Elliot Aronson

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Elliot Aronson 1972

Elliot Aronson (born January 9, 1932 ) is an American psychologist who became known for his contributions to social psychology and educational psychology , in particular for his standard textbook "Social Psychology" , his research on cognitive dissonance and his group puzzle teaching method. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz .

life and work

Aronson grew up during the Great Depression in Revere, Massachusetts , where, as a Jewish boy, he often had to fend off anti-Semitic attacks. He earned his bachelor's degree from Brandeis University (where he worked with Abraham Maslow ) in 1954, his master's degree from Wesleyan University (where he worked with David McClelland ) in 1956, and his PhD from Stanford University in 1959. His supervisor and mentor was Leon Festinger .

Aronson has written numerous specialist books as well as popular science books. To improve lay psychology, he always emphasizes two principles:

  1. The situation in which a person finds himself has an enormous influence on his behavior. (Prime example: the Milgram experiment ).
  2. The influence of the situation is constantly underestimated. (the so-called fundamental attribution error ).

From this follows what Aronson calls his first basic rule: "People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy."

Aronson has taught at Harvard University (where Anthony Greenwald was among his students), the University of Minnesota , the University of Texas and the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has received numerous honors.


He is the only one in the American Psychological Association's 120-year history to have received all three of its major awards: 1973 for excellent writing, 1980 for excellent teaching, and in 1999 the prize for excellent research, the “Nobel Prize for Psychologists”. In 2007 he received the "William James Award for Distinguished Research" from the Association for Psychological Science for his life's work . His professional colleagues voted him one of the 100 Most Influential Psychologists of the 20th Century, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , and received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Research Award . For his lifelong commitment to fighting prejudice, he received the "Gordon Allport Prize".

Selection of works

  • E. Aronson, TD Wilson, RM Akert: Social Psychology . Pearson study. 6th edition 2008. ISBN 978-3-8273-7359-5
  • AM Pines, E. Aronson, D. Kafry: Burned Out: From Tiredness to Self-Development . Klett-Cotta, 10th edition 2007, ISBN 3608942858
  • C. Tavris, E. Aronson: I am right, even if I am wrong: Why we justify questionable beliefs, bad decisions and hurtful behavior . Riemann Verlag 2010. ISBN 3570501167 . (Original: Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts . Harvest Books 2008, ISBN 978-0-15-603390-9 )
  • E. Aronson: Nobody Left to Hate: Teaching Compassion After Columbine . Henry Holt / Owl Books 2001, ISBN 978-0805070996
  • E. Aronson: Not by Chance Alone: ​​My Life as a Social Psychologist , Autobiography, Basic Books 2010, ISBN 978-0465018338
  • E. Aronson: The Social Animal . Palgrave Macmillan, 11th edition 2011, ISBN 978-1429233415

Individual evidence

  1. ^ "Elliot Aronson: The Intersection of Art and Science" APS Observer, September 2007, Vol. 20, No. 8th
  2. "One of the most important things we need to know is the enormous power a social situation can exert on individual behavior." ( Nobody left to hate, p. 21 )
  3. "Ironically, although each of us is greatly influenced by the power of the social situation, we tend to underestimate the degree of influence the situation exerts on other people and to overestimate the impact of their personalities as determinants of their behavior." ( Nobody left to hate, p. 22 )
  4. "I rely on a rule of thumb that I sometimes call Aronson's First Law: People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy." ( Nobody left to hate, p. 28 )
  5. Acknowledgment of the UCSC ( Memento of the original of May 8, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (engl.)  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ucsc.edu
  6. ^ William James Fellow Award - Elliot Aronson

Web links