Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist

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9780465031399: Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist
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How does a boy from a financially and intellectually impoverished background grow up to become a Harvard researcher, win international acclaim for his groundbreaking work, and catch fire as a pioneering psychologist? As the only person in the history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its highest honors—for distinguished research, teaching, and writing— Elliot Aronson is living proof that humans are capable of capturing the power of the situation and conquering the prison of personality.

A personal and compelling look into Aronson's profound contributions to the field of social psychology, Not by Chance Alone is a lifelong story of human potential and the power of social change.

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About the Author:

Elliot Aronson is the only person in the history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its major awards: for distinguished research, distinguished teaching, and distinguished writing. He was chosen by his peers as one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the twentieth century. Aronson has written or edited twenty-two books, including "The Handbook of Social Psychology" and "The Social Animal," now in its 11th edition. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

The intricacies of the human psyche--and one man's inquisitive mind--are illuminated in this shrewd, warm-hearted memoir. Aronson (The Social Animal) is a leading theorist of the "cognitive dissonance" that prompts people to change their perceptions of reality to resolve contradictions between experiences and beliefs. It's a rich concept, and the author explains its quirky corollaries--e.g., people like groups more and discount negative elements if they had to endure an ordeal to join--through delightful accounts of the theatrical experiments that lend them scientific rigor. Surrounding these expository gems is a chronicle of a prominent, occasionally adventuresome academic career in which, as a young professor in the '50s, Aronson weathered faculty "pomposity" at Harvard, political correctness witch-hunts at U.C.–Santa Cruz for supporting Arthur Jensen's right to speak on innate racial differences in IQ, and racist death threats after an experiment prompted a fair housing law in Texas. These sections are somewhat staid, but his searing memories of Depression-era poverty and family discord brim with psychological insight. Aronson's message--"People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy"--comes through with both analytic clarity and emotional resonance. Photos.
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