An Introduction to Anti-Social Psychology

Social psychology textbooks aim to inform students about social psychology. However, the authors also want to promote social psychology. As a result, they present social psychology in the most favorable light. The result are textbooks that hide embarrassing facts (most textbook findings probably do not replicate) and do not allow students to think critically about social psychology.

Ideally somebody would publish a balanced and objective textbook. This blog post has a different aim. It introduces students of social psychology to critical evidence that are missing from most social psychology textbooks.

The evidence presented in the “anti-social” textbook may be biased against social psychology, but it provides students with some information that they can use to make up their own mind about social psychology.

The aim is to use a Hegelian approach of teaching, where the textbook provides a thesis (e.g., self-perception theory explains how individuals form attitudes), the anti-social textbook provides the anti-thesis (self-perception theory is an outdated attempt to explain attitudes from the perspective of radical behaviorism), and then students can synthesize the conflicting claims into their own perspective on social psychology.

Affective Misattribution Paradigm (AMP)

Culture of Honor (Northern vs. Southern US States)

Ease of Retrieval

Ego Depletion

Implicit Association Test (IAT)

Priming (Subliminal Priming; Unconscious Processes)

Replication, Replicability, Replication Outcomes in Social Psychology

Self-Knowledge (Accuracy and Biases)

Stereotype Threat


Self-Perception Theory

Terror-Management Theory

4 thoughts on “An Introduction to Anti-Social Psychology

    1. Clever, but the idea of pursuing some “anti-social” program sounds… what’s the word… sort of antisocial to me?

      Why not orient this more toward a positive endorsement of preferred pathways to knowledge (maybe this Hegelian approach you describe) and not go out of your way to call theories you don’t agree with “silly”? Ridiculing other perspectives is great if you want to be Ann Coulter, not if you want to convince anyone outside of the choir. But maybe who cares? She sells a lot of books.

      1. silly is definitely not the best choice of word for a scientific blog post. I replaced it with outdated.

        The term anti-social is a play on words, although many social psychologists consider scientific criticism of their field as anti-social behavior (method terrorism, human scum, little bullies are some of the names people like me have been called). It also reminds me of the anti-calendar that students created to warn other students about boring or harsh professors before ratemyprofessor existed. So, I kind of like the name.

  1. It’s time for a science based social psychology. And yes I know the irony. Social psychology is proposed to be a science. But the more I read on it the less convinced I am that at least 50 % of social psychology is bad science. The credibility and validity of the methodology and statistics used in psychology should be most important. In history of social psychology it obviously did not hold the priority position. Pre-registration and more and better emphasis on statistics is a good start but most likely not sufficient, as many social psychologists don’t uphold this view. It should be mandatory at all universities and definitely mandatory at all top journal applications.

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