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 can become habits of thought and justifications for conduct and assertions. My studies of attitude and impression formation, persuasion and opinion change, circumstances of rumor and gossip, and levels of interpersonal acumen impressed upon me a given that -- whatever happens to be the question, phenomenon, or construct of interest -- context matters. With Marianthi Georgoudi and Marianne E. Jaeger, we published extensions of what Stephen C. Pepper (1942) had coined as contextualism.

Methodological, statistical, and ethical issues in generating, describing, exploring, and drawing conclusions from data are other long-time interests. My earliest study in this general area was conducted when I was a freshly minted Ph.D. working in Washington, DC. The study had to do with political partisans' perceptions of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates. My first collaborative work on biases was another small-sample study, this one, however, on the use of volunteer subjects in opinion change studies. I was a young assistant professor in a new graduate program in communication research at Boston University, and Bob Rosenthal was across the river, a young assistant professor at Harvard. I invited Bob to collaborate in some ongoing research, and to my good fortune he accepted. A few years later, this led to a coedited book, Artifact in Behavioral Research, and then to a coauthored monograph on the volunteer subject and a primer of methods for the behavioral sciences. Since then, my old friend and I have further collaborated on research, ideas, and over a baker's dozen additional coauthored books.

Since retiring from the riveting poignancy of academic life, I have kept busy reading, writing, and ruminating in my bosky dell. In weekly chats with Bob, we have discussed the idea of providing open access to several methods books that are no longer readily available. By opening the FILES tab above, it is possible to access three such books.

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:

  • Rosnow, R. L. (2001). Rumor and gossip in interpersonal interaction and beyond: A social exchange perspective. 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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