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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

New Publication: Social Psychology in Action: Evidence-Based Interventions from Theory to Practice

10.07.2019, by Tina Keil in publication

Editors: Kai Sassenberg and Michael L.W. Vliek
Springer, 2018; ISBN: 978-3-030-13787-8

Cover: Social Psychology in Action
Cover: Social Psychology in Action

This new textbook in applied social psychology illustrates how key theories and concepts in social psychology help to predict and explain behavior and can be successfully applied to benefit social and practical problems. It focuses on robust theories and models known for their successful applications and covers a diverse range of settings—spanning classroom interventions, health behavior, financial decision making, climate change and much more. Each chapter comprises a theoretical section to define the key concepts and summarize the theory, providing evidence for its reliability and limitations from basic research, as well as an applied section to summarize research in an applied context, including an in-depth analysis of one particular applied study. Crucially, this format moves towards theory testing in applied contexts, enabling a closer examination of why and under what circumstances interventions may be successful in obtaining a desired behavioral or psychological end-state. For this purpose, the book also includes a chapter discussing criteria for evaluating the quality of a psychological theory and its related evidence.

Social Psychology in Action targets advanced undergraduate and graduate students in social psychology, as well as students of neighboring fields, such as behavioural economics, organizational behavior and management, social work, or educational science, seeking to develop a deeper understanding of major theories of human behavior. To help engage students with the text and facilitate learning, each chapter contains a number of didactive features such as questions for reflection, boxes, summaries, recommended readings and more.

Table of Contents


  • Nothing as practical as a good theory
    Michael L. W. Vliek & Kai Sassenberg

Section I: Applying social psychological theory: A single theory approach

  • What makes for a good theory? How to evaluate a theory using the Strength Model of Self-Control as an example
    Karolin Gieseler, David D. Loschelder & Malte Friese
  • Mindset theory of action phases and if-then planning
    Lucas Keller, Maik Bieleke, & Peter M. Gollwitzer
  • Beyond the quantity of motivation: Quality of motivation in self-determination theory
    Guy Roth
  • Self-regulation strategies and regulatory fit
    Kai Sassenberg & Michael L. W. Vliek
  • Habit and behavior change
    Bas Verplanken & Sheina Orbell
  • Reactance theory
    Christina Mühlberger & Eva Jonas
  • The focus theory of normative conduct
    F. Marijn Stok & Denise T. D. de Ridder
  • Social interdependence
    Fabrizio Butera & Céline Buchs
  • Social identity theory
    Daan Scheepers & Naomi Ellemers
  • Intergroup contact theory
    Oliver Christ & Mathias Kauff
  • Implicit prejudice
    Bernd Wittenbrink, Joshua Correll, & Debbie S. Ma
  • Mindset theory
    Katharina Bernecker & Veronika Job

Section II: Combining theoretical insights: Addressing complex human behavior

  • The road to the piggy bank: Two behavioural interventions to increase saving
    Minou Van der Werf, Wilco W. van Dijk, Lotte F. van Dillen, & T. Wilderjans
  • Social media as sources of emotion
    Sonja Utz
  • Intergroup forgiveness: The interplay between who we are and what tales we tell
    Iwan Dinnick & Masi Noor