Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Robin R. Vallacher

Robin R. Vallacher

Broadly defined, my work centers on the dynamic properties of complex human experience at different levels of social reality. The specific topics currently under investigation include the emergence and maintenance of self-concept coherence, the intrinsic dynamics of self-evaluation and social judgment, the dynamics of self-regulation and action planning, the coordination of behavior and internal states in social interaction, intractable conflict, and societal change. These topics are investigated with laboratory experiments utilizing time-series data and by means of computer simulations (cellular automata, attractor neural networks, coupled dynamical systems). I’m also interested in evolutionary psychology, in part because of its intrinsic interest, but also because of its resonance with basic dynamic processes (e.g., nonlinearity, phase transitions, emergence).

Although my primary concern is identifying basic principles of human experience, my research within the dynamical perspective has direct implications for application. Four current research agendas in particular have an applied focus. (1) The dynamics of protracted (seemingly intractable) conflict; (2) Self-reflection dynamics and maladjustment; (3) Disruptions in social coordination; (4) Catastrophic societal transitions.

Primary Interests:

  • Aggression, Conflict, Peace
  • Close Relationships
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Persuasion, Social Influence
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:


Journal Articles:

  • Michaels, J., & Vallacher, R. R. (2009). The ghost in the system: Where free will lurks in human minds. In-Mind Magazine (Internet Social Psychology Magazine).
  • Nowak, A., Vallacher, R. R., Tesser, A., & Borkowski, W. (2000). Society of self: The emergence of collective properties in self-structure. Psychological Review, 107, 39-61.
  • Vallacher, R. R., Coleman, P. T., Nowak, A., & Bui-Wrzosinska, L. (2010). Rethinking intractable conflict: The perspective of dynamical systems. American Psychologist, 65, 262-278.
  • Vallacher, R. R., & Jackson, D. (2009). Thinking inside the box: Dynamical constraints on mind and action. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 1226-1229.
  • Vallacher, R. R., & Nowak, A. (1997). The emergence of dynamical social psychology. Psychological Inquiry, 8, 73-79.
  • Vallacher, R. R., Nowak, A., Froehlich, M., & Rockloff, M. (2002). The dynamics of self-evaluation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 370-379.
  • Vallacher, R. R., Nowak, A., & Kaufman, J. (1994). Intrinsic dynamics of social judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 20-34.
  • Vallacher, R. R., Read, S. J., & Nowak, A. (2002). The dynamical perspective in personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 264-273.
  • Vallacher, R. R., Van Geert, P., & Nowak, A. (2015). The intrinsic dynamics of psychological process. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(1), 58-64. DOI: 10.1177/0963721414551571
  • Vallacher, R. R., & Wegner, D. M. (1987). What do people think they're doing? Action identification and human behavior. Psychological Review, 94, 315.

Other Publications:

  • Nowak, A., & Vallacher, R. R. (1998). Toward computational social psychology: Cellular automata and neural network models of interpersonal dynamics. In S. J. Read & L. C. Miller (Eds.), Connectionist models of social reasoning and social behavior (pp. 277-311). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Nowak, A., Vallacher, R. R., & Zochowski, M. (2002). The emergence of personality: Personal stability through interpersonal synchronization. In D. Cervone & W. Mischel (Eds.), Advances in personality science (Vol. 1, pp. 292-331). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Vallacher, R. R. (2009). Applications of complexity to social psychology. In R. A. Myers (Ed.), Encyclopedia of complexity and system science. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag.
  • Vallacher, R. R., & Nowak, A. (2007). Dynamical social psychology: Finding order in the flow of human experience. In A. W. Kruglanski & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (2nd ed., pp. 734-758). New York: Guilford Publications.

Courses Taught:

  • Experimental Studies of Personality
  • Group Dynamics
  • Honors Seminar
  • Research Methods
  • Seminar: Dynamical Social Psychology
  • Seminar: Evolutionary Psychology
  • Seminar: Experimental Studies of Personality
  • Seminar: Self-Concept and Behavior
  • Seminar: Social Cognition
  • Social Behavior Laboratory
  • Social Psychology

Robin R. Vallacher
Department of Psychology
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, Florida 33431-0991
United States

  • Phone: (561) 297-3371
  • Fax: (561) 297-2160

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