E. Tory Higgins

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Edward Tory Higgins (born in 1946) is Professor of Psychology at Columbia University and Professor of Management at the Columbia Business School. He is perhaps best known for developing self-discrepancy theory.


Higgins received a BA degree in Anthropology from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University in 1973. His early working included the study of priming, influencing social judgment through the unconscious activation of social categories. In 1980 he was hired by New York University where he was given the mandate to help build the social/personality psychology department. There he developed one of the leading departments in the study of social cognition of that era. Among his hires at NYU during this time were John Bargh and Shelly Chaiken. In 1989 Higgins returned to Columbia, his alma mater.

Across his career, Higgins has maintained a broad set of research interests, related to social cognition, self and affect, motivation and cognition, and social development.

See also[edit]


  • 2005 - Society for Experimental Social Psychology Distinguished Scientist Award
  • 2000 - American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions
  • 2000 - American Psychological Society William James Fellow Award for Distinguished Achievements in Psychological Science
  • 1999 - Thomas M. Ostrom Award for Social Cognition
  • 1996 - Society for Personality and Social Psychology Donald T. Campbell Award

Recent and/or notable publications[edit]


  • Higgins, E. T., (2012). Beyond pleasure and pain: How motivation works. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Higgins, E. T., & Kruglanski, A. W. (Eds.). (2000). Motivational science: Social and personality perspectives. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
  • Higgins, E. T., & Kruglanski, A. W. (Eds.). (1996). Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Kruglanski, A. W., & Higgins, E .T. (Eds.). (2003). Social psychology: A general reader. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
  • Sorrentino, R. M., & Higgins, E. T. (Eds.). (1996). Handbook of motivation and cognition: The interpersonal context. New York: Guilford.

Journal articles[edit]

  • Echterhoff, G., Kopietz, R., & Higgins, E. T. (2013). Adjusting shared reality: Communicators' memory changes as their connection with their audience changes. Social Cognition, 31, 162-186. doi: 10.1521/soco.2013.31.2.162.
  • Higgins, E. T., Cesario, J., Hagiwara, N., Spiegel, S., & Pittman, T. (2010). Increasing or decreasing interest in activities: The role of regulatory fit. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(4), 559-572.
  • Kopietz, R., Hellmann, J.H., Higgins, E.T., & Echterhoff, G. (2010). Shared-reality effects on memory: Communicating to fulfill epistemic needs. Social Cognition, 28, 353-378. doi: 10.1521/soco.2010.28.3.353
  • Echterhoff, G., Higgins, E. T., & Levine, J. M. (2009). Shared reality: Experiencing commonality with others’ inner states about the world. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 496-521. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01161.x
  • Echterhoff, G., Lang, S., Krämer, N. & Higgins, E. T. (2009). Audience-tuning effects on communicators’ memory: The role of audience status in sharing reality. Social Psychology, 40, 150-163. doi: 10.1027/1864-9335.40.3.150
  • Echterhoff, G., Higgins, E. T., Kopietz, R., & Groll, S. (2008). How communication goals determine when audience tuning biases memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General [1], 137(1), 3-21.
  • Echterhoff, G., Higgins, E. T., & Groll, S. (2005). Audience-tuning effects on memory: The role of shared reality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 257-276.
  • Forster, J., & Higgins, E. T. (2005). How global versus local perception fits regulatory focus. Psychological Science, 16, 631-636.
  • Forster, J., Liberman, N., & Higgins, E. T. (2005). Accessibility from active and fulfilled goals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 220-239.
  • Freitas, A. L., Azizian, A., Travers, S., & Berry, S. A. (2005). The evaluative connotation of processing fluency: Inherenty positive or moderated by motivational context? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 636-644.
  • Hardin, C. D., & Higgins, E. T. (1996). Shared reality: How social verification makes the subjective objective. In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: The interpersonal context (Vol. III). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Higgins, E. T., Echterhoff, G., Crespillo, R. & Kopietz, R. (2007). Effects of communication on social knowledge: Sharing reality with individual vs. group audiences. Japanese Psychological Research, 49, 89-99.
  • Higgins, E. T. (2006). Value from hedonic experience and engagement. Psychological Review.
  • Higgins, E. T. (2005). Value from regulatory fit. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14 209-213.
  • Higgins, E. T. (2000). Making a good decision: Value from fit. American Psychologist, 55, 1217-1230.
  • Higgins, E. T. (2000). Social cognition: Learning about what matters in the social world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 3-39.
  • Higgins, E. T. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American Psychologist, 52, 1280-1300.
  • Higgins, E. T. (1987). Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94, 319-340.
  • Higgins, E. T., Bargh, J. A., & Lombardi, W. (1985). The nature of priming effects on categorization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 11, 59-69.
  • Higgins, E. T., Idson, C. L., Freitas, A. L., Spiegel, S., & Molden, D. C. (2003). Transfer of value from fit. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(6), 1140-1153.
  • Higgins, E.T., King, G. A., & Mavin,G. H. (1982). Individual construct accessibility and subjective impressions and recall. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 35-47.
  • Higgins, E.T., Rholes, W.S., & Jones, C.R. (1977). Category Accessibility and Impression Formation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 141-154.
  • Higgins, E. T., Roney, C., Crowe, E., & Hymes, C. (1994). Ideal versus ought predilections for approach and avoidance: Distinct self-regulatory systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 276–286.
  • Lombardi, W., Higgins, E. T., & Bargh, J. A. (1987). The role of consciousness in priming effects on categorization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 13, 411-429.
  • Tykocinski, O., Higgins, T., & Chaiken, S. (1994). How message framing and self discrepancies influence persuasion: The motivational significance of psychological situations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 107-115.

External links[edit]