Robert Zajonc

Robert Zajonc

Robert B. Zajonc (pronounced Zy-unce - like Science with a Z; born 1923) is a Polish-born American social psychologist who is known for his decades of work on a wide range of social and cognitive processes. One important contribution was the demonstration of the mere exposure effect, the phenomenon that repeated exposure to a stimulus brings about an attitude change in relation to the stimulus. His official faculty description notes that he focuses on processes involved in social behavior, with an emphasis on the relationship between affect, or emotion, and cognition [] . Zajonc is also well known for demonstrating how social facilitation (how the presence of others increases or decreases performance) works in humans and other animals, notably in cockroaches, which indicated that social facilitation is not entirely the result of higher cognitive processes.

Zajonc, along with Greg Markus, developed the Confluence Model (1975), which provided a mathematical model of the effect of birth order and family size on IQ scores. This theory suggests that children are born into intellectual environments that affect intelligence--first born children are born into adults-only families, all others are born into mixed adult/child families. As families increase in size, the overall IQ of the family drops; children from larger families do have slightly lower IQs. The last child in the family is denied the opportunity to tutor younger children, and there is a slight "extra" decrement for being the youngest child in a family. These effects are theoretically important, but the size of the effects is fairly small (amounting to a range of about 3 IQ points).

In 1980, a speculative and widely-argued paper entitled "Feeling and Thinking: Preferences Need No Inferences," invited in honor of his receipt of the 1979 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, made the argument that affective and cognitive systems are largely independent, and that affect is more powerful and comes first. This paper precipitated a great deal of interest in affect in psychology, and was one of a number of influences that brought the study of emotion and affective processes back into the forefront of American and European psychology.

Zajonc is married to American social psychologist Hazel Rose Markus, known for her contributions to cultural psychology.

ee also

* Audience effect ("in subjects ranging from cockroaches to humans")
* Facial feedback hypothesis

elected bibliography of Zajonc's work

This is a partial bibliography of Zajonc's works in English.

* 1968. Attitudinal effects of mere exposure, "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology".
* 1975. Birth Order and Intellectual Development, with G. Markus, "Psychological Review", 82, 74-88.
* 1980. Feeling and thinking: Preferences need no inferences, "American Psychologist".
* 1966. Social facilitation of dominant and subordinate responses. "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology". 2(2) 1966, 160-168.

External links

* [ Robert B. Zajonc] - Faculty page at Stanford
* [ Robert Zajonc] - Professional Profile at Social Psychology Network

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Look at other dictionaries:

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