Tag Archive for Plous

Plous Named Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous at the AAAS fellow induction ceremony, Feb. 13. (Photo by Fijare Plous)

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous at the AAAS fellow induction ceremony, Feb. 13. (Photo by Fijare Plous)

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

He was inducted on Feb. 13 during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., part of the association’s annual meeting. Plous was one of eight fellows newly elected to the Psychology section of the AAAS this year. He was chosen “for distinguished contributions to social psychology, particularly understanding decision-making and prejudice, and for communication of psychology science to the public.”

Founded in 1848, the AAAS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people. Fellows are members of AAAS “…whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished… Examples of areas in which nominees may have made significant contributions are research; teaching; technology; services to professional societies; administration in academe, industry, and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public. In a tradition stretching back to 1874, these individuals are recognized for their extraordinary achievements across disciplines. Fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council from the list of approved nominations from the Section Steering Committees.”

Plous holds a PhD in psychology from Stanford University. He is a former recipient of the SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in International Peace and Security. He joined Wesleyan’s faculty in 1990 and has interests in judgment and decision making, international security, prejudice and discrimination, the human use of animals and the environment, interactive web-based research and action teaching.

Plous is the founder and executive director of Social Psychology Network, a suite of nonprofit web sites supported by the National Science Foundation, several other organizations, and more than 3,500 members. Collectively, these sites have received more than 317 million page views.

He also is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

Plous and the Science of Compassion Featured on NPR

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous and anthropologist Jane Goodall presented Qian Zhang of China with a Day of Compassion Award from the Jane Goodall Institute. Zhang was a student in Plous's Social Psychology MOOC last summer and received the honor for intervening when she heard a boy being beaten in a neighboring apartment. 

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous and anthropologist Jane Goodall presented Qian Zhang of China with a Day of Compassion Award from the Jane Goodall Institute. Zhang was a student in Plous’s Social Psychology MOOC last summer and received the honor for intervening when she heard a boy being beaten in a neighboring apartment.

NPR’s “Hidden Brain” program took a look at the science of compassion in a program featuring Professor of Psychology Scott Plous and the “Day of Compassion” exercise that he leads in his social psychology courses at Wesleyan and in his Social Psychology MOOC on Coursera.

“Scott radiates kindness,” said host and science correspondent Shankar Vedantam in introducing Plous. More than 250,000 students from around the world signed up for the first run of Plous’ MOOC. The course capstone was the Day of Compassion exercise in which “students had to spend one day being deliberately kind and generous toward others. Scott asked them to notice how these actions changed the way they felt about themselves.”

“Students often report that it’s transformative—that they’re really surprised at the reaction, that people are so overwhelmingly positive that it starts to feed on itself,” said Plous. “And by the end of the day, they report, ‘This is a different side of me that I didn’t recognize was there.'” What’s driving this? “Oftentimes, it seems that compassion is contagious. We talk about paying it forward: The idea that if you do something good for another person, that give that person a kind of lift, and that person in turn will do something good for someone else, and it sets off a chain reaction,” Plous explained.

Students in the course are asked to “think deeply about their life choices,” down to what they eat for breakfast and how they commute to work, and how those choices affect other people.

Vendantam also interviewed Kellie, a participant in Plous’ MOOC who lives in London. She used some of the psychological principles taught on the course—including the “norm of reciprocity” and the power of empathy—to form a relationship with a homeless man she met on the street. She ended up inviting him for a cup of coffee, where she talked about her own life and encouraged him to open up about his. She eventually learned that he had left home because of tension with his father, but badly missed his mother. Though he was resistant, Kellie convinced the man to allow her to call his mother.

“It was quite beautiful to watch because he started out not knowing what to say and being quite guarded and defensive. That all broke down within five minutes.” After that, she convinced him to return to his family, and bought him a bus ticket home.

“I think that day in the course with Professor Plous most definitely opened my eyes to the reasons why people don’t do something to help. […] It’s easy to say ‘I can’t make a difference,’ but everyone can make a difference,” no matter how small, she said.

 

Plous’s MOOC Student Honored by Jane Goodall for Compassionate Act

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous and anthropologist Jane Goodall presented Qian Zhang of China with a Day of Compassion Award from the Jane Goodall Institute. Zhang was a student in Plous's Social Psychology MOOC last summer and received the honor for intervening when she heard a boy being beaten in a neighboring apartment. 

On Dec. 6, Professor of Psychology Scott Plous and anthropologist/ primatologist Jane Goodall presented Qian Zhang of China with a Day of Compassion Award. Zhang was a student in Plous’s Social Psychology MOOC last summer and received the honor for intervening when she heard a boy being beaten in a neighboring apartment.

In the summer of 2014, students from more than 200 countries enrolled in Professor of Psychology Scott Plous’s Social Psychology “MOOC” (massive open online course). The class was offered by Wesleyan, hosted by Coursera.org, and drew more than 200,000 students. The final assignment of the course, “The Day of Compassion,” asked students to live 24 hours as compassionately as possible and to analyze the experience using social psychology.

Wesleyan’s Coursera Classes Begin April 21 with Basinger’s “Marriage in the Movies”

Professor Jeanine Basinger is teaching “Marriage in the Movies: A History," starting April 21.

Professor Jeanine Basinger is teaching “Marriage in the Movies: A History,” starting April 21.

Always wanted to take a course with legendary film professor Jeanine Basinger? Miss the first run of Professor of Psychology Scott Plous’ wildly popular “Social Psychology” MOOC? Now’s your chance!

The next round of Wesleyan’s massive open online courses (MOOCs) is starting up this month, with “Marriage in the Movies: A History” launching April 21. Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, is teaching the course based on her book, I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies.

“This is essentially a descriptive course on stories and stars and business strategies,” says Basinger, who is also chair of film studies and curator of the cinema archives. “It provides information and shows clips for support and example. It’s not philosophical; it’s not a formalist analysis. It’s a simple study about content in the movies designed for people who love films and would like to have more information about some of them and have, what I hope, will be a fun conversation on the changes that evolved over time in stories about marriage that were made in Hollywood.”

In the course’s intro video, Basinger says the course will explore “how Hollywood had trouble telling the story and selling the story of marriage on film.”

Next Round of Wesleyan Coursera Classes Starting

The course "Social Psychology," taught by Professor Scott Plous, will be offered free of charge on the Coursera platform.

The course “Social Psychology,” taught by Professor Scott Plous, will be offered free of charge on the Coursera platform.

Miss the start of MOOC-mania earlier this year? Good news—it’s not too late to check it out! Wesleyan’s next round of massive open online courses (MOOCS) is starting on Coursera in the coming weeks.

A brand new MOOC, “Social Psychology,” will be offered by Professor of Psychology Scott Plous starting Aug. 12. The course has generated enormous interest, with more than 170,000 students currently enrolled.

“The goal of the course is to explore some entertaining and intriguing psychology findings that students can use to improve their lives, relationships, and work. More than 40 organizations have contributed free readings, video clips and other items to the course, and I’m excited to share these materials with students who might not otherwise have access to them,” said Plous, adding that he has “tucked some fun surprises into the course.”

In addition, many of Wesleyan’s original MOOCs will run for a second time on Coursera this summer and fall. These include  “The Modern and the Postmodern,” (begins July 29) taught by President Michael Roth; “The Ancient Greeks,” (Sept. 2) taught by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies; and “The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound and Color,” (Sept. 16) taught by Scott Higgins, associate professor of film studies.

"Analysis of a Complex Kind" will be taught by Professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor.

“Analysis of a Complex Kind” will be taught by Professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor, starting on Oct. 21.

Later in the fall, another new MOOC, “Analysis of a Complex Kind,” will be taught by Petra Bonfert-Taylor, professor of mathematics. This class starts on Oct. 21.

The first round of Wesleyan MOOCs saw enrollment by more than 140,000 students from 171 countries and every continent, save Antarctica, according to Sheryl Culotta, director of continuing studies and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program. The typical student was an international, college-educated woman in her 20s and 30s.

The feedback from these students has been very positive. “Many have said that they felt their Wesleyan Coursera course was equivalent to college-level classes they have taken,” Culotta said.

Wesleyan’s initial Coursera pilot project will continue throughout the coming academic year, with a few new courses launching in the fall and spring. After these courses launch, Wesleyan will make a decision regarding future courses, said Culotta, and will develop an official course proposal process similar to the process for other programs.

 

 

Plous’s “Action Teaching” Model Gaining Traction Worldwide

Scott Plous, professor of psychology.

Scott Plous, professor of psychology.

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous is working to spread the word about a model of teaching that enhances learning while directly contributing to a more just, compassionate, and peaceful world.

Back in 2000, Plous coined the term “action teaching” to describe this model. He was inspired by the work of psychologist Kurt Lewin, who in the wake of World War II, developed the concept of “action research,” or research aimed at solving social problems. Lewin’s action research primarily focused on addressing prejudice due to race or religion.

The first action teaching lesson Plous developed, which he published in the journal Teaching of Psychology in 2000, asked students to role play different scenarios in which one person makes a prejudiced comment, and another responds. For example, in one scenario, a student playing a middle-aged uncle at a family dinner makes an antigay remark. A student playing another family member at the table must then respond in a way that psychological research suggests will reduce the uncle’s prejudice. Two additional students act as coaches who observe the interaction and provide candid feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the response. Over the next hour, students then rotate roles and try responding to other prejudiced comments.

Plous Elected Council Member for Psychology Organization’s Governing Board

Scott Plous.

Scott Plous, professor of psychology, was elected to a three-year term as a council member of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). The council is the governing board of the Society.

Founded in 1936, SPSSI is a group of over 3,000 scientists from psychology and related fields and others who share a common interest in research on the psychological aspects of important social and policy issues. In various ways, SPSSI seeks to bring theory and practice into focus on human problems of the group, the community, and nations, as well as the increasingly important problems that have no national boundaries.

$700,000 NSF Grant Will Transform Plous’ Website

More than 1,500 people are members of the Psychology Social Network, managed by Scott Plous.

Approximately 2,000 scholars are members of the Psychology Social Network, founded by Scott Plous. The National Science Foundation recently awarded Plous a $700,000 grant to transform the site into a full featured social networking service.

Before the internationally-known social network site Facebook existed, there was Social Psychology Network (SPN), founded at Wesleyan in 1996 by professor of psychology Scott Plous. Three years after launching his site, Plous received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to enhance SPN. Now NSF is providing a new $700,000 grant to help Plous transform the site into a full featured social networking service for visitors and its approximately 2,000 members across the world.

The primary users of SPN are researchers, educators, students, and others interested in psychology. According to the site’s usage page, more than 10,000 people from over 100 countries visit the Social Psychology Network in a typical 24-hour period. All told, SPN’s pages have been visited more than 160 million times over the past decade.

The SPN features professional profiles of some of its members.

SPN features professional profiles of some of its members.

The new NSF grant provides support for Plous to hire a social networking specialist to add more Web 2.0 functionality. Currently, the site is operated by a small team consisting of Plous, executive director; David Jensenius, system administrator; Mike Lestik, web designer; Jen Spiller, senior web editor; R.J. Herrick, web programmer; and a few student assistants.

Plous says that the grant will allow SPN to bring the latest web-based networking technologies to the social psychology community. When this work is completed, users will be able to link their profiles to “colleagues” (similar to “friends” in Facebook) and establish mini-networks based on shared research interests, career level, geographic location or other attributes. Users will also be able to track each other’s publications, subscribe to profiles, and be notified of new content.

Social Psychology Network now includes a Google "mash-up" in which the global network of SPN profiles can be searched geographically.

Social Psychology Network now includes a Google "mash-up" in which the global network of SPN profiles can be searched geographically.

These features build on interactive and subscription-based services that Social Psychology Network has already developed. For example, SPN offers RSS feeds, Twitter updates, and a Google “mash-up” in which the global network of SPN profiles can be searched geographically. The Network’s searchable directory also includes nearly 700 Media Contacts willing to talk with reporters about behavioral science topics, and over 450 SPN Mentors offering free career assistance to students from underrepresented groups.

“Scott Plous’ continued success at securing significant financial support is a strong endorsement of his efforts to support the global dissemination of knowledge and facilitate communication among scholars worldwide,” says Ruth Striegel-Moore, professor and chair of psychology.

“Credit is also due to Information Technology Services and the Administration for their early support in the development of Social Psychology Network. And, of course, SPN thrives thanks to Plous’ vision, creativity, and boundless energy,” Striegel-Moore says.

Plous Awarded NSF Grant for Psychology Network

Scott Plous, professor of psychology.

Scott Plous, professor of psychology.

Scott Plous, professor of psychology, received a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the Social Psychology Network. Plous founded the web-based presence in 1996.

The grant will be used to transform the site into a full featured social networking service for visitors and its approximately 2,000 members across the world. For more information read the accompanying article in The Wesleyan Connection.