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Jacqueline Woolley, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

William B Swann

Professor Ph. D., University of Minnesota

William B Swann

Contact

  • Phone: (512) 471-3859
  • Office: SEA 3.106
  • Campus Mail Code: A8000

Biography

Dr. Bill Swann will not be admitting a clinical student for 2015

Bill Swann is a Professor of Social and Personality Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His primary appointment is in the Social-Personality area of the Psychology Department, but he also has appointments in Clinical Psychology and in the School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College. Bill has been a Fellow at Princeton University and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has also been elected a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. He has received multiple research scientist development awards from the National Institutes of Mental Health and research awards from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Mental Health.

Bill is best know for developing self-verification theory, which focuses on people’s desire to be known and understood by others. The theory assumes that once people develop firmly held beliefs about themselves, they come to prefer that others see them as they see themselves--even if their self-views are negative. For example, married people with negative self-views are more committed to the relationship if their spouse views them negatively. In fact, if such individuals are viewed positively, they run a somewhat higher risk of divorce! Recent research has applied this theory to understanding phenomena ranging from reactions to procedural justice in organizations, the productivity of members of work groups and teams, and extreme group behavior, such as fighting for one's group. Shankar Vedantam recently highlighted this work in his column in the Washington Post.

Identity negotiation theory is another focus of Bill's work. Identity negotiaion refers to the processes whereby people in relationships reach agreements regarding “who is who.” Once reached, these agreements govern the way people relate to one another, as they establish what people expect of one another. In this way, identity negotiation provide the interpersonal “glue” that holds relationships together. In recent years, Bill has become interested in how identity negotiation processes unfold in groups, especially in organizational settings.

Bill has also been active in developing several measures of indvidual differences, including measures of self-concept, self-esteem and most recently, Blirtatiousness. To find out how Blirtatious you are, click here.

Supervising the individual research projects of his undergraduate and doctoral students takes much of Bill's time. He also teaches several courses, including a graduate level course in Social Psychology and several seminars on the self, personality, relationships, groups, and social stereotypes. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate versions of all of his seminars.

Selected Publications

 

Interests

The self, relationships and group processes, including questions such as why people engage in extreme behaviors such as terrorism. Self and identity, group behavior, interpersonal relationships and person perception

PSY 394V • Foundations Social Psychology

43989 • Fall 2014
Meets W 100pm-400pm SEA 1.332
(also listed as PSY 385P )
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Curr Tpcs In Social-Pers Psy

43990 • Fall 2014
Meets W 400pm-700pm SEA 3.250
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Foundations Social Psychology

44355 • Spring 2014
Meets W 100pm-400pm SEA 1.332
(also listed as PSY 385P )
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Identity And Self

44360 • Spring 2014
Meets M 100pm-400pm SEA 3.250
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Curr Tpcs In Social-Pers Psy

44025 • Fall 2013
Meets W 400pm-700pm SEA 3.250
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Foundations Social Psychology

43700 • Spring 2013
Meets W 100pm-400pm SEA 1.332
(also listed as PSY 385P )
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 385P • Fundamentals Of Social Psy

43425 • Fall 2012
Meets M 300pm-600pm SEA 1.332
show description

Survey of important theories and research in social psychology, with emphasis on current problems. A core course option.

PSY 341K • Self And Social Interaction

43290 • Spring 2012
Meets TH 330pm-630pm SEA 3.250
show description

Structure of the course

 

This class will be a broad overview of self-related theory and research, with an emphasis on recent developments in the field such as implicit self-esteem, self-esteem in close relationships, and the role of the self in adaptive functioning. Topics will range from the nature of self-esteem and depression to positive illusions and what makes people satisfied with their relationships.  To this end, we will read and critique a mix of contemporary and classic articles on the self. 

Discussion questions and class presentations. 

Each class will consist of a discussion, which will occasionally be punctuated by brief lectures.  Every week, all students will prepare for the discussion period by doing all the readings and preparing 2 or 3 discussion questions based on the readings. The discussion questions are so named because they should promote discussion.  Although there are no hard and fast rules, my experience has told me that the most successful questions are integrative (i.e., they relate ideas in different readings to one another).  These questions are extremely influential determinants of the success of the class and will count for 20% of your grade so please spend some time on them. The discussion questions are due each Wednesday at 4 PM.  Please send your questions to us via e-mail: mbuhrmest@yahoo.com.

 

In addition, each week volunteers will critique the readings (one volunteer per reading) to facilitate class discussion. Depending upon how many people are in the class, each student will volunteer several times over the course of the semester. Please don’t summarize the readings—everyone will already have all that information.  Critiques should focus on the strengths and/or weaknesses of the article—concise is good. The quality of your critique and class participation will be used as a basis for your class participation grade. Class participation will count for 10% of your grade.

 

Literature reviews. For this paper, you will summarize a body of research on the self that is of interest to you and approved by the TA.  It must be at least 8 pages in length.  This will count for 30% of your grade.

 

Research papers.  For this paper, you will propose a study or critically review a body of research.  One option will be to link this to the literature review, with the literature review summarizing a body of research and the research paper proposing a related study.  This paper will be at least 8 pages long and will count for 30% of your grade. Here is a website with lots of useful information about writing: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/. See especially the essay & research paper page.

 

Pop quizzes.  At random points during the semester, you will receive pop quizzes. There will be a total of 2 or 3 such quizzes and they will account for 10% of your grade.

 

Grading

Critiques/Class participation: 10%
Questions on readings: 20%

Literature review: 30% (Due Date: March 6th)

Research paper: 30% (Due Date: May 1st)

Pop quizzes:   10%   

 

Text

A packet of readings, but no book

PSY 394V • Self, Identity, & Group Procs

43515 • Spring 2012
Meets W 100pm-400pm SEA 1.332
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Self, Identity, & Group Procs

44060 • Spring 2011
Meets W 100pm-400pm SEA 3.250
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Smnr In Socl & Personality Psy

44065 • Spring 2011
Meets W 400pm-700pm SEA 1.332
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 385P • Fundamentals Of Social Psy

43265 • Fall 2010
Meets M 200pm-500pm SEA 3.250
show description

Survey of important theories and research in social psychology, with emphasis on current problems. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. A core course option. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Identity And The Self

44205 • Spring 2010
Meets W 100pm-400pm SEA 3.250
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 385P • Fundamentals Of Social Psy

44250 • Fall 2009
Meets M 200pm-500pm SEA 3.250
show description

Survey of important theories and research in social psychology, with emphasis on current problems. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. A core course option. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 394V • Smnr In Socl & Personality Psy

44370 • Fall 2009
Meets W 400pm-700pm SEA 3.250
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

PSY 341K • Self And Social Interaction-W

43200 • Spring 2009
Meets TH 330pm-630pm SEA 3.250
show description

Topics of contemporary interest that may vary from semester to semester. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309.

PSY 394V • Identity And The Self

43460 • Spring 2009
Meets W 1200-300pm SEA 2.224
show description

Seminars in Social and Personality Psychology. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.

Books

Self-Traps: The Elusive Quest for Higher Self-Esteem

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