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PERSONALITY & SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Arie W. Kruglanski
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Arie W. Kruglanski was born in Lodz, Poland in 1939, amidst tumultuous social and political circumstances. His family later moved to Israel, where Arie attended high school and served in the armed forces. Afterward, he moved to North America, first to the University of Toronto, Canada, where he obtained a B.A. degree in psychology in 1966, and then to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he rapidly earned his Ph.D. under the guidance of Harold H. Kelley in 1968. Arie returned to Israel, where he spent 15 years as a Professor at Tel Aviv University and was elected President of the Israel Society for Social Psychological Research. He settled at the University of Maryland in College Park in 1987, where he is now a Distinguished University Professor and a founding co-Principal Investigator of START (a National Center for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism).

Arie has been a pioneer in the psychological study of closed-mindedness—or the "need for cognitive closure"—and the ways in which epistemic motivation is linked to rigid, fundamentalist belief systems and to violent extremism. His research has addressed the formation of subjective knowledge from the perspective of lay epistemic theory; the relationship between self-regulation and action; a unified conception of human judgment with implications for persuasion, stereotyping, attribution, and probabilistic reasoning; an analysis of political ideology as motivated social cognition; the motivational underpinnings of terrorist activity; and general theoretical frameworks for understanding goal systems and “cognitive energetics.” On these topics and others, he has published over 300 journal articles and book chapters. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.S. Air Force, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Naval Research, as well as the Ford and Templeton Foundations.

Arie has received numerous awards and honors, including the Donald Campbell Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Psychology and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award conferred by the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. He is a recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award, the University of Maryland Regents Award for Scholarship and Creativity, a Senior Humboldt Award, and the Regesz Chair at the University of Amsterdam. Arie is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science and has served the discipline by editing several prominent journals, including Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition, and American Psychologist. He has also served on National Academy of Sciences panels related to counterterrorism and educational paradigms in homeland security.


Tributes

As I am at the gate of becoming an emeritus professor, the timing is perfect to look back and assess 40 years of my academic career. In making this evaluation, I can say unequivocally that Arie K. (as we call him in Tel Aviv) influenced my scientific development as a social psychologist more than any other person. He provided me with the prism to look at socio-psychological phenomena that I have since been using in all my work. His meta-theory of lay epistemics has been the foundation of all of my own academic contributions.

I met Arie in 1969, when he first arrived at Tel Aviv University as a lecturer after his doctoral studies in UCLA, and I was in my senior year of undergraduate studies. It was a passing acquaintanceship, and only in 1975, with my return to Tel Aviv University to join its faculty, we formed a deep professional and social relationship. My brother Yoram, who was then studying for his Master’s degree in social psychology, was telling me about the most inspiring teacher, who was building a new exciting theory. He told me its basic principles, and being stimulated I approached Arie and joined his study group. This was the beginning of a wonderful friendship and productive collaboration.

The basic contours of lay epistemic theory were already formulated, and we were excited to study its ramifications and extend its applications. The theory provided a new outlook on the way social psychologists could view the social world, and I must admit that after being trained as a mainstream experimental social psychologist it took me some time to adopt these new glasses for viewing social behavior. The theory has deep foundations in non-justificationistic philosophy and has a very wide scope of implications. At that time, we believed that lay epistemic theory was a new grand theory that provided a novel perspective, not only for social psychologists but also for other psychological sub-disciplines such as clinical and developmental psychology. The period of working with Arie in the late 1970s and early 1980s was one of the most exciting periods of my life in academia. During this period we dreamed about changing the nature of social psychology and wrote a paper demonstrating how the theory could be applied to the analysis of various social behaviors. It was clear to us that the perspective developed by Arie sheds an alternative light on various social phenomenon, such as dissonance, attribution theory, interpersonal interactions, pro-social behavior, and the nature of conflict.

In those years, our friendship reached its peak, as our background and personal circumstances were similar. Arie introduced me to the German group headed by Carl Graumann and Wolfgang Stroebe, who brought with him a promising postdoctoral student, Miles Hewstone. The group met in conferences in Bad Hamburg and the collaborative efforts resulted in two edited volumes, The Social Psychology of Intergroup Conflict and Stereotypes and Prejudice: Changing Conceptions. In addition, we established the Israeli Association of Social Psychology with annual meetings, an association that remained alive as long as Arie was in Israel.

The collaboration with Arie reached a climax in 1984, when we organized and hosted the elite of the world’s social cognitive psychologists in Kibbutz Shefayim to explore the boundaries of the nature and acquisition of social knowledge. We hoped that the event would lead to fruitful exchanges between traditional social cognition and lay epistemic theory, leading to new understandings. This was a very special meeting, during which, between dips in the great pool, the participants engaged in deep discussions that eventually resulted in an edited book entitled The Social Psychology of Knowledge, which at that time was considered a creative and meaningful contribution to social psychology.

This period of my life more or less ended when Arie decided to take off to the unlimited spheres of American social psychology and become one of its leaders. We tried to maintain contact, but distance (as we know) has an effect, and we also moved into different domains of interest in our individual scientific work. Our last collaborative effort took place in the early 1990s, when we tried to move the mainstream of social psychology to include a macro-level societal approach and a multi-method approach to research, in the tradition of the founding fathers of social psychology. It is hard to judge the effect of this critical initiative, as social psychology has become accustomed to such critical waves, but continues to sail in more or less the same direction.

Arie K. fulfilled his promise to become a prominent social psychologist of the present generation, leaving a distinguished mark on advancing theoretical thinking validated with empirical studies. He also combined his socio-psychological research with studying macro-level problems that concern the world. For me, when I try to follow him from the early years of his work to his present monumental status, I can say with confidence that he served as a model for me in his intellectual and creative grasp of human social behavior. I am thankful for having had this unique opportunity to be his colleague and collaborator—to learn from him how to study social psychological issues.

Daniel Bar-Tal, Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education, Tel Aviv University


“The dogs can bark, but the caravan goes on”, said the sign on Arie’s wall. This is what I read when I first came into his office; it made a profound impact on me.

Needless to say that this proverb wasn’t a metaphor for Arie’s supervisory style! I assure you that during my training, there was never any barking involved (not even a single yap)! On the contrary, I found a mentor whose authenticity, receptiveness, and amazing sense of humor always brought out the best in people. No facade, no pretentiousness. With Arie: “what you see, is what you get” and I am convinced many were drawn to his lab for this reason.

Research-wise, Arie’s ever-sharp mind and remarkable ability to reconcile different theoretical approaches kept the dogs from barking (no offense to reviewers out there) and allowed his caravan to keep on going for miles, miles, and miles into uncharted intellectual territories. Psychological science, is in my opinion, indebted to him for many ingenious and important theoretical developments.

I feel fortunate to have been part of the journey and to have made a friend along the way. Hats off to you, Arie, for a splendid career and a well-deserved honor!

Jocelyn Belanger, Assistant Professor of Social & Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal


Arie Kruglanski is one of the most exciting social psychologists in the world today. He has repeatedly made fundamental and transformative contributions to core areas of social psychology, including motivation, attitudes, and lay epistemology. Recently, he has taken his powerful analytic and empirical skills into the real world to understand terrorism, its causes, and its potential solutions. He is tireless in his pursuit of knowledge that makes a difference.

Carol Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University


Arie’s enthusiasm, energy and love for psychology are contagious. His wisdom and depth are inspiring. His faith in the field, and in his students and colleagues, is pushing us forward. His work has stimulated research in social psychology for many years. I feel honored and grateful to have Arie as my mentor. Thank you, Arie.

Ayelet Fishbach, Jeffrey Breakenridge Keller Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing, University of Chicago


Arie Kruglanski has been a role model for me with his passion to turn social psychology into a home for scientists from the different subfields of psychology and from all over the world. His unique global and interdisciplinary orientation has inspired me to seek and develop research collaborations within and beyond my home country and my primary research interests. Arie prompted me to study motivation over and above a mere social psychological perspective -- from a cognitive, self-regulation, education, health, and societal perspective as well. Most notably, Arie is a true Mensch who is always ready to listen when his friends and colleagues face problems. And he has the knowledge and skills to provide the needed help. Psychological science needs more Arie Kruglanskis!

Peter M. Gollwitzer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology, New York University


Twenty years ago Arie Kruglanski changed my life when—at the climactic end of an animated, wide-ranging telephone conversation about a pair grant proposals he had written—he offered me a job as a postdoctoral researcher in his laboratory at the University of Maryland. Those two grant proposals, which were not only funded by NSF and NIH but transformed into articles that appeared in Psychological Review and Psychological Bulletin, were full of rich and inspiring insights. It was a tremendously generative set of ideas around the concept of epistemic motivation, and I remember thinking that Arie’s style of theorizing and research design, which both measured and manipulated nearly every variable of interest across multiple studies, reminded me of the tenets of the perspectivist method advocated by my dissertation advisor at Yale, the late, great Bill McGuire.

Arie hired me during that phone conversation, and he told me, much to my surprise, that I would be the fourth of four postdocs to be joining his lab that September, should I choose to accept. He referred to the group of four as a “dream team.” I turned down two other offers and accepted his because of that phone call. I could sense already that he was a brilliant, dedicated researcher, and a warm and wonderful man.

Although I knew that I wanted to be on his team back in 1995, I did not realize how productive or inspiring our collaboration and, ultimately, friendship would become. Over the years we have published eight articles and book chapters, including one on political ideology as motivated social cognition that has been cited over 1,800 times. Over the years, Arie and I have reunited in fine restaurants all over the world, such as Budapest, Washington, New York, Chicago, Austin, and Los Angeles. On those and other occasions, I always felt that we connected on many different levels, including—but by no means exclusively—a scholarly or scientific level. I am quite sure that many other people feel exactly the same way about connecting with Arie.

When Arie and I taught a two-week course on “Political Ideology” for the Summer Institute in Social Psychology (SISP) in Austin, Texas in 2007, it dawned on me even more fully what a truly exceptional individual Arie is. As busy, accomplished, overcommitted, and famous as he is, it was a joy to see him there, absorbing new material, reading new articles, preparing additional lectures, and working harder than he needed to teach and inspire 18 graduate students. Those students, I’m pleased to say, were as excited to be there and as engaged as I was when Arie and I did our very best work together.

It was also there, in Austin, when I realized that there is a perfect word to describe Arie, although one word will never be enough. The word is probably not one that I would have used before I met Arie, but it is a word that I have come to really appreciate. Arie, I think, is the textbook definition of a “mensch.” I love him dearly, and I’m so happy to celebrate his illustrious career. One final note: Arie will be a keynote speaker at the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) meeting in Warsaw, Poland in the summer of 2016, so please join us there!

John T. Jost, Professor of Psychology and Politics, New York University


The quality and scope of Arie's contributions are truly extraordinary. Time and time again, he has developed theoretical formulations that both integrate seemingly disparate lines of prior work and suggest novel hypotheses for future research. Moreover, he has gone on to test these hypotheses in elegant and programmatic studies. In addition to providing a constant stream of exciting new ideas, Arie has been a wonderful companion and a caring friend. He is also very useful to have around when the sommelier approaches the table.

John M. Levine, Professor of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh


In my early formative years at Tel Aviv University, close to 40 years ago, Arie was the kind and wise mentor that any junior faculty member would have hoped for. In a deep sense he influenced the way I think about, and do, social psychology. But at least as important as his wisdom and kindness are his friendship and generosity over all those 40 years.

Arie Nadler, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Tel Aviv University


I had the great fortune of working with Arie as a postdoc and have been grateful for the experience ever since. I have long admired the breadth of his interests and knowledge, his openness to new ideas, and his indefatigable productivity. Crisscrossing the globe, the breadth and impact of his service to the field has been immeasurable. Through his research, his theorizing and his charm he has continued to inspire me and shape my thinking, as I'm sure he has many others.

Jim Shah, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University


Taking graduate classes with Arie were transformative experiences. The horizons of psychological theory appeared limitless in his classes, reaching into every corner of human life with elegant logical coherence. Arie did not only expand my ideas about what can be done with psychological theory, but made theorizing itself invigoratingly fun.

Garriy Shteynberg, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Tennessee


I consider myself very fortunate to have had Arie as a professional and personal companion during my entire career. It all started in the 1980s when he (together with Hannah) came to Mannheim as a guest professor. Since then, we have shared a great number of intellectual, cultural, culinary, and athletic pleasures. Intellectually, I admired his outstanding epistemic sophistication. Culturally, I cannot think of anybody who is in touch with friends and colleagues of so many nations. Culinarily, he helped me discover the intricacies of the Italian cuisine (in D.C.!) and introduced me to the complexity of a considerable number of wines. And yes, we also have an athletic commonality. It has to do with running down mogul ski runs in both the US and Switzerland. In the early 1990s, Arie and I spent a week skiing in St. Moritz. This memorable holiday resulted in the European Spring Conference of Social Psychology which has taken place for the 11th time in 2015 in St. Moritz. Arie, thanks for everything!

Fritz Strack, Professor of Psychology, Universität Würzburg, Germany


Throughout his amazing career, Arie Kruglanski has set an example of how one can put a premium on general principles in modeling human thinking and action without sacrificing novelty. Arie’s commitment to “theories without borders” has been a compass that I have tried to follow. His work on lay epistemics and goal systems, for example, are among the most general and elegant theoretical frameworks in social psychology. This work has made a major contribution to the understanding of human reasoning as a motivated social psychological phenomenon and to the understanding of motivation as cognition. Arie has inspired multiple generations of students, post-docs, and colleagues all over the world. The number of international research collaborations Professor Kruglanski has developed is unparalleled. He is clearly one of the most original, prolific, and interdisciplinary thinkers in our field, with an eye for the big picture and potential application of the basic science of psychology to major social political problems such as terrorism. More than any psychologist I can think of Professor Kruglanski has forged links between psychology and the social sciences. A seminar I took with Arie inspired me to devote myself to research in social psychology. Over the years, Arie has become for me not only a teacher, scientist, and intellectual I admire but also a friend I love.

Yaacov Trope, Professor of Psychology, New York University



Further Donations are always welcome, whether to honor Arie W. Kruglanski or another psychologist. Be sure to leave a note regarding which mentor you would like to donate for and any testimonial you might like to give.