Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Melissa J. Ferguson

Melissa J. Ferguson

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I study the ways in which human social behavior unfolds in an unconscious, unintentional manner. Recent topics of interest include how people develop and express their likes and dislikes, how people pursue goals, and how implicit attitudes and ideologies influence behavior.

Primary Interests:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Person Perception
  • Political Psychology
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

Journal Articles:

  • Ferguson, M. J. (2008). On becoming ready to pursue a goal you don’t know you have: Effects of nonconscious goals on evaluative readiness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(6), 1268-1294.
  • McCulloch, K. C., Ferguson, M. J., Kawada, C., & Bargh, J. A. (2008). Taking a closer look: On the operation of nonconscious impression formation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(3), 614-623.
  • Hassin, R. R., Ferguson, M. J., Shidlovsky, D., & Gross, T. (2007). Waved by invisible flags: The effects of subliminal exposure to flags on political thought and behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104, 19757-19761.
  • Ferguson, M. J. (2007). On the automatic evaluation of end-states. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 596-611.
  • Ferguson, M. J., & Hassin, R. R. (2007). On the automatic association between America and aggression in news-watchers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1632-1647.
  • Hassin, R., Aarts, H., & Ferguson, M. J. (2005). Automatic goal inferences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 129-140.
  • Ferguson, M. J., Bargh, J. A., & Nayak, D. A. (2005). After-affects: How automatic evaluations influence the interpretation of unrelated, subsequent stimuli. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 182-191.
  • Ferguson, M. J., & Bargh, J. A. (2004). Liking is for doing: Effects of goal-pursuit on automatic evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 557-572.
  • Ferguson, M. J., & Bargh, J. A. (2004). How social perception automatically influences behavior. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 33-39.
  • Swim, J. K., Hyers, L. L., Cohen, L. L., & Ferguson, M. J. (2001). Everyday sexism: Evidence for its incidence, nature, and psychological impact from three daily diary studies. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 31-53.
  • Bargh, J. A., & Ferguson, M. J. (2000). Beyond behaviorism: On the automaticity of higher mental processes. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 925-945.
  • Swim, J. K., Ferguson, M. J., & Hyers, L. L. (1999). Avoiding stigma by association: Subtle prejudice against lesbians as a form of social distancing. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 21, 61-68.

Other Publications:

  • Fishbach, A., & Ferguson, M. J. (2007). The goal construct in social psychology. Invited chapter in A. W. Kruglanski & E. T. Higgins & (Eds.). Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 490-515). Volume II. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Ferguson, M. J., Carter, T. C., & Hassin, R. R. (2009). On the automaticity of nationalist ideology: The case of the USA. Invited chapter in J. T. Jost, A. C. Kay, & H. Thorisdottir (Eds.), Social and psychological bases of ideology and system justification. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Ferguson, M. J., Hassin, R., & Bargh, J. A. (2007). Implicit motivation: Past, present, and future. Invited chapter to appear in J. Shah and W. Gardner (Eds.), Handbook of motivation science. NY: Guilford.

Courses Taught:

  • Automaticity
  • Goals, Needs, and Desires
  • Seminar in Social Psychology
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Psychology

Melissa J. Ferguson
Department of Psychology
211 Uris Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States

  • Phone: (607) 254-8791
  • Fax: (607) 255-8433

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