Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

William G. Graziano

William G. Graziano

Research Interests: Social accommodation, motivation, pro-social behavior, personality & individual differences, interpersonal processes. Agreeableness as a disposition and a process.

Recently, we have been exploring selective orientations towards aspects of the environment, namely to people and to things. These interests can be seen as motive systems that influence the direction, intensity and persistence of behavior. They seem to contribute, but not exclusively determine, important academic and personal preferences. Interests in people seem to be largely independent of interests in things, so students can have high interest in both persons and things, interests in only one of the two, or little interest in either. Our findings (N >6,000) point to sex differences such that college-age women as a group report less interest in things, but greater interest in people, than do men. We found similar patterns in 6th grade children, suggesting these orientations may appear relatively early in life. Women majoring in engineering, however, score higher on thing orientation than do men in life sciences and psychology. Academic majors may be a kind of psychological niche, into which students try to fit based on their own orientations. We have focused on the influence of person-thing orientations on choices of academic majors and plans for pursuing careers in STEM research.We are just beginning laboratory experiments on person-thing orientation to explore responsiveness to various kinds of messages, communications and appeals.

Teaching Interests: Pro-social behavior, motivation, personality & individual differences in social relations

Primary Interests:

  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

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Journal Articles:

  • Graziano, W. G., Habashi, M. M., Sheese, B. E., & Tobin, R. M. (2007). Agreeableness, empathy, and helping: A person X situation perspective. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. 93,583-599.
  • Jensen-Campbell, L. A., & Graziano, W. G. (2000). Beyond the schoolyard: Relationships as moderators of interpersonal conflict. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin. 26, 923-935.
  • Jensen-Campbell, L., Graziano, W. G., & West, S. G. (1995). Dominance, prosocial orientation, and female preferences: Do nice guys really finish last? Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 68, 427-440.
  • Sheese, B. E., Brown, E., & Graziano, W. G. (2004). Emotional expression in cyberspace: Searching for moderators of the Pennebaker disclosure effect via e-mail. Health Psychology. 23, 457-464.
  • Sheese, B. E., & Graziano, W. G. (2005). Deciding to defect: The effects of video game violence on cooperative and competitive behavior. Psychological Science. 16), 391-396.
  • Tobin, R. M. & Graziano, W. G. (2011). The disappointing gift: Dispositional and situational moderators of children’s emotional expressions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. DOI:10.1016/j.jecp.2011.0211.02.010
  • Tobin, R. M., & Graziano, W. G., Vanman, E., & Tassinary, L. (2000). Personality, emotional experience, and efforts to control emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
  • Graziano, W. G., Habashi, M. M., & Woodcock, A. (2011). Measuring differences in person-thing orientation. Personality & Individual Differences. 51, 28-33. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.004.
  • Graziano, W. G., & Habashi, M. (2010). Motivational processes underlying both prejudice and helping. Personality & Social Psychology Review.14 (3), 313-331.
  • Graziano, W. G., Bruce, J. W., Sheese, B. E., & Tobin, R. M. (2007). Attraction, personality and prejudice: Liking none of the people most of the time. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 93, 565-582.

Courses Taught:

  • Research Methods
  • Social Psychology
  • Social/Personality Development

William G. Graziano
Department of Psychological Sciences
Purdue University
703 Third Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2081
United States

  • Phone: (765) 494-7224
  • Fax: (765) 496-1264

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