Summer Institute for Social and Personality Psychology (SISPP)
With National Science Foundation funding, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology offers biannually (in odd-numbered years) a two-week intensive summer experience for up to 100 pre-doctoral students in social and personality psychology.
SISPP typically offers five courses, in dual-instructor format, led by top researchers and teachers in the field. The program also offers two unique workshops, exposing you to current and important data analytic techniques and research methodologies.
Selected attendees of SISPP can look forward to:
- Engaging with distinguished instructors on topics of cutting edge theories and research.
- Attending methodological workshops exploring innovative research methods and data analytic tools.
- Networking with pioneers in their fields to develop partnerships for future collaboration, funding, and support of our science.
- Immersing in an environment of their peers—rich in diversity across race, discipline, gender, and department size—designed to support interactive and unique collaborative opportunities.
Applications are now closed for SISPP 2023 at Ohio State University. Learn more about the program and courses and workshops for the 2023 session.
Over the last decade, hundreds of attendees have experienced the Summer Institute in Social and Personality Psychology. More that 240 of attendees responded a survey on their experience with the SISPP program.
- 58% of respondents currently hold faculty positions, 4% are adjunct professors and 22% have post-doctoral fellowships
- Alumni have more than 1100 publications, 130 grants, and 51 fellowships credited to their names.
- Of those, 161 publications, 33 grants, and 27 fellowships were reported as direct results of the content learned and connections formed at the Summer Institute in Social and Personality Psychology.
New York University, July 14 - 25, 2019
University of Southern California, July 9-22, 2017
Northeastern University, July 19 - August 1, 2015
SISPP 2013 - University of California – Davis
SISPP 2011 - Princeton University
SISPP 2009 - Northwestern University
SISPP 2007 - University of Texas, Austin
SISPP 2005 - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
SISPP 2003 - University of Colorado, Boulder
"SISPP was one of the best professional (and personal) experiences of my academic career. I was able to spend two full weeks with faculty that were experts in an area that I would have otherwise had little to no other opportunities to be trained in. Further, I was able to spend an extended period of time with eighty of the best and the brightest, not to mention most fun, social psychology graduate students from across the country and the globe. I formed several relationships that I know will be both life-long friendships and career-long collaborations. If I could recommend one experience to fellow graduate students, it would undoubtedly be SISPP."
– Liz Keneski, The University of Texas at Austin
"The best parts of SISPP: The chance to interact with fantastic people in the field without the usual performance pressure of conferences, presentations, etc. Being reminded (in so many ways) of why I love psychology and how lucky I am to have an opportunity to do this work. It was awesome to connect with people on a deeper level, and I came away feeling inspired and excited to get back to work!"
– Sara Andrews Ruiz, University of California at Riverside
"SISPP was an invaluable resource for networking, expanding my perspective, and discussing research interests in depth with mentors and colleagues that I would have likely never met otherwise. Upon completing the two weeks of research training, I returned home with new insights on how to approach my data and new opportunities for collaboration with colleagues. Furthermore, the Davis cohort was such a wonderful group of researchers, the majority of whom I am still in regular contact with. I would recommend SISPP to any graduate student looking for an opportunity to network, get connected, and grow as a scientist."
– Arezou Ghane, University of California at Riverside
"I will start by saying that every Social Psychology graduate student should make an active effort to attend SISPP. SISPP is one of the best experiences I have had so far as a graduate student. While at SISPP, I was able to interact and think with impressive graduate students and psychology faculty. During my time there, I learned a lot and was able to think more critically about some of my research ideas. Currently, I am starting a research project informed by the lessons in the Personality Development course taught by Drs. Rebecca Shiner and Brent Donnellan. SISPP also helped me solidify my commitment to academia/research, and my resolve to do good work. Though a bit intense, I was still able to have fun and party (a lot) with my Boston SISPPers. I have also development several professional and personal friendships as a result of SISPP that I hope will last a lifetime."
– Drexler James, University of Illinois at Chicago
“I loved teaching at SISPP because I got to spend quality time with promising new scholars in the field as well as faculty members who I only get to see occasionally at professional conferences. The small class sizes allow for substantive conversations about psychological science. The social activities provided even more opportunities for getting to know one another and for professional engagement. A few years after SISPP, one of the students in my course became a postdoc in my lab. For all of these reasons, I found the entire experience very rewarding. I highly recommend teaching at SISPP!” -- Pranj Mehta, Social Neuroendocrinology (2013)
“Teaching at SISPP was a wonderful experience. It doesn’t happen often that one gets to spend five days in the classroom with a small group of students from around the world, thinking about questions near and dear to one's heart. The SISPP students were no exception; bright, motivated, and spirited — a teacher's dream come true. It’s also been extremely rewarding to see those students go on to make a contribution to the field. It was an all-around lovely, intellectual, and social experience. One that I am grateful I’ve had.” --Iris Mauss, Biological Basis of Social Behavior and Personality (2009)
“Teaching at SISPP is like a graduate seminar on amphetamines. The field’s brightest and most passionate students are distilled into a room to discuss and debate the field’s most pressing issues and cutting-edge approaches. It’s an experience you’ll remember for years. Plus, SISPP students have a way of becoming superstars. It’s a great way to meet tomorrow’s leaders.” --Keith Payne, Implicit Measurement (2011)
“Teaching the science of emotion at SISPP had the feel of being at a retreat with the best young minds interested in building an intellectual movement. Having the privilege of discussing the central discoveries and best methods in the science of emotion, and learning from a supercharged group of hungry young scholars, gave me the sense, like few experiences, of seeing new discoveries in the field taking shape.” --Dacher Keltner, Methods of Assessing Emotions (2003)
“Being an instructor for SISPP was one of the highlights of my academic career. It’s a rare opportunity to teach (and learn from) a group of students who are ALL very bright and highly motivated to engage with the course’s topic. Teaching this course is also a great opportunity to renew your own interest in your chosen research field, update your knowledge on the relevant literature, and broaden your perspective. This is so because the SISPP students will ask you the kinds of questions that require you to examine ongoing assumptions and peruse a few new, or classic, papers before the next day. Another plus is having an opportunity to interact with other social-personality faculty during the formal and informal events that go on during SISPP, and learn about their research and experiences. Being invited to teach at SISPP is also an honor, as instructors are carefully selected because of their visibility in the field and the scientific and societal importance of what they study.” --Veronica Benet-Martinez, Culture (2013)
“One of the main reasons it was such a joy for me to teach at SISPP probably wouldn't be relevant for most of the instructors, because I suspect the vast majority of them are from schools with graduate students. As a person teaching at an undergraduate institution, it was a joy for me to work with graduate students and to feel like I could contribute in some small way to their development. I got the pleasure of working with them without feeling responsible for helping them find jobs! But, more generally, I loved teaching at SISPP because the students were so eager to learn — whether the topic was entirely new for them, or whether it related to their regular research programs. I felt like we were able to create a positive, supportive, intellectually engaged community among the members of our class, and the students have remained in touch with each other and with the instructors. I also found it to be incredibly fun to work with a friend and colleague on developing and teaching the course. I learned a lot from him and from the students over the course of those two weeks.” --Rebecca Shiner, Personality Development (2015)
“Teaching at SISSP was one of the greatest experiences I have had in my career. SISPP offers the best of what we can hope for in academia: The opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of brilliant, very motivated and engaged students, the opportunity to share with a great co-instructor the preparation and teaching of a new course, and the chance to get to know high-profile scholars from various areas. The intensive two-week workshop allows enough time for in-depth theoretical and methodological discussions, for designing new studies and launching research projects and … for a lot of fun. The social events offer multiple occasions to further discussions and build lasting memories. Teaching at SISSP is an experience you don't want to miss!” -- Jean-Claude Croizet, Income Disparities (2017)
“Teaching at SISPP was intellectually stimulating, professionally rewarding, and fun. Some of the ideas that got kicked around in my course eventually became full-blown research programs, some of which yielded publications. More importantly, I met so many excellent young students whose progress I continue to follow. It has been rewarding to watch their careers blossom and imagine that maybe the course we taught helped to shape their interests. Teaching at SISPP was a great experience and I would gladly do it again.” --Jeff Sherman, Automaticity and Control (2013)
“Teaching at SISPP was definitely one of the most significant professional experiences in my life. Working together every day with such a diverse and motivated group of students provided a level of intellectual stimulation that is unlike any other teaching context. SISPP creates a unique context of emulation in which both students and instructors work at their best. The result is an amazing level of creativity. When the students presented their projects at the end of the summer school, I was literally flabbergasted.” --Fabrizio Butera, Social Influence in Groups (2011)
“Teaching at SISPP is a blast. It’s the closest we get to a fantasy version of doctoral education, with a range of exuberant students from across the country (and the globe). These students are exceptionally engaged and interesting. And the community that emerges over the two-week period is astounding. I wish SISPP had existed when I was a student. I feel privileged that I had the chance to attend in the instructor role.” --Eli Finkel, Relationship Development and Maintenance (2009)
“I turned down teaching at SISPP for two years before I finally (grudgingly) agreed to do it. Seriously, who has time to take two weeks out of their summer for service to the field? It turns out that I was wrong to think of teaching at SISPP as purely service. I gained so much from the experience. I learned from my co-instructor (Pranj Mehta), from the students in the course, and from the other instructors who attended. Indeed, it was one of the most intellectually fulfilling two weeks since I graduated with my doctorate. The students are the top young scholars in our field; these are the future Banaji, Markus, Steele, Major, Wegner, and Pettys. Instructors have the rare opportunity to make a long and lasting influence on the future of social and personality psychologists, and then the surprising thing happens, where they have as much influence on you.” --Wendy Mendes, Social Neuroendocrinology (2013)
“Teaching at SISPP was one of the most rewarding teaching experiences I've had in the last 20-some years. Co-teaching a class of wonderful, highly motivated, interesting grad students from across the country, plus getting to know the other faculty members, in a relaxed environment? I'd do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, can I?”
--Traci Mann, Health Psychology (2011)
“I only taught a one-day class. It was a wonderful experience. The students were fantastic and eager to learn. I received a lot of great feedback from the students. Also, one of the students later invited me to submit a symposium proposal with him to SPSP, which got accepted. I will be submitting a symposium proposal to APS with another student that participated in the session. So overall, I really enjoyed teaching the one-day workshop, and I highly recommend it to others.” --Morteza Dehghani, Big Data Workshop (2017)
“SISPP was an excellent experience as an instructor. With highly motivated students and a 2-week intensive course, we were able to dive deep into the material and prepare students to apply the knowledge base in their research back at their home institution. I believe that multiple research projects spawned from that course and disseminated knowledge about my field very effectively to a variety of other programs via the outstanding SISPP attendees.” --Brian Nosek, Methods of Implicit Social Cognition (2003)
“Imagine having the freedom to create a syllabus reflecting the latest developments on an important, enduring topic in collaboration with another expert in your field; to teach highly motivated and talented students at an intense but fun and flexible pace; to learn from them as much as they learn from you; to design, and hopefully carry out, studies that address the questions the class has generated; and to form lifelong friendships with students and other instructors – all in a convivial and supportive context. This is what makes teaching at SISPP special.” --Constantine Sedikides, Self-Regulation and Goals (2007)
“Teaching at SISPP provided me with an unparalleled (and unforgettable) opportunity to engage intellectually and informally with the young scientists who are on the brink of shaping our field. If you teach there, you’ll have a major impact on the field and you’ll have a lot of fun doing it.” --Sam Gosling, Novel Approaches to Assessing Social Behavior and Individual Differences (2007)
“I have very fond memories of teaching in SISP (as I think it was then called) back in 2003. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the co-instructor and the ~15 PhD students who were all immensely interested in learning about the topic at hand. (The students who will attend are clearly the top students in the field.) Many of those folks wound up being lifelong friends, and even one became a colleague and frequent research collaborator (and now one of my best friends on the planet). The experience also made me think deeply about the research issues and how they related to research issues that were of interest to the students. I highly recommend it to professors and students!!” --Eddie Harmon-Jones, Social Neuroscience (2003)
“SISPP is an amazing opportunity to teach students who are passionate about a subject, and to do it with a great co-instructor. An intense, but very rewarding two weeks. The height of what we signed up for as faculty.” --Wendy Wood, Habits and Consumer Behavior (2017)
“SISPP provides the opportunity to work with some of the most creative, intelligent and motivated graduate students in our field.” --Lisa Feldman Barrett, Emotion/Affect (2015)
“Teaching at SISPP was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. The best part is getting to spend two weeks with extremely bright, motivated students. Their insights and enthusiasm gave me even more optimism about the future of our field. It's also very rewarding to help spread knowledge about your research area to people who didn't have the chance to learn about it in grad school. Finally, getting to know the other instructors was a lot of fun, and broadened my own thinking.” --Simine Vazire, Self Knowledge and Understanding (2011), Novel Approaches to Assessing Social Behavior and Individual Differences (2007)
“I taught at the Princeton SISSP (then SISP). The main benefit for me was getting to know my co-teacher (Tessa West). We later edited a book together (with a third person) on the topic of our class! The idea sprang up because of SISP. The students in the class were very nice. I'm glad that two of my own grad students were participating, so I could hang out with them some of the time. I will say that I felt 'important' to have been invited to teach at SISP, so that was a benefit. And I appreciated the money!” --Judy Hall, Accuracy of Judgments of Personality and Social Relations (2011)
“My experience teaching as part of the 2009 SISPP was terrific. It was wonderful to spend two uninterrupted weeks with an excellent co-instructor teaching a group of very smart, highly motivated, and very creative students, many of whom formed lifelong friendships. All of us--instructors and students alike--benefited in many ways, including developing new research ideas, forming novel collaborations, and learning in a relax, fun environment. I highly recommend teaching one of the courses!” --Jeff Simpson, Relationship Development and Maintenance (2009)
“Teaching the SISPP summer school was a great experience in three ways: The chance to meet, teach, and get to know a group of amazingly smart and motivated graduate students, surely including the leaders of the next generation of our field; working with my co-instructor, who I knew and respected before working with him, but now consider one of my closest friends in psychology; meeting and getting to know the instructors of the other courses at meals and several informal events. Teaching at SISPP is a lot of work, no question, but you get so much back.” --David Funder, Personality in Context (2017)
“Teaching at SISPP was an amazing experience, one of the best of my professional career. It’s a terrific opportunity to influence and be influenced by a wide swath of the up-and-coming top talent in social psychology (the students are the BEST) and to do a deep dive on material you are already passionate about. An invitation to teach for SISPP is like being offered whipped cream on your sundae; the experience is a real treat.” --Linda Skitka, (Social Justice) 2005
“I met so many brilliant students at SISPP. I have never felt that much intellectual energy before. SISPP is a truly unique place. Another benefit was being able to spend so much time with other faculty; dinner and drinks almost every day with the giants of personality and social psychology. It was like a dream.” --Shige Oishi, Personality in Context (2017)
“To say that I have fond memories of teaching at SISPP is an understatement! I encourage everyone to take advantage of this academic high point. I continue to keep in touch with many of the outstanding faculty and students who shared this experience, many of them from abroad. It is a unique opportunity that shouldn't be missed.” --Laurie Rudman, Prejudice and Stereotyping (2009)
“For me, it was a great experience. The classroom discussions pushed more deeply than normal PhD seminars. And it was great for getting to know people. I built a strong relationship with my co-teacher, who is now my colleague. And I got to know a very strong cohort of young researchers.” --Michael Morris, Conflict and Negotiation (2009)
“SISPP was simply a blast. Very well organized. I had great collegiality with my co-instructor and fellow faculty—and learned a great deal from co-teaching the class and putting it together. The students were inspiring and inspired, and shared perspectives on the field and on my work, as well as their own research and careers, that I would never have had the chance to experience otherwise.” --David Sherman, Interventions (2017)
“Teaching at SISPP proved to be one of the most rewarding teaching experiences of my career. I learned so much from my co-instructor and from the amazing cohort of graduate students in our class. I came back from SISPP on an intellectual high. I would be happy to provide any advice to people considering this amazing opportunity.” --Brent Donnellan, Personality Development (2015)
“SISPP ranks as a top-5 experience in my 47-year career in social psychology. Lots of ideas being shared back and forth at breakneck speed with whip-smart young scholars, along with humor and camaraderie. An altogether stimulating and engaging experience.” --Harry Reis, Belonging, Responsiveness, and Close Relationships (2013)
“Teaching at SISPP was a great experience for several reasons. First, the students were bright, creative, and eager to learn the topic. They generated quite a few good research ideas. Second, there were fun social activities. For me, however, the best part was team teaching the course with Dennis Proffitt. I had been a long-time admirer, but we had never spent significant time together. Teaching with Dennis not only created a social bond, but I also learned a tremendous amount from him.” --Art Glenberg, Embodied Cognition (2013)
“Teaching at SISSP was definitely a highlight of my professional work over the last few years. I truly enjoyed getting to know students as individuals and as scholars over the course of the Summer Institute, to nurture their ideas for future lines of research, to facilitate their discussions with peers from diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests, and to help bring this next generation of talented young scholars 'into the fold' of our field.” --Linda Tropp, Intergroup Relations and Disparities (2015)
“Teaching at SISPP was a rewarding experience because of the quality of the students. I was impressed with the level of training they had received in their home departments, their intellectual ability, and their motivation to learn material that sometimes fell outside their core research interests. An added bonus was the opportunity to spend time with the other SISPP faculty. All in all, it was a most worthwhile experience.” --John Levine, Self Knowledge and Understanding (2011)
In order to provide all participants with the opportunity to benefit from SPSP events and activities, SPSP is committed to providing a friendly, safe, supportive and harassment-free environment for all SISPP attendees and participants, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion or other group identity.
This code of conduct outlines SPSP’s expectations for all SISPP attendees and participants, including all members, speakers, vendors, media representatives, commentators, exhibitors, sponsors and volunteers. Cooperation is expected from everyone and organizers will actively enforce this code throughout this event. Violations are taken seriously.
SPSP expects SISPP participants to communicate professionally and constructively, whether in person or virtually, handling dissent or disagreement with courtesy, dignity and an open mind, being respectful when providing feedback, and being open to alternate points of view. Likewise, when sharing information about the organization or any attendees or participants via public communication channels, SPSP expects participants to share responsibly and clearly distinguish individual opinion from fact.
Alcohol maybe available at evening social networking events during SISPP and may be consumed only by those of legal age. Alcohol at SPSP events will only be distributed by commercial hosts following local and state statutes, which may include limiting consumption.
It is further expected that students in SISPP will
- Attend all scheduled class and workshop meetings.
- Complete all assigned coursework.
- Maintain a collegial environment with other participants, in order to maximize inclusion and a sense of community among all participants.
- Avoid behavior such as intoxication and social exclusion that might interfere with community-building among SISPP participants as a whole
SPSP does not tolerate harassment of SISPP attendees or participants in any form. Harassment includes offensive verbal or written comments, and negative behavior, either in real or virtual space, including those which are related to or are based upon gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion or other group identity. Harassment also includes deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, and unwelcome physical contact or sexual attention.
Alcohol may not be brought into SPSP-sponsored events nor may alcohol be consumed by those not of legal age. Because excessive alcohol leads to impaired decision-making, SPSP strongly discourages excessive drinking at any point during the SISPP. Further, because SISPP is an intensive experience that hundreds of students vie for each year, it is expected that those chosen to attend come prepared to class with readings and homework done. Late night social activity that impedes upon this expectation is not allowed. Students failing to make classroom commitments during SISPP may be asked to leave the Institute early.
Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior
If an attendee or participant, in either real or virtual space, engages in inappropriate, harassing, abusive or destructive behavior or language, the SISPP organizers and SPSP Leadership will determine and carry out the appropriate course of action, including warning the offender, expulsion from SISPP with no refund and/or banning the offender from future SPSP events and activities.
All participants are expected to observe these rules and behaviors in all SISPP venues, including online venues, classrooms and SISPP social events. SISPP participants seek to learn, network and enjoy themselves in the process, free from any type of harassment. Please participate responsibly and with respect for the rights of others.
What to do
If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns about an individual’s conduct, please contact [email protected] or (202) 869-3241. Your concerns will be held as confidential as you would like them to be and you may remain anonymous. If you would like to discuss your concerns during SISPP, please reach out to your classroom instructor or one of the local organizers.