Professor Craig A. Anderson
Background (click here to download Professor Anderson's vita in pdf format.)
Craig A. Anderson grew up on a small family farm in northern Indiana. In his senior year he was named his high school's Athelete of the Year and the region's Kiwanis Club Athelete of the Year (following in his brother's footsteps, the only siblings to have won this award). He graduated as the co-valedictorian. After graduating from high school he joined the U.S. Army Reserve. He received his B.A. in psychology and sociology from Butler University in 1976. His M.A. in psychology from Stanford University was awarded in 1978; Lee Ross was his M.A. advisor. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1980, with J. Merrill Carlsmith serving as his dissertation advisor.
Professor Anderson was an Assistant (1980-1985) and Associate (1985-1988) Professor at Rice University, and a Visiting Professor at Ohio State (1984-1985). He joined the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1988 and became Full Professor there in 1992. He has served on Faculty Councils at Rice (1987-1988) and at Missouri (1995-1996). He also served as Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Psychology at Missouri from 1988-1996, and as Director of Graduate Admissions from 1988-1991. He was Faculty Advisor to Psi Chi (1991-1996) and to the Graduate Association of Students in Psychology (1992-1996). He also served as President, and incorporated the Stephen's Elementary Parents' Organization, 1994-1995.
He joined the Iowa
University faculty in 1999, as Professor and Chair
of the Department of
Psychology. In 2004, Professor Anderson was
presented with the "Iowa
State University Foundation Award for Outstanding
Research." In 2005, he was awarded the title
the highest faculty honor given by Iowa State
University. He served six
years as Department Chair, completing his term in
In 2007, he founded
the Center for the
Study of Violence,
and currently serves as its Director.
Professor Anderson was a
founding member of
the Society of Southwestern Social Psychologists and
served as its
President in 1986-1987. He also played
an important role in the growth and development of
in Texas (SPIT), and was a founding member of Social
Around Missouri (SPAM; "Missouri" was later changed
to "Midwest"). He
has served on the Executive Council of the
International Society for
Research on Aggression (1997-2006), and currently is
President-Elect of the Society (2008-2010). He will
serve as President
Professor Anderson's teaching and research awards include:
Professor Anderson's public policy contributions include:
Professor Anderson has been awarded "Fellow" status in the following organizations:
My main research interests
are in social and
personality psychology, with a strong emphasis on
Most of my current research focuses on aggression.
Most of that
research focuses on the potentially harmful
effects of exposure to violent video games.
aggression research under way in my lab includes
work on jealousy,
attribution and appraisal processes, temperature
effects, and effects
of violent media of various types. For
example, we have
shown that hot temperatures increase aggressive
behavior under some
circumstances, in both laboratory and field
settings. This research has
also shown that global
warming will likely produce
substantial increases in violent crime. Other
research has shown how
life experiences influence the way people think
about guns, which in
turn influences the effects
primes on aggressive
thoughts and behavior. Still other research has
shown that men
to sexual aggression against women also tend
behave more aggressively against women in non-sexual
ways, and that
they specifically target women rather than other
In addition, my students and other colleagues and I have been working on a model designed to integrate aggression/violence findings from a variety of research paradigms. The model includes individual difference and situational input variables. It also integrates affective and instrumental aggression. Click on the following links to access major articles on this model: Annual Review, Handbook, Media book, Good & Evil.
In related work (some published, some in progress), we have been trying to more clearly identify components of Aggressive Personality. We have shown, for instance, that aggressive people have two different hostility-related biases: they expect other people to behave more aggressively than do non-aggressive people; they "see" more aggression in on-going dyadic interactions than do non-aggressive people. Current work includes research on the relations among various trait aggressiveness factors, attitudes towards aggression, and the Big Five personality structure.
I occasionally publish on attributional style and depression, loneliness, and shyness. I have two 1999 book chapters in this area, one with one of my clinical colleagues (Debi Bell-Dolan, click here ), the other with a former graduate student of mine (Jody Dill, click here ). Other work on this topic can be found at my recent publications web page, including a cross-cultural study of attributional style and depression that appeared in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 1999.
I also continue to work in social cognition, usually in the aggression domain but also in the social judgment/human inference area and in the attribution area. For instance, James Benjamin, Bruce Bartholow and I published a priming article in which we argue that the weapons effect (a classic in social psychology) is due in part to the capacity of weapons to prime aggressive thoughts. We also published follow-up studies examining the moderating role of individual differences in knowledge structures concerning weapons on the weapons priming effect.
Another research interest of mine concerns the external validity of laboratory paradigms. Brad Bushman, Jim Lindsay, and I have been examining the external validity of laboratory research from an empirical perspective. In brief, we have been comparing effect sizes obtained in lab versus field settings, and have found considerable convergence, both within the aggression domain, and across a wide variety of psychological research domains. Some of this work appeared in Review of General Psychology (1997). The most recent appeared in Current Directions in Psychological Science (1999).
In all of these research interests, my focus has been on studying basic psychological processes underlying significant human problems. Thus, even though most of my research is not strictly "applied" psychology, all of it has important implications for improving the human condition in contemporary society. Indeed, the potential applicability of research findings is what largely determines my choice of research topics.