Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Chris Crandall

Chris Crandall

Our lab is working on issues related to how the expression of prejudice is different from the underlying "genuine" prejudice. We began studying prejudice against fat people as a starting point to understand a wide variety of prejudices. We have been studying the justification of prejudice, particularly through ideology, values, stereotypes, and the kinds of explanations people make for bad outcomes. When a person is seen to be responsible for their behavior and life outcomes, then discrimination, hatred, and rough treatment is not only justified, but seen as natural, ethical, and good. Recently, we've turned out attention to how "free speech" claims and perceptions of "authenticity" have the effect of normalizing prejudice.

We are also working on the underlying psychological nature of political ideology--how natural, normal, non-political social-cognitive processes affect political ideology, and working on the naive perception of political process, testing the perceptual theory of legitimacy. Part of this is a social cognition approach to ideology, including the propensity to confuse "the way things are" with "the way things ought to be" (e.g., status quo bias, naturalistic fallacy, existence bias).

Finally, we are continuing to work on the perceptual theory of political legitimacy (Crandall & Beasley, 2001). In the perceptual theory, we apply the processes described by Heider (1958)—consistency, balance, perception of units, attribution—to political cognition and perception. The theory has been successfully applied to areas as diverse as candidate perception, attitudes toward impeachment, and to American conduct of covert wars and assignment of suspects to torture or "mere" detainment.

Primary Interests:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Close Relationships
  • Group Processes
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Persuasion, Social Influence
  • Political Psychology
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping


Journal Articles:

  • AJ Bahns, CS Crandall, O Gillath, KJ Preacher (2017). Similarity in relationships as niche construction: Choice, stability, and influence within dyads in a free choice environment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, 329-355. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000088
  • Crandall, C. S. (1995). Do parents discriminate against their own heavyweight daughters? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 724-735.
  • Crandall, C. S. (1994). Prejudice against fat people: Ideology and self-interest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 882-894.
  • Crandall, C. S. (1988). Social contagion of binge eating. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 588-598.
  • Crandall, C.S. Bahns, A., Warner, R., & Schaller, M. (2011). Stereotypes as justifications of prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
  • Crandall, C.S., Cox, O., Beasley, R. & Omelicheva, M. (2016). Covert Operations, Wars, Detainee Destinations, and the Psychology of Democratic Peace. Journal of Conflict Resolution, DOI: 10.1177/0022002716669572
  • Crandall, C. S., Eidelman, S., Skitka, L., & Morgan, G. S. (2009). Status quo framing increases support for torture. Social Influence, 4, 1-10.
  • Crandall, C. S., & Eshleman, A. (2003). A justification-suppression model of the expression and experience of prejudice. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 414-446.
  • Crandall, C. S., Eshleman, A., & O'Brien, L. T. (2002). Social norms and the expression and suppression of prejudice: The struggle for internalization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 359-378.
  • Eidelman, S., Crandall, C. S., & Pattershall, J. (2009). The existence bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 765-775.
  • Ferguson, M. A., & Crandall, C. S. (2007). Trends in graduate training in social psychology: Training social psychology’s trainers. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 29(4), 311-322.
  • O'Brien, L. T., & Crandall, C. S. (2005). Perceiving self-interest: Power, ideology, and maintenance of the status quo. Social Justice Research, 18, 1-24.
  • O'Brien, L. T., & Crandall, C. S. (2003). Stereotype threat and arousal: Effects on women's math performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 782-789.
  • White, M. H., & Crandall, C. S. (2017). Freedom of racist speech: Ego and expressive threats. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 413-429. DOI: 10.1037/pspi0000095

Other Publications:

  • Biernat, M., & Crandall, C. S. (1999). Racial attitudes. In J. Robinson, P. Shaver & L. Wrightsman (Eds.), Measures of political attitudes. New York: Academic Press.
  • Crandall, C. S., & Beasley, R. K. (2001). The perceptual basis of legitimacy of governmental leaders, the justice system, and prejudice: Psychological balance, attribution, and the perception of essence. In J. Jost & B. Major (Eds.), The psychology of legitimacy.

Courses Taught:

  • General Psychology
  • Group Dynamics
  • History of Social Psychology
  • Prejudice and Discrimination
  • Social Influence
  • Social Stigma

Chris Crandall
Department of Psychology
1415 Jayhawk Boulevard
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
United States of America

  • Phone: (785) 864-9807
  • Fax: (785) 864-5696

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