Social Psychology


How do the social worlds in which we live – from our closest personal relationships, to the small groups and broader communities to which we belong – define who we are, shape our beliefs and values, affect our well-being, and determine how we behave? In turn, how do our responses to the social environment shape the social environment itself? These are the broad questions that are the focus of social psychology.

Social psychology at SFU emphasizes questions of practical and theoretical importance. Faculty in the social area at SFU demonstrate that a rigorous social science can engage questions of basic human processes while also providing insights relevant to the society in which we live. Our research uses a variety of methods, including experimental, observational, correlational, longitudinal and qualitative approaches, in laboratory and field settings.  The social psychology area cultivates a cooperative and supportive research environment, and faculty regularly engage in collaborative research.

The social psychology area at Simon Fraser University conducts research on the following topics:

  • Collective identity and intergroup relations
  • Prejudice and discrimination, intergroup contact, and collective action
  • Adjustment and functioning in intimate relationships
  • Altruism, prosocial behavior, and social support
  • Happiness, well-being
  • Pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour

Social Psychology Research Labs:

Graduate Training

The SFU Social Psychology Area provides opportunities for pursing both Masters and Doctoral degrees.  We are not a terminal Masters program (we do not accept students who plan to end their training after the Masters).  Graduate training in Social Psychology consists of course work and direct engagement in research.  Our students are consistently involved research projects throughout their training.  Although we do have required courses, training is flexible enough to fit a variety of students’ interests and needs.  We work hard to create a supportive, non-competitive environment and provide many opportunities for dialog and collaboration.  Students are encouraged to collaborate with multiple faculty members during their training, in addition to their work with their primary supervisor.

For more information on applying to SFU to pursue a graduate degree in Social Psychology, see Graduate Studies Application Information, and program requirements.