Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Ralph L. Rosnow

Ralph L. Rosnow

I have long been interested in how assumptions, inferences, generalizations, and the like become habits of thought and justifications for conduct and convictions, both in everyday life and in science. My 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.

Methodological, statistical, and ethical practices when generating, describing, exploring, and drawing conclusions and generalizations 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, who was 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 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 on research methods. Since then, my old friend and I have collaborated on articles, chapters, and a baker's dozen additional books in the area of research methodology and data analysis.

Since retiring from the riveting poignancy of academic life, I have kept busy reading, writing, and ruminating, and recently have been exploring ways of providing free open access to several books for which my coauthors and I have received the rights from the publishers. By clicking on the FILES tab above, it is possible to freely access full-text PDF copies of five books: Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis (3rd edition, coauthored with Bob Rosenthal); People Studying People: Artifacts and Ethics in Behavioral Research (coauthored with Bob Rosenthal); Writing Papers in Psychology: Proposals, Research Papers, Literature Reviews, Poster Presentations and Concise Reports (9th edition, coauthored with Mimi Rosnow); Rumor and Gossip: The Social Psychology of Hearsay (coauthored with Gary Alan Fine); and Paradigms in Transition: The Methodology of Social Inquiry. After opening the FILES tab, click on a highlighted title, and then simply click 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.


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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