Automatic EffectsHow much free will do we really have? I am interested
in the extent to which any and all social psychological phenomena -- attitudes
and evaluations, emotions, impressions, motivations, social behavior -- occur
nonconsciously and automatically. Most recently our lab has focused on the automatic
link between social perception and social behavior, and on the automatic activation
and operation of interaction goals (as well as information processing goals).
The link between stereotype activation and then behaving in line with the content
of that stereotype has been an especially provocative and exciting avenue of research,
as has been research in collaboration with Shelly Chaiken on automatic, immediate
evaluation of people, objects, and events in one's life. That all of these effects
occur without the person's intention and awareness, yet have such strong effects
on the person's decisions and behavior, has a great deal of implications for philosophical
matters such as free will, and the nature and purpose of consciousness. One additional
area of research is the application of the nonconscious-motivation idea to the
issue of power abuse and corruption. We are finding clear individual differences
in automatic reactions to having power, such that some people abuse it for their
own selfish gain and others react with greater socialresponsibility and concern
for others. That is, people differ in the goals that they have chronically and
automatically associated with power, defined as those situations in which one
has the ability to attain one's core goals.
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I grew up in a university town (Champaign, Illinois) and attended the University
of Illinois as an undergraduate. From there I went to graduate school in social
psychology at the University of Michigan, where my advisor was Bob Zajonc. I received
my PhD in 1981 and that fall moved to NYU, where I've been ever since. My dissertation
received the Society for Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) Dissertation Award
in 1982, and in 1989 I received the American Psychological Association (APA) Early
Career Award for contributions to psychology. I am a past-president of SESP and
a Fellow of both APA and the American Psychological Society. For 1999-2004 I have
been appointed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Konstanz, Germany.
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Selected Publications (Since 1990)
J.A., & Chartrand, T. L. (1999). The unbearable automaticity of being. American
Psychologist, 54, 462-479.
McKenna, K. Y. A., & Bargh, J. A. (1998). Coming
out in the age of the Internet: Identity de-marginalization' from virtual group
participation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 74 (September).
Bargh, J. A. (1999). The cognitive monster: The case against controllability
of automatic stereotype effects. In S. Chaiken & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual process
theories in social psychology. New York: Guilford.
Wegner, D. M., & Bargh,
J. A. (1998). Control and automaticity in social life. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske,
& G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (4/e). Boston: McGraw-
Chen, M., & Bargh, J. A. (1997). Nonconscious behavioral confirmation
processes: The self-fulfilling nature of automatically-activated stereotypes.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 33, 541-560.
Bargh, J. A. (1997).
The automaticity of everyday life. In R. S. Wyer, Jr. (Ed.), The automaticity
of everyday life: Advances in social cognition (Vol. 10, pp. 1-61). Mahwah, NJ:
Chartrand, T. L., & Bargh, J. A. (1996). Automatic activation
of social information processing goals: Nonconscious priming reproduces effects
of explicit conscious instructions. Journal of Personality and Social
Bargh, J. A., Chen, M., & Burrows, L. (1996). Automaticity
of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype priming on
action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 230-244.
P. M., & Bargh, J. A. (Eds., 1996). The psychology of action: Linking motivation
and cognition to behavior. New York: Guilford.
Bargh, J. A., Chaiken, S., Raymond,
P., & Hymes, C. (1996). The automatic evaluation effect: Unconditional automatic
attitude activation with a pronunciation task. Journal of Experimental Social
Psychology, 32, 185-210.
Bargh, J. A., & Barndollar, K. (1996). Automaticity
in action: The unconscious as repository of chronic goals and motives. In P. M.
Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of action (pp. 457-471). New
Bargh, J. A., Raymond, P., Pryor, J., & Strack, F. (1995).
Attractiveness of the underling: An automatic power sex association and its consequences
for sexual harassment and aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
Bargh, J. A., & Raymond, P. (1995). The naive misuse of power:
Nonconscious sources of sexual harassment. Journal of Social Issues, 26, 168-185.
Bargh, J. A., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (1994). Environmental control over goal-directed
action. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 41, 71-124.
Bargh, J. A. (1994).
The Four Horsemen of automaticity: Awareness, efficiency, intention, and control
in social cognition. In R. S. Wyer, Jr., & T. K. Srull (Eds.), Handbook of
social cognition (2nd ed., pp. 1-40). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Bargh, J. A.,
Chaiken, S., Govender, R., & Pratto, F. (1992). The generality of the automatic
attitude activation effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62,
Bargh, J. A. (1992). Why subliminality does not matter to social psychology:
Awareness of the stimulus versus awareness of its influence. In R. F. Bornstein
& T. S. Pittman (Eds.), Perception without awareness (pp. 236-255). New York:
Bargh, J. A. (1990). Auto-motives: Preconscious determinants of social
interaction. In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation
and cognition (Vol. 2, pp. 93- 130). New York: Guilford.
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John A. Bargh
Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology
New York University
6 Washington Place, Room 783
New York, NY 10003
Fax: (212) 995-4966
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