Susan Fiske

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Susan Fiske
Born (1952-08-19) August 19, 1952 (age 66)
Nationality American
Alma mater Radcliffe College (BA)
Harvard University (PhD)
Occupation Professor of psychology at Princeton University, author
Known for Stereotype content model, ambivalent sexism theory, cognitive miser

Susan Tufts Fiske (born August 19, 1952) is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs in the Department of Psychology at Princeton University.[1] She is a social psychologist known for her work on social cognition, stereotypes, and prejudice.[2] Fiske leads the Intergroup Relations, Social Cognition, and Social Neuroscience Lab at Princeton University.[3] A quantitative analysis published in 2014 identified her as the 22nd most eminent researcher in the modern era of psychology (12th among living researchers, 2nd among women).[4] Her theoretical contributions include the development of the stereotype content model, ambivalent sexism theory, power as control theory, and the continuum model of impression formation.

Early years and personal life[edit]

Fiske comes from a family of psychologists and civil activists. Her father, Donald W. Fiske, was an influential psychologist who spent most of his career at the University of Chicago.[5] Her mother, Barbara Page Fiske, was a civic leader in Chicago.[6] Her brother, Alan Page Fiske, is an anthropologist at UCLA. Fiske's grandmother and great grandmother were Suffragette members.[7] In 1973, Susan Fiske enrolled at Radcliffe College for her undergraduate degree in social relations at Harvard University where she graduated magna cum laude.[8] She also received her PhD from Harvard University in 1978 for thesis titled Attention and the Weighting of Behavior in Person Perception. She currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband Douglas Massey, a Princeton sociologist.[7]


The last semester of Fiske's senior year, she worked with Shelley Taylor, an assistant professor at Harvard, studying social cognition, particularly the effect attention has in social situations.[7] After graduation, Fiske continued in the field of social cognition. At the time, and even today, there was conflict between the fields of social psychology and cognitive psychology, and some researchers wanted to keep these two fields separate. However, researchers like Fiske felt that significant knowledge could be attained by combining the fields. Fiske's experience with this conflict and her interest in the field of social cognition sparked the inspiration of the first edition of Fiske's and Taylor's book Social Cognition. This book provides an overview of the developing theories and concepts emerging in the field of social cognition, while explaining the use cognitive processes to understand social situations, ourselves and others.[7] Fiske and Steven Neuberg went on to develop the first dual process model of social cognition, the "continuum model."

She gave expert testimony in the landmark case, "Hopkins vs. Price Waterhouse" which was eventually heard by the Supreme Court of the United States,[9] making her the first social psychologist to testify in a gender discrimination case. This testimony led to a continuing interest in the use of psychological science in legal contexts.[10]

After this case, Fiske became intrigued with gender research. Working with Peter Glick, Fiske analyzed the dependence of male-female interactions, leading to the development of ambivalent sexism theory. She also examined gender differences in social psychologists' publication rates and citations within the influential psychology journal, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The male authors in the sample submitted more articles and had higher acceptance rates (18% vs. 14%). Women's impact was the same as men's as measured through the number of citations in textbooks and handbooks, so women were more cited per article published.[11]

Volunteering to complete the prejudice chapter in the Handbook of Social Psychology (4th Edition), Fiske realized that most research on prejudice focused on the relationship between African American and Caucasian individuals. With the lack of research on the diversity of the 20th century population's ethnicites, Fiske worked with Peter Glick and Amy Cuddy to develop the Stereotype Content Model.[7] This model explains that warmth and competence differentiate out group stereotypes; indeed, these traits may be the first by which an individual is automatically evaluated.

Recently, Fiske has been involved in the field of social cognitive neuroscience.[7] This emerging field examines how neural systems are involved in social processes, such as person perception.[12] Fiske's own work has examined neural systems involved in stereotyping,[13] intergroup hostility,[14] and impression formation.[15]

Fiske is a past president of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and the Foundation for the Advancement of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. She was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She has authored over 300 publications and has written several books, including her 2010 work Social Beings: A Core Motives Approach to Social Psychology[16] and Social Cognition, a graduate level text that defined the now-popular subfield of social cognition. She has edited the Annual Review of Psychology (with Daniel Schacter and Shelley Taylor) and the Handbook of Social Psychology (with Daniel Gilbert and the late Gardner Lindzey). Other books include Envy Up, Scorn Down: How Status Divides Us,[17] which describes how people constantly compare themselves to others, with toxic effects on their relationships at home, at work, in school, and in the world,[18] and The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies.[19]

"Methodological terrorism" controversy[edit]

With the replication crisis of psychology earning attention, Fiske drew controversy for calling out critics of psychology.[20][21][22][23] She called these unnamed "adversaries" names such as "methodological terrorist" and "self-appointed data police", and said that criticism of psychology should only be expressed in private or through contacting the journals.[20] Columbia University statistician and political scientist Andrew Gelman, "well-respected among the researchers driving the replication debate", responded to Fiske, saying that she had found herself willing to tolerate the "dead paradigm" of faulty statistics and had refused to retract publications even when errors were pointed out.[20][24] He added that her tenure as editor has been abysmal and that a number of published papers edited by her were found to be based on extremely weak statistics; one of Fiske's own published papers had a major statistical error and "impossible" conclusions.[20]


Her four most well-known contributions to the field of psychology are the stereotype content model,[25][26] ambivalent sexism theory,[27] the continuum model of impression formation,[28] and the power-as-control theory.[29] She is also known for the term cognitive miser, coined with her graduate adviser Shelley E. Taylor, referring to individuals' tendencies to use cognitive shortcuts and heuristics.[30][31]

Stereotype content model[edit]

The stereotype content model (SCM) is a psychological theory arguing that people tend to perceive social groups along two fundamental dimensions: warmth and competence.[32] The SCM was originally developed to understand the social classification of groups within the population of the U.S. However, the SCM has since been applied to analyzing social classes and structures across countries and history.[33]

Ambivalent sexism theory[edit]

Fiske and Peter Glick developed the ambivalent sexism inventory (ASI) as a way of understanding prejudice against women.[27] The ASI posits two sub-components of gender stereotyping: hostile sexism (male hostility towards women), and benevolent sexism (idealizing and protecting women).

Power-as-control theory[edit]

Power-as-control theory aims to explain how social power motivates people to heed or ignore others. In this framework, power is defined as control over valued resources and over others' outcomes. Low-power individuals attend to those who control resources, while powerful people need not attend to low-power individuals (since high-power individuals can, by definition, get what they want).[34]

Continuum model of impression formation[edit]

This model describes the process by which we form impressions of others. Impression formation is framed as depending on two factors: The available information and the perceiver's motivations.[35] According to the model, these two factors help to explain people’s tendency to apply stereotyping processes vs. individuating processes when forming social impressions.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Fiske became an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. In 2012, Fiske received the Leadership in Diversity Science Award, from the University of California at Los Angeles.[8] In 2008 she was named President of the Foundation for the Advancement of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.[8] In 2011, Fiske was elected into the Fellowship of the British Academy. During that year Fiske was also named honorary president of the Canadian Psychological Association.[8] In 2010, she was awarded the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.[8] She received numerous awards in 2009, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Association for Psychological Science William James Fellow Award, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Donald Campbell Award, and Princeton University Graduate School Mentoring Award.[8][36][37] In 2008, Fiske received the Staats Award for Unifying Psychology, from the American Psychological Association. In 2003 she was awarded the Thomas Ostrom Award from the International Social Cognition Network. Fiske also received the Award for Distinguished Service, Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2006. She was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Basel in 2013, the University of Leiden in 2009 and the Université catholique de Louvain in 1995.[1]

She has been President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Division 8 of the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society (now the Association for Psychological Science) in 2002.


Selected journal articles[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Susan Tufts Fiske – Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Princeton University, Department of Psychology. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 7, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Capriccioso, Rob (January 13, 2006). "Gone, but Not Forgotten". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ Fiske, Susan. "Fiske Lab". Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Diener, E.; Oishi, S.; Park, J. (2014). "An incomplete list of eminent psychologists of the modern era". Archives of Scientific Psychology. 2 (1): 20–31. doi:10.1037/arc0000006. 
  5. ^ "Donald W. Fiske". University of Chicago. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Barbara Page Fiske". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Susan T. Fiske: Award for distinguished scientific contributions". American Psychologist. 65 (8): 695–706. 2010. doi:10.1037/a0020437. PMID 21058759. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Susan tufts fiske. (July 2013). Retrieved from "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  9. ^ Fiske, S. T.; Bersoff, D. N.; Borgida, E.; Deaux, K.; Heilman, M. E. (1991). "Social science research on trial: The use of sex stereotyping research in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins". American Psychologist. 46: 1049–1060. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.46.10.1049. 
  10. ^ Borgida, E., & Fiske, S. T. (Eds.) (2008). Beyond common sense: Psychological science in the courtroom. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
  11. ^ Cikara, M.; Rudman, L.; Fiske, S. (2012). "Dearth by a thousand cuts?: Accounting for gender differences in top‐ranked publication rates in social psychology". Journal of Social Issues. 68 (2): 263–285. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.2012.01748.x. PMC 3991494Freely accessible. 
  12. ^ Ochsner, K. N.; Lieberman, M. D. (2001). "The emergence of social cognitive neuroscience". American Psychologist. 56 (9): 717–734. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.56.9.717. 
  13. ^ Fiske, S. T. (2012). "Journey to the edges: Social structures and neural maps of intergroup processes. Landmark article". British Journal of Social Psychology. 51 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02092.x. PMC 3641691Freely accessible. PMID 22435843. 
  14. ^ Cikara, M.; Fiske, S. T. (2011). "Bounded empathy: Neural responses to outgroup targets' (mis)fortunes". Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 23: 3791–3803. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00069. PMC 3792561Freely accessible. PMID 21671744. 
  15. ^ Ames, D. L.; Fiske, S. T. (2013). "Outcome dependency alters the neural substrates of impression formation". NeuroImage. 83: 599–608. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.07.001. PMC 4478593Freely accessible. PMID 23850465. 
  16. ^ "Susan T. Fiske, PhD". Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  17. ^ Fiske, S. T. (2011). Envy up, scorn down: How status divides us. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  18. ^ Science, 2011, 333, 289-90.
  19. ^ Malone, C., & Fiske, S. T. (2013). The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
  20. ^ a b c d "Scientists are furious after a famous psychologist accused her peers of 'methodological terrorism'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  21. ^ "Draft of Observer Column Sparks Strong Social Media Response". Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  22. ^ Fiske, APS Past President Susan T. (2016-10-31). "A Call to Change Science's Culture of Shaming". APS Observer. 29 (9). 
  23. ^ Singal, Jesse. "Inside Psychology's 'Methodological Terrorism' Debate". Science of Us. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  24. ^ "BREAKING . . . . . . . PNAS updates its slogan! - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science". Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  25. ^ Whitley, Bernard E.; Kite, Mary E. (2010). The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-495-59964-7. 
  26. ^ Fiske, Susan T.; Cuddy, Amy J. C.; Glick, Peter; Xu, Jun (2002). "A Model of (Often Mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth Respectively Follow From Perceived Status and Competition" (PDF). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. American Psychological Association. 82 (6): 878–902. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.6.878. PMID 12051578. 
  27. ^ a b Glick, P.; Fiske, S. T. (1996). "The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 70 (3): 491–512. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.70.3.491. 
  28. ^ Fiske, S. T., & Neuberg, S. L. (1990). A continuum model of impression formation, from category-based to individuating processes: Influence of formation and motivation on attention and interpretation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 23, pp. 1-74). New York: Academic Press.
  29. ^ Fiske, S. T. (1993). "Controlling other people: The impact of power on stereotyping". American Psychologist. 48: 621–628. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.48.6.621. 
  30. ^ Brannigan, Gary G.; Merrens, Matthew R., eds. (2005). "Susan T. Fiske". The social psychologists: Research adventures. New York: McGraw Hill. pp. 18–32. ISBN 978-0-07-007234-3. 
  31. ^ Wallace, Patricia (1999). The Psychology of the Internet. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-521-63294-2. 
  32. ^ Fiske, Susan T.; Cuddy, Amy J. C.; Glick, Peter; Xu, Jun (2002). "A Model of (Often Mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth Respectively Follow From Perceived Status and Competition". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 82 (6): 878–902. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.6.878. PMID 12051578. 
  33. ^ Fiske, S. T. (2012). "Journey to the edges: Social structures and neural maps of inter‐group processes". British Journal of Social Psychology. 51 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02092.x. PMC 3641691Freely accessible. PMID 22435843. 
  34. ^ Fiske, S. T. (1993). "Controlling other people: The impact of power on stereotyping". American Psychologist. 48 (6): 621–628. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.48.6.621. 
  35. ^ Fiske, S. T., Lin, M., & Neuberg, S. L. (1999). The continuum model. In S. Chaiken & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual-Process Theories in Social Psychology. Guilford Press.
  36. ^ "Susan T. Fiske". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  37. ^ "The Fiske Lab – People". Princeton University. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 



  • Brannigan, G G & Merrens, M R (1994). The Social Psychologists: Research Adventures. McGraw-Hill.

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