Department of Psychology

Ph.D. in Social Psychology

Social Area Contact Person: Paul Silvia, (336) 256-0007,

The Social Psychology Program emphasizes scholarship on how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. Students accepted into the social program are exposed to a broad range of topics including the self, social cognition, motivation/emotion, and intergroup relations, as well as the role of individual differences in these areas. Our primary goal is to train future scientists to work in academic and research settings. Collaborative research is encouraged and specialization is developed through research experience, seminars, and laboratory meetings.

Core Faculty Research Interests

  • John Seta: judgment and decision making; regret; information integration; social comparison
  • Paul Silvia: cognition and emotion; the self; psychophysiology of effort and motivation; aesthetics and creativity
  • Ethan Zell: self-perception; social comparison; social judgment; group processes

There are a number of additional faculty members in the department of psychology who have active interests in social psychology including Janet Boseovski (attribution), Kari Eddington (goals), Robert Guttentag (regret), Michael Kane (mind wandering), Thomas Kwapil (experience sampling), and Stuart Marcovitch (self-control).

Philosophy of Training: We follow a mentor-apprentice model. Students work directly with a faculty advisor and will gradually develop their own program of research. There are extensive opportunities to collaborate with other faculty and students in psychology and in other departments. 

Graduate Study: Students typically receive a teaching or research assistantship for the duration of their time at UNCG. In addition, students typically receive a tuition waiver for up to five years. 

Facilities: The social psychology laboratories are equipped for programming, experimentation, and data analysis. Some labs have impedance cardioagraphy equipment for psychophysiological research. The department has a large research participant pool that affords rapid data collection.