The New School for Social Research

PhD Program in Cognitive Social and Developmental Psychology

  • Nature of the Program

    The doctoral program offers graduate study in the areas of cognitive, social, and developmental psychology. Within the program, there is a strong emphasis on cultural psychology as a framework for understanding basic psychological theories, and on approaching psychology in ways that are sensitive to sociocultural diversity both within the United States and internationally. Considerable attention is also given to cognitive neuroscience as well as to other biologically based perspectives for explaining cognitive and social processes. Overall, the research conducted in the program reflects a broad-based perspective that supports diverse methodological approaches and that encourages interdisciplinary work.

    All students complete the concentration in General Psychology at the master's level. Here students gain a foundation in cognitive, social, and developmental psychology through completing core courses offered in each of these areas.

    At the doctoral level, students concentrate in either cognitive, social, or developmental psychology. However, they are welcome to take courses, work with faculty, and engage in research that bridges these different concentrations. Students typically enroll in specialized seminars offered in their areas of interest and undertake independent study courses with their advisors and other faculty. Students are also encouraged to take courses that may be relevant to their interests at other universities in the Consortium.

    The doctoral program reflects an apprenticeship model in which students work closely with individual faculty both on collaborative research projects and on developing their dissertation research. They are encouraged to become members of lab groups and to attend and present their own research at seminars organized across the department.

    Faculty and research emphases associated with each concentration are indicated below.

    Cognitive: Hirst, Mack, Schober, Ginges, Miozzo
    Faculty research centers on consciousness, memory, attention, language and thought, cognitive neuroscience, visual perception, and semantics—for example, the nature of collective memory, inattentional blindness, unconscious perception of emotion, perspective taking in language use, psycholinguistics, conversational interaction, and social media, psychology of music, emotion, cognitive style and the cerebral hemispheres

    Social: Ginges, Hirschfeld, Hirst, Miller, Schober, Chang, Rubin, Davidai
    Faculty research centers on political psychology, culture and cognition, close relationships, existential psychology and the impact of cultural artifacts on social cognition. Specific topics include dehumanization, conflict resolution, sacred values, essentialism and entativity, self-objectification, culture and norms of reciprocity, interpersonal motivation, the origins of racial categories, immigration and cultural conflict, judgment and decision making, and empathy and theory of mind.

    Developmental: Hirschfeld, Miller, H. Steele, M. Steele
    Faculty research centers on cognitive development, social cognition, social and emotional development, and life course development—for example, development of a theory of mind, children’s understandings of racial groups, cultural influences on adolescence, parent-child relationships, intergenerational consequences of attachment, adoption and foster care, and children with autism and their families.