerster, R., Goroff, D., Green, D. P., Hesse, B., Humphreys, M., Ishiyama, J., Karlan, D., Kraut, A., Lupia, A., Mabry, P., Madon, T. A., Malhotra, N., Mayo-Wilson, E., McNutt, M., Miguel, E., Levy Paluck, E., Simonsohn, U., Soderberg, C., Spellman, B. A., Turitto, J., VandenBos, G., Vazire, S., Wagenmakers, E. J., Wilson, R., & Yarkoni, T. (2015). Promoting an open research culture. Science, 348, 1422-1425.
Ditlmann, R., & Paluck, E.L. (2015). Field Experiments. International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Paluck, E.L., & Cialdini, R. (2014). Field research methods. Handbook of Research Methods in Personality and Social Psychology. Reis, H. T., & Judd, C. M., (Eds). Cambridge University Press.
Paluck, E.L. (2010). The promising integration of field experimentation and qualitative methods. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 628, 59-71.
Paluck, E.L. (2009). Methods and ethics with research teams and NGOs: Comparing experiences across the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. In C. Sriram et al. (Eds.), Surviving Research: Working in Violent and Difficult Situations. Routledge.
Paluck, E.L. (2009). Qualitative research and field experiments. Qualitative Methods.
Project in progress: Saving money on your own, or in solidarity: An experiment on women’s empowerment and intimate partner violence in Colombia. (Margaret Tankard's dissertation, with Betsy Levy Paluck and Deborah Prentice.)
Codebook | Analysis Registration
Annan, J., Neel, A., Paluck, E.L., & Tankard, M. (in prep). Reducing gender based violence in fragile and conflict affected states. World Bank White Paper.
Ball, L., Paluck, E.L., & Fletcher, E. (2012). Reducing gender based violence. In M.Ryan & N. Branscombe, (Eds.). Handbook on Gender and Psychology. Sage.
Paluck, E.L., & Ball, L. (2010). Social norms marketing aimed at gender based violence: A literature review and critical assessment. New York: International Rescue Committee. Briefcase. Bibliography.
Williams, M., Paluck, E.L., Rodgers, J., (2010). The masculinity of money: Automatic stereotypes predict gender differences in estimated salaries. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34, 7-20.
LaFrance, M., Paluck, E. L., & Brescoll, V. (2004). Sex changes: A current perspective on the psychology of gender. In Beall, A., Sternberg, R.J., & Eagly, A., (Eds.) The Psychology of Gender. New York: Guilford Press.
LaFrance, M., Hecht, M., & Paluck, E. L. (2003). The contingent smile: A meta-analysis of sex differences in smiling. Psychological Bulletin, 129(2), 305-334.
Hunger and decision-making (with Eldar Shafir, Rebecca Littman, and Sendhil Mullainathan)
Cikara, M., Hasson, U., Honey, C., & Paluck, E.L. (in prep). Understanding neural processing of (dis)agreeable communication.