About the Program

Social psychology is the scientific study of how social environments shape our thinking, feeling, and behavior on one hand, and how our thinking, feeling, and behavior shape our social environments on the other hand. It is the scientific study of how the social world and psyche make each other up.

At the University of Chicago, the faculty and students are committed to making scientific and practical contributions to society. The primary goal of the UChicago social psychology program is to address pressing societal issues using social psychological theorizing and methods. This makes the UChicago social psychology program distinct. Our inquiry is inspired by the real world. Our findings will inspire the solutions to real-world problems and enhance the well-being of the individual and society. The faculty and students will investigate a variety of topics including racism, police violence, mass incarceration, income inequality, achievement gaps, interpersonal and intergroup conflicts, self-regulation, social support, happiness, meaning in life, prosocial behavior, politics, morality, religion, globalization, immigration, climate changes, natural disasters, culture, and evolution. We are diverse in terms of personal and cultural backgrounds, theoretical orientations, and preferred methodologies, but united in our commitment to and belief in the benefits of social psychological research for the individual and society. The Chicago School of Social Psychology is the social psychology that matters!

The Program's Legacy

The Social Psychology Program at The University of Chicago has a rich history that has always emphasized innovative conceptual analyses of complex social issues. The first course in Social Psychology (entitled "Contemporary Social Psychology") was taught at the University of Chicago by George Herbert Mead in 1900. The lead article in Volume 1, Number 1, of the Psychological Bulletin, which appeared in January 15, 1914, was entitled "The Chicago School" by William James, in which he reviewed the work of John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, James Rowland Angell, and A. W. Moore. In 1965, the first meeting of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) was held at the University of Chicago, and SESP was hosted again by the Social Psychology Program at the University of Chicago in 2007. Over the years, the program has grown from a small university committee to an interdivisional graduate training program administered in the Department of Psychology.