Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Brett Pelham

Brett Pelham

Brett is currently a professor of psychology at Montgomery College, Maryland (MC). Brett began his career as a social psychologist at UCLA where he was an assistant and associate professor of psychology for ten years. He also worked as a social psychologist at the University at Buffalo before moving to the greater Washington, DC area in 2007 -- to be closer to his family. In addition to teaching at MC, Brett has also taught as an adjunct or visiting professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland, at Swarthmore College, and at Georgetown University -- where he has long been an adjunct professor. Brett served for two years as a program director in social psychology at the National Science Foundation, and prior to that he worked for two years as a senior research analyst at Gallup, in Washington, DC.

Brett's research has focused on the self, health, social judgment, close relationships, stereotypes, and well-being, with a special emphasis on implicit processes such as implicit egotism. His most recent work on implicit egotism focuses on moderators and mediators of preferences for people places and things that resemble the self (e.g., implicit self-esteem, culture, intuitive judgment styles). Other recent recent research, led by Mitsuru Shimizu, has focused on the role of intuition in implicit self-esteem. He is also working on a project, led by Mauricio Carvallo, on the role of close relationships in perceived consensus for social beliefs (aka, the interpersonal false consensus effect). Other current research projects focus on culture, human evolution and marriage, and the roles of racism, sexism, and social power in the medicalization of modern birth. Finally, Brett has long been working on a worldwide study of collectivism -- and how and why it has changed over the past 50 years. Brett recently became the author of an evolutionary psychology textbook, and in the fall of 2020, he and David Boninger wlil publish an introductory psychology textbook that divides psychology into 36 stand-alone modules.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Causal Attribution
  • Close Relationships
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Gender Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Person Perception
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition


  • Pelham, B.W. (2019). Evolutionary psychology: Genes, environments, and time. London, UK: Palgrave MacmIllan.
  • Pelham, B.W., & Blanton, H. (2019). Conducting research in psychology: Measuring the weight of smoke (5th edition). SAGE publishing.

Journal Articles:

  • Blanton. H., Pelham, B. W., DeHart, T., & Carvallo, M. (2001). Overconfidence as dissonance reduction. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 373-385.
  • DeHart, T., Pelham, B. W., & Tennen, H. (2006). What lies beneath: Parenting style and implicit self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 1-17.
  • Hetts, J. J., Sakuma, M., & Pelham, B. W. (1999). Two-roads to positive regard: Implicit and explicit self-evaluation and culture. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 512-559.
  • Jones, J. T., Pelham, B. W., Carvallo, M., & Mirenberg, M. C. (2004). How do I love thee? Let me count the Js: Implicit egotism and interpersonal attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(5), 665-683.
  • Jones, J. T., Pelham, B. W., Mirenberg, M. C., & Hetts, J. J. (2002). Name letter preferences are not merely mere exposure: Implicit egotism as self-regulation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 170-177.
  • Pelham, B.W. (2018). Not in my back yard: Egocentrism and skepticism about climate change. Environmental Science and Policy, 89, 421-429.
  • Pelham, B. W. (1995). Self-investment and self-esteem: Evidence for a Jamesian model of self-worth. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 1141-1150.
  • Pelham, B.W., & Carvallo, M.R. (2015). When Tex and Tess Carpenter build houses in Texas: Moderators of implicit egotism. Self and Identity, 14, 692-723. [Winner of the 2017 SPSP Robert Cialdini Award]
  • Pelham, B. W., & Hetts, J. J. (2002). Underworked and overpaid: Elevated entitlement in men's self-pay. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
  • Pelham, B. W., Mirenberg, M. C., & Jones, J. K. (2002). Why Susie sells seashells by the seashore: Implicit egotism and major life decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 469-487.
  • Pelham, B.W., Shimizu, M., Carvallo, M.R., Arndt, J., Greenberg, J., & Solomon, S. (2018). Searching for God: Weekly search volume for major illnesses in Google predicts changes in Google search volume for religious content in 16 nations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44, 290-303.
  • Pelham, B. W., Sumarta, T. T., & Myaskovsky, L. (1994). The easy path from many to much: The numerosity heuristic. Cognitive Psychology, 26, 103-133.
  • Pelham, B. W., & Wachsmuth, J. O. (1995). The waxing and waning of the social self: Assimilation and contrast in social comparison. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 825-838.
  • Pelham, B.W. (in press). Pathogens, mortality, and parenting: A life history perspective on birth and parenting in 151 nations. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.
  • Pelham, B. W., & Neter, E. (1995). The effect of motivation on judgment depends on the difficulty of the judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 581-594.

Other Publications:

  • Hetts, J. J., & Pelham, B. W. (2002). Non-conscious aspects of the self-concept. In G. Moscowitz (Ed.), Cognitive social psychology: The Princeton symposium. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Koole, S. L., & Pelham, B. W. (in press). On the nature of implicit self-esteem: The case of the name letter effect. To appear in S. Spencer, S. Fein, & M. Zanna (Eds.), Motivated Social Perception: The Ninth Ontario Symposium.

Courses Taught:

  • Experimental Research Methods
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introductory Social Psychology
  • Medieval Spanish Organic Biochemistry for Beginners
  • Person Perception and Stereotypes
  • Psychological Statistics
  • Research Methods in Social Psychology
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Cognition (Graduate)
  • Social Psychology (Graduate)
  • Social Psychology in Film
  • The Self-Concept

Brett Pelham
Department of Psychology
20200 Observation Drive
Germantown, Maryland 20876
United States of America

  • Phone: 716 572 3519

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