His areas of research include the psychology of prejudice and discrimination, judgment and decision making, international security and counter-terrorism, interactive web-based research, and the human use of animals and the environment. He is also the founder of the Social Psychology Network.
Plous coined the term “action teaching” in 2000. In this article he presented action teaching as the pedagogical counterpart to action research, a term coined by Kurt Lewin in the aftermath of World War II (Marrow, 1969). This experience of action teaching, he says, “leads not only to a better understanding of psychology but to a more just, compassionate and peaceful world.” 
In 2001, he published a study that evaluated the reliability of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs), and found that animal testing standards in the United States are widely inconsistent across different research institutions.
Plous has published two books, and numerous journal articles, on social issues, animal rights, and psychology.
- Plous, S. (1993). The psychology of judgment and decision making. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-050477-6 [Translated into Chinese, Korean, Norwegian, and Russian; hardbound edition concurrently published by Temple University Press.]
- Plous, S. (Ed.). (2003). Understanding prejudice and discrimination. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-255443-4
- Plous, S. (2000). Responding to overt displays of prejudice: A role-playing exercise. Teaching of Psychology, 27, 198-200.
- Plous, S. (2000). Tips on creating and maintaining an educational web site. Teaching of Psychology, 27, 63-70.
- Plous, S. (1998). Signs of change within the animal rights movement: Results from a follow-up survey of activists. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 112, 48-54.
- Plous, S. (1996). Attitudes toward the use of animals in psychological research and education: Results from a national survey of psychologists. American Psychologist, 51, 1167-1180.
- Plous, S. (1996). Attitudes toward the use of animals in psychological research and education: Results from a national survey of psychology majors. Psychological Science, 7, 352-358.
- Plous, S. (1996). Ten myths about affirmative action. Journal of Social Issues, 52, 25-31.
- Plous, S., & Herzog, H. A., Jr. (2001). Reliability of protocol reviews for animal research. Science, 293, 608-609.
- Plous, S., & Herzog, H. A., Jr. (1999, June). Should AWA coverage be broadened? Results from a survey of animal care and use committees. Lab Animal, pp. 38–40.
- Plous, S., & Neptune, D. (1997). Racial and gender biases in magazine advertising: A content-analytic study. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 627-644.
- Plous, S., & Williams, T. (1995). Racial stereotypes from the days of American slavery: A continuing legacy. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 795-817.
- 2006. Connecticut Professor of the Year award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
- 2008. Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award
- Plous, S. (2000). Responding to overt displays of prejudice: A role-playing exercise. Teaching of Psychology, 27, 198-200. (For a free copy, visit www.understandingprejudice.org/pdf/roleplay.pdf)
- Azar, B. (2008, December). Bringing lessons to life. Monitor on Psychology, 39, 56-58. (For a free copy, visit www.socialpsychology.org/pdf/action-teaching.pdf)
- Study Finds Inconsistency in Animal Research Reviews, Wesleyan University; July 27, 2001
- Meet a professor of the year, gradPSYCH, January 2007.