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 masters 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.

    The director of the Cognitive, Social, and Development Psychology Graduate Program is Associate Professor Emanuele Castano. Faculty and research emphases associated with each concentration are indicated below.

    Cognitive: Hirst, Mack, Schober, Castano, Ginges
    Faculty research centers on such broad areas as consciousness, memory, attention, language and thought, cognitive neuroscience, visual perception, and semantics. Examples of the specific research questions under investigation are the nature of collective memory, inattentional blindness, the unconscious perception of emotion, perspective taking in language use, psycholinguistics and conversational interaction, and psychology of music.

    Social: Castano, Ginges, Hirschfeld, Hirst, Miller, Schober, Chang, Rubin
    Faculty research centers on such broad areas as political psychology, culture and cognition, close relationships, and existential psychology. Examples of the specific research questions under investigation are dehumanization, conflict resolution in political disputes, sacred values, essentialism and entativity, self-objectification, culture and norms of reciprocity, interpersonal motivation, the origins of racial categories, and immigration.

    Developmental: Hirschfeld, H. Steele, M. Steele
    Faculty research centers on such broad areas as cognitive development, social cognition, social and emotional development, life course development. Examples of the specific research questions under investigation are the development of theory of mind, children’s understanding of racial groups, cultural influences on adolescence, parent-child relationships, intergenerational consequences of attachment, and adoption and foster care.