Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Ralph L. Rosnow

Ralph L. Rosnow

An implicit theme running through most of my work is what C. S. Peirce (1877) characterized as the fixation of belief. More specifically, I am interested in how assumptions, inferences, generalizations, and the like become habits of thought and justifications for conduct and convictions. Research on attitude and impression formation, persuasion and opinion change, rumor and gossip, interpersonal acumen, unintended factors known as artifacts, and so on, has impressed upon me the difficulties of applying the scientific method to behavioral studies. It has also been a constant reminder that, like the meaning of a word or phrase that depends on its context, it is essential not to strip away certain contextual factors of experimental observations when drawing conclusions.

Methodological, statistical, and ethical issues and practices when generating, describing, exploring, and drawing conclusions from data are long-time interests. My earliest study of judgment biases was conducted when I was a freshly minted Ph.D. working in Washington, DC. The study had to do with political partisans' judgments of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates. I wrote it up when I came to Boston University to teach in a new master's degree program in communication research. At BU, I also began doing studies that morphed into a program of research on the volunteer subject. I think it was Gordon Russell who introduced me to Bob Rosenthal at an EPA meeting in Atlantic City. Bob, then a Lecturer on Clinical Psychology at Harvard, had a program of research focused on experimenter effects in the subject-experimenter interaction. He had also been writing an article on the volunteer subject. I invited him to collaborate on a study, and to my good fortune he accepted. The collaboration also soon led to our first book together, Artifact in Behavioral Research, followed several years later by a book length monograph on the volunteer subject and a paperback primer of methods for the behavioral sciences. Since then, my old friend and I have collaborated on articles, chapters, and a baker's dozen additional books in the area of methodology and data analysis.

Since retiring in 2002 from the riveting poignancy of academic life, I have kept busy reading, writing, and ruminating, and more recently have been exploring ways of providing free open access to books that are no longer in print but are still of some interest. By opening the FILES tab above, it is possible to freely access four books. After opening FILES, click on a highlighted title, and then on View/Download.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Social Cognition

Note from the Network: The holder of this profile has certified having all necessary rights, licenses, and authorization to post the files listed below. Visitors are welcome to copy or use any files for noncommercial or journalistic purposes provided they credit the profile holder and cite this page as the source.

Other Files


Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • 2001. Rumor and gossip in interpersonal interaction and beyond: A social exchange perspective (R. L. Rosnow). In R. M. Kolwalski (Ed.), Behaving badly: Aversive behaviors in interpersonal relationships (pp. 203-232). American Psychological Association Press.

Courses Taught:

Ralph L. Rosnow
Radnor, Pennsylvania 19087
United States

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