Richard E. Petty, Ph.D . 

Distinguished University Professor  

Department of Psychology
The Ohio State University
1835 Neil Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1222
Office Phone: 614-292-1640; (Fax): 614-292-5601

Email: click here

Academic Biography:

Education/Positions. 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. He served as psychology department chair from 1998-2002 and again from 2008-2015.

Research. 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 (e.g., confidence/certainty) as well as implicit (automatic or unconscious) factors in persuasion, resistance to change, and advocacy; 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 8 books and over 350 journal articles and chapters (click here for listing of publications).

Professional honors. Among the honors and awards 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; in 2009 he received the Scientific Impact Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology for the development of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion; in 2012 he received the Distinguished Service Contribution award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology; in 2014 a research study named him one of the Most Eminent Psychologists of the Modern Era; in 2015 he receieved the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and in 2016 he received the Thomas M. Ostrom award for career contributions to social cognition from the Person Memory Interest Group. Petty is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the American Psychological Association (APA; with fellow status in the following divisions: General, Experimental, Social/Personality, Consumer, and Health). Petty served as President of the Midwestern Psychological Association in 2002, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2009, and the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology in 2017.

Editorial service. 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), co-editor of a special issue of Social Cognition (1998), and as Research Dialogues co-editor for the Journal of Consumer Psychology (2010-2012). In addition, he serves or has served 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 (1998-2011); Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (1994-1998; 2009-2012); Psychological Science (2006-2008); Journal of Consumer Research (1982-2000); Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (1983-2002); Journal of Consumer Psychology (1994-2003; 2011-present); Psychological Review (1996-1999); Archives of Scientific Psychology (2013-present); and School Psychology Quarterly (1997-2002).

Government/public policy service. 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, the National Cancer Institute workshop on designing theory-based health communications, and the Department of Homeland Security workshop on Countering Violent Extremism. He has served on two special committees of the National Academy of Sciences: (1) the Committee on Implementing Dietary Guidelines to Improve the Health of Americans and (2) the Committee on a Research Agenda for the Social Psychology of Aging. He is former member and chair of the National Institute of Mental Health grant review panel on Social and Group Processes.