Richard Petty graduated from the University of Virginia in 1973 and received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Ohio State University in 1977. He began his academic career that same year as Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri. In 1981 he was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1985 he was named the Frederick A. Middlebush Professor of Psychology at Missouri. After a sabbatical at Yale University in 1986, he returned to Ohio State in 1987 as Professor of Psychology and Director of the Social Psychology Doctoral Program. In 1995, he was visiting Professor of Psychology at Princeton University. In 1998, he was appointed Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State. He served as chair of the psychology department from 1998-2002 and again from 2008-present.
Petty's research focuses broadly on the situational and individual difference factors responsible for changes in beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Much of his current work (and that of the students and colleagues with whom he collaborates) is aimed at examining the implications of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion for understanding prejudice, consumer choices, political and legal decisions, and health behaviors. Topics of special current interest include: understanding the role of meta-cognitive as well as implicit factors in persuasion and resistance to change; the effect of racial and ethnic prejudice and specific emotions on social judgment and behavior; and investigating how people correct their evaluations for various factors they think may have biased their judgments (such as stereotypes they hold or emotions they are experiencing).
In addition to his empirical work on basic processes in attitudes, persuasion, and social cognition, Petty has served as a consultant and panelist for federal agencies such as the National Academy of Sciences Committees on Dietary Guidelines Implementation to Improve the Health of Americans and a Social Psychology of Aging, the National Institute on Drug Abuse panel on Using Persuasive Communication to Prevent Drug Abuse, and the National Science Foundation panel on the Human Dimensions of Global Change. He is also former chair of the National Institute of Mental Health grant review panel on Social and Group Processes.
Among the honors and awards he has received are the following: In 1995, Petty received the Distinguished Scholar Award from Ohio State University. In 1999, he was named Distinguished Scientist-Lecturer for the American Psychological Association. In 2000, he received the award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Consumer Psychology from the Society for Consumer Psychology, and in 2001 he received the Donald T. Campbell Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Social Psychology from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Petty is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society. After serving as Associate Editor of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin from 1982-1984, he became the journal's editor from 1988-1991. He has also served as Associate Editor for the APA journal, Emotion, and on the editorial boards of Psychological Review, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the Personality and Social Psychology Review, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, and Media Psychology. Petty served as President of the Midwestern Psychological Association in 2001-2002, and as President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2009.
- Applied Social Psychology
- Attitudes and Beliefs
- Emotion, Mood, Affect
- Judgment and Decision Making
- Law and Public Policy
- Motivation, Goal Setting
- Personality, Individual Differences
- Persuasion, Social Influence
- Political Psychology
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Self and Identity
- Social Cognition
Research Group or Laboratory:
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- Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1996). Attitudes and persuasion: Classic and contemporary approaches. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Communication and persuasion: Central and peripheral routes to attitude change. New York: Springer/Verlag.
- Petty, R. E., Fazio, R. H., & Briñol, P. (Eds.). (2009). Attitudes: Insights from the new implicit measures. New York: Psychology Press.
- Petty, R. E., & Krosnick, J. A. (Eds.). (1995). Attitude strength: Antecedents and consequences. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Associates.
- Barden, J., & Petty, R. E. (2008). The mere perception of elaboration creates attitude certainty: Exploring the thoughtfulness heuristic. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 489-509.
- Briñol, P, & Petty, R. E. (2003). Overt head movements and persuasion: A self-validation analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1123-1139
- Briñol, P., Petty, R. E., & Barden, J. (2007). Happiness versus sadness as a determinant of thought confidence in persuasion: A self-validation analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 711-727.
- DeMarree, K. G., Wheeler, S. C., & Petty, R. E. (2005). Priming a new identity: Self-monitoring moderates the effects of non-self primes on self-judgments and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 657-671.
- Petty, R. E., Briñol, P., & Tormala, Z. L. (2002). Thought confidence as a determinant of persuasion: The self-validation hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 722-741.
- Petty, R. E., Fleming, M. A., & White, P. (1999). Stigmatized sources and persuasion: Prejudice as a determinant of argument scrutiny. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 19-34.
- Petty, R. E., Tormala, Z. L., Briñol, P., & Jarvis, W. B. G. (2006). Implicit ambivalence from attitude change: An exploration of the PAST model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 21-41.
- Priester, J. R., & Petty, R. E. (2001). Extending the bases of subjective attitudinal ambivalence: Interpersonal and intrapersonal antecedents of evaluative tension. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 19-34.
- Rucker, D. D., & Petty, R. E. (2004). When resistance is futile: Consequences of failed counterarguing for attitude certainty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 219-235.
- Tormala, Z. L., Falces, C., Briñol, P., & Petty, R. E. (2007). Ease of retrieval effects in social judgment: The role of unrequested cognitions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 143-157.
- Wheeler, S. C., DeMarree, K. G., & Petty, R. E. (2007). Understanding the role of the self in prime-to-behavior effects: The active-self account. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11, 234-261.
- Petty, R. E., & Wegener, D. T. (1999). The Elaboration Likelihood Model: Current status and controversies. In S. Chaiken & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual process theories in social psychology (pp. 41-72). New York: Guilford Press.
Richard E. Petty
Department of Psychology
Ohio State University
1835 Neil Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1222
- Phone: (614) 292-3038