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Penny Star

The University of Chicago
Department of Psychology
5848 South University Ave
Chicago, IL, 60637

Office: (773) 834-8196
Office: Kelly Hall, 414
Labs: Kelly Hall, 401, 403, 405


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Penny Visser

Biography

I earned my undergraduate degree at Grand Valley State University in 1993, and my MA and Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1995 and 1998, respectively. In graduate school, my primary area of training was social psychology but I also earned minors in Political Science and in Quantitative Psychology.

I was an assistant professor at Princeton University from 1998 through 2001, with a joint appointment in the Psychology Department and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. I joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 2001.

Research Interests

I am primarily interested in attitudes - how they influence the way we process information, how they motivate and guide our behavior, how they are influenced by the social context in which we hold them, and how we maintain them in the face of persuasive appeals.

One of my primary lines of research examines changes over the adult life span in the malleability of our attitudes, and the social and psychological mechanisms responsible for this age-related fluctuation. Related lines of research explore various aspects of the social context in which we are situated and traces the implications of these social factors for openness to attitude change. For example, I am currently exploring how the particular social networks in which we are embedded influence our openness to change. I am also interested in the nature of the social roles that people occupy and how these roles facilitate or constrain openness to change. And I am exploring the way temporal perspective -- perceiving time as extending long into the future or limited by an impending endpoint -- influences openness to change.

Crosscutting my specific interests in attitudes and persuasion is a more general interest in political psychology, and several strands of my research have been carried out within the political context.

Recent Publications

Levitan, L. C., & Visser, P. S. (in press). The impact of the social context on resistance to persuasion: Effortful versus effortless responses to counter-attitudinal information. In press at Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 

Visser, P. S., Holbrook, A. L., & Krosnick, J. A., (2008). Knowledge and Attitudes. In W. Donsbach & M. W. Traugott (Ed.s), Handbook of Public Opinion Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications 

Tetlock, P. E., Visser, P. S., Singh, R., Polifroni, M., Scott, A., Elson, B., & Mazzocco, P. (2007). Alleged biases and errors in attribution of responsibility: Defensive intuitive scientists or prudent intuitive prosecutors? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43,195-209 

Visser, P. S., Bizer, G., & Krosnick, J. A. (2006). Exploring the latent structure of strength-related attitude attributes.  In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, (pp. 1-67).  San Diego, CA: Academic Press. 

DeWall, C. N., Visser, P. S., & Levitan, L. C. (2006). Openness to attitude change as a function of temporal perspective.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 1010-1023.

Kronsnick, J. A., Holbrook, A. L., & Visser, P. S. (2006). Optimizing brief assessments in research on the psychology of aging. In National Research Council, When I'm 64 . Committee on Aging Frontiers in Social Psychology, Personality, and Adult Developmental Psychology. L. L. Carstensen and C. R. Hartel, editors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Holbrook, A. L., Krosnick, J. A., Lowe, L., & Visser, P. S. (2006). The origins and consequences of democratic citizens’ policy agendas: A Study of Popular Concern about Global Warming. Climatic Change, 77, 7-43.

Cacioppo, J. T., Visser, P. S., & Pickett, C. L. (2006). Social Neuroscience: People Thinking about Thinking People. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Visser, P. S., Rasinski, K. A., & Zagatsky, M. (2005). Surveying sensitive topics. In B. Radcliff and S. Best (Eds.), Polling America: An Encyclopedia of Public Opinion. West Port, CT: Greenwood Press.

Holbrook, A. L., Berent, M. K., Krosnick, J. A., Visser, P. S., & Bonninger, D. (2005). Attitude importance and the accumulation of attitude-relevant knowledge in memory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 749-769.

Miller, D. T., Visser, P. S., & Staub, B. (2005). How surveillance begets perceptions of dishonesty: The counterfactual correspondence bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 117-128.

Pardy, S. A., Fabrigar, L. R., & Visser, P. S. (2005). Multitrait-Multimethod Analyses. In B. Everitt and D. Howell (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Statistics in Behavioral Science. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Visser, P. S., & Mirabile, R. R. (2004). Attitudes in the social context: The impact of social network composition on individual-level attitude strength. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 779-795.

Bizer, G. Y., Visser, P. S., Berent, M. K., & Krosnick, J. A. (2004). Exploring the latent structure of strength-related attitude attributes. In W. E. Saris & P. M. Sniderman (Eds.), Studies in public opinion: Gauging attitudes, nonattitudes, measurement error and change. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Visser, P. S., & Cooper, J. (2003). Attitude change. In M. Hogg & J. Cooper (Eds.), Sage Handbook of Social Psychology. London: Sage Publications.

Cacioppo, J. T., & Visser, P. S. (2003). Political psychology and social neuroscience: Strange bedfellows or comrades in arms? Political Psychology, 24, 647-656.

Visser, P. S., Krosnick, J. A., & Simmons, J. P. (2003). Distinguishing the cognitive and behavioral consequences of attitude importance and certainty: A new approach to testing the common-factor hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 118-141.

Visser, P. S., & Clark, L. (2003). Attitudes. In A. Kuper & J. Kuper (Eds.), Social Science Encyclopedia. London: Routledge.

Holbrook, A. L., Krosnick, J. A., Visser, P. S., Gardner, W., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2001). Attitudes toward Presidential candidates and political parties: Initial optimism, inertial first impressions, and a focus on the flaws. American Journal of Political Science, 45, 930-950.

Krosnick, J. A., Holbrook, A. L., & Visser, P. S. (2000). The impact of the fall 1997 debate about global warming on American public opinion. Journal for the Public Understanding of Science, 9, 239-260.

Visser, P. S., Krosnick, J. A., & Lavrakas, P. J. (2000). Survey research. In C. M. Judd & H. Reis (Eds.), Research methods in social psychology, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Tetlock, P. E., & Visser, P. S. (2000). Thinking about Russia: Probable pasts and plausible futures. British Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 173-196.

Remington, N., Fabrigar, L. R., & Visser, P. S. (2000). Reconsidering the structure of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 286-300.

Visser, P. S., Krosnick, J. A., Marquette, J., & Curtin, M. (2000). Improving election forecasting: Allocation of undecided respondents, identification of likely voters, and response order effects. In P. J. Lavrakas and M. Traugott (Eds.), Election polls, the news media, and democracy. NY: Chatham House.

Green, M., Visser, P. S., & Tetlock, P. E. (2000). Coping with accountability cross-pressures: Low-effort evasive tactics and high-effort quests for complex compromises. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1380-1391.

Herrmann, R., Tetlock, P. E., & Visser, P. S. (1999). Mass public decisions on going to war: A cognitive interactionist perspective. American Political Science Review, 93, 553-573.

Visser, P. S., & Krosnick, J. A. (1998). The development of attitude strength over the life cycle: Surge and decline. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1389-1410.

Krosnick, J. A., Visser, P. S., & Holbrook, A. L. (1998). American opinion about global warming: The pre-Kyoto media barrage politicized and crystalized public opinion. Resources, 133, 5-9.

Fabrigar, L. R., Visser, P. S., & Browne, M. W. (1997). Conceptual and methodological issues in testing the circumplex structure of data in personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1, 184-203.

Visser, P. S., Krosnick, J. A., Marquette, J., & Curtin, M. (1996). Mail surveys for election forecasting? An evaluation of the Columbus Dispatch Poll. Public Opinion Quarterly, 60, 181-227.

Courses

Undergraduate:
  • Political Psychology
  • The Mind
  • Psychological Research Methods
Graduate:
  • Attitudes and Persuasion
  • Social Psychology
  • Topics in Experimental Social Psychology 

 

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