Elizabeth L. Paluck

Position
Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs
Office Phone
Office
432 Robertson Hall
Bio/Description

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 intergroup 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 civic education. I am also interested in social scientific methodology—particularly causal inference and behavioral measurement.

Education

Ph.D. Social Psychology
Yale University, 2007

Selected Publications

Anger at work. Frontiers in Social Psychology, 2. Porat, R. & Paluck, E.L. (2024)

The Social and Psychological Effects of Publicly Violating a Social Norm: A Field Experiment in the Satmar Jewish Community. Frontiers in Social Psychology, 1, 1290743. Malovicki-Yaffe, N., Paluck, E. L., & Khan, S. A. (2023)

Survey of open science practices and attitudes in the social sciences. Nature communications, 14(1), 5401. Ferguson, J., Littman, R., Christensen, G., Paluck, E.L., Swanson, N., Wang, Z., Miguel, E., Birke, D. & Pezzuto, J. H. (2023)

Effects of a US Supreme Court ruling to restrict abortion rights. Nature Human Behaviour, 1-9. Clark, C. S., Paluck, E. L., Westwood, S. J., Sen, M., Malhotra, N., & Jessee, S. (2023)