Richard E. Petty is a Distinguished professor in the Department of Psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, USA.


Dr. Petty received his B.A. (with high distinction) in government (political science) and psychology from the University of Virginia in 1973, and 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 named Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State. From 1998-2002, he served as Chair of the OSU Department of Psychology.


Dr. 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 (unconscious) factors in persuasion and resistance to change; the effect of racial and ethnic prejudice, stereotypes, 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). This work has resulted in 7 books and over 200 journal articles and chapters (click here for listing of publications).

Professional honorsEdit

Among the honors and awards Dr. Petty has received are the following: in 1995 he 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; in 2001 he received the Donald T. Campbell Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Social Psychology from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology; in 2002 he was selected as a Decade of Behavior Lecturer by the American Psychological Association. Petty is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Psychological Science (APS), and the American Psychological Association (APA; with fellow status in the following divisions: General, Experimental, Social/Personality, Consumer, and Health). Petty completed a term as President of the Midwestern Psychological Association in 2002, and he becomes President-Elect of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2008.

Editorial serviceEdit

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 (2002-2004), and currently serves on the editorial boards of the following journals: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1983-present); Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (1990-present); Personality and Social Psychology Review (1995-present); Media Psychology (1998-present); and Psychological Science (2006-present). He has served previously on the boards of: Journal of Consumer Research (1982-2000), Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (1983-2002), Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (1994-1998), Journal of Consumer Psychology (1994-2003), Psychological Review (1996-1999), and School Psychology Quarterly (1997-2002),

Government/public policy serviceEdit

Dr. Petty has served as a consultant and panelist for various federal agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse panel on Using Persuasive Communication to Prevent Drug Abuse, the National Science Foundation panel on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, and the National Cancer Institute's workshop on designing theory-based health communications. He has served on two committees of the National Academy of Sciences: (1) Committee on Implementing Dietary Guidelines to Improve the Health of Americans and (2) Committee on a Research Agenda for the Social Psychology of Aging. He is former chair of the National Institute of Mental Health grant review panel on Social and Group Processes.


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