Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Donna Eisenstadt

Donna Eisenstadt

For most of my academic career, I have been pursuing issues within two broad areas of inquiry. One area is the self and social identity. I have been particularly interested in examining the role of negative self-guides in processing information about the self. This work has evolved from my hypothesis that avoidance of rejected aspects of the self should be at least as motivating as, and potentially more motivating than, the positive self-guides that more commonly appear in the literature (i.e., ideal self, ought self, etc.). Much of this work has involved studying affective and cognitive, conscious and unconscious, reactions to threatening messages about the self. Most recently, I have extended this work into the development of self-regulatory model of aggression.

The second area is prejudice, stereotyping, and prejudice reduction, especially as it concerns individuals’ conflicting attitudes about racial outgroup members. I am currently working on such projects as (a) applying dissonance theory and other persuasion techniques to the problems of racial prejudice and attitudinal ambivalence, (b) exploring the affective versus cognitive bases of racial ambivalence and the differential effects of priming affect and cognition on prejudicial responding, and (c) developing a model of “self-involvement” concerning how reactions to outgroup members (i.e., discriminatory vs. reverse discriminatory responding) vary depending on which aspects of one’s self-concept (i.e., implicit vs. explicit attitudes) are salient.

More recently, I have begun collaborating with Mike Leippe on a program of research on eyewitness behavior. In particular, we have been studying the eyewitnesses’ confidence in their lineup identifications, the factors (especially social ones) that influence, and the conditions under which confidence is and is not diagnostic of identification accuracy. In addition, we have been examining the impact of expert psychological testimony about eyewitness memory on juror decision-making.

Primary Interests:

  • Aggression, Conflict, Peace
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity

Journal Articles:

  • Eisenstadt, D., Hicks, J. L., Rivers, J. A, McIntyre, K., & Cahill, M. (2006). Two paths of defense: Specific versus compensatory reactions to self-threat. Self and Identity,5, 35-50.
  • Eisenstadt, D., & Leippe, M. R. (2005). Dissonance and importance: Attitude effects of personal relevance and race of the beneficiary of a counterattitudinal advocacy. Journal of Social Psychology, 145, 447-468.
  • Eisenstadt, D., & Leippe, M. R. (1994). The self-comparison process and self-discrepant feedback: Consequences of learning you are what you thought you were not. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 611-626.
  • Eisenstadt, D., Leippe, M. R., & Rivers, J. A. (2002). Asymmetry, defense, and generalization in self-comparison: Differential reactions to feedback about the rejected and ideal selves. Self and Identity, 1, 289-311.
  • Eisenstadt, D., Leippe, M. R., Rivers, J. A., & Stambush, M. (2003). Counterattitudinal advocacy on a matter of prejudice: Effects of commitment, distraction, and personal importance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33, 2123-2152.
  • Eisenstadt, D., Leippe, M. R., Stambush, M. A., Rauch, S. M., & Rivers, J. A. (2005). Dissonance and prejudice: Personal costs, choice, and change in attitudes and racial beliefs following counterattitudinal advocacy that benefits a minority. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 27, 127-141.
  • Greenberg, J., Martens, A., Jonas, E., Eisenstadt, D., Pyszczynski, T., & Solomon, S. (2003). Psychological defense in anticipation of anxiety: Eliminating the potential for anxiety eliminates the effect of mortality salience on worldview defense. Psychological Science, 14, 516-519.
  • Hass, R. G., & Eisenstadt, D. (1990). The effects of self-focused attention on perspective-taking and anxiety. Anxiety research, 2, 165-176.
  • Hass, R. G., Katz, I., Rizzo, N., Bailey, J., & Eisenstadt, D. (1991). Cross-racial appraisal as related to attitude ambivalence and cognitive complexity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 83-92.
  • Leippe, M. R., & Eisenstadt, D. (1994). The generalization of dissonance reduction: Decreasing prejudice through induced compliance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 395-413.
  • Leippe, M. R., Eisenstadt, D. E., Rauch, S. M., & Seib, H. (2004). Timing of eyewitness expert testimony, jurors’ need for cognition, and case strength as determinants of trial verdicts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 524-541.
  • Leippe, M. R., Eisenstadt, D., Rauch, S. M., & Stambush, M. (2006). Effects of social-comparative memory feedback on eyewitnesses’ identification confidence, suggestibility, and retrospective memory reports. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 28, 201-220.

Other Publications:

  • Leippe, M. R., & Eisenstadt, D. (forthcoming). Social influences on eyewitness confidence: The social psychology of memory self-certainty. In R. M. Arkin, K. C. Oleson, & P. J. Carroll (Eds.), The uncertain self: A handbook of perspectives from social and peronality psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
  • Leippe, M. R., & Eisenstadt, D. (2007). Eyewitness confidence and the confidence- accuracy relationship in memory for people. In R. C. L. Lindsay, D. F. Ross, J. D. Read, & M. P. Toglia (Eds.), Handbook of eyewitness psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 377-425). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Leippe, M. R., & Eisenstadt, D. (1999). A self-accountability model of dissonance reduction: Multiple modes on a continuum of elaboration. In E. Harmon-Jones & J. Mills (Eds.), Cognitive dissonance: Progress on a pivotal theory in social psychology (pp. 201-232). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Courses Taught:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Prejudice, Helping, and Aggression
  • Seminar on Prejudice
  • Seminar on Self and Identity
  • Senior Seminar
  • Social Experimental Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Teaching of Psychology

Donna Eisenstadt
Department of Psychology
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York, New York 10019
United States

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