Not by Chance Alone with the Legendary Social Psychologist Elliot Aronson

November 22, 2017

“Life is full of lessons, and ‘playing the hand you’re dealt as well as you can play it’ is a good one.” — Elliot Aronson

Today I’m incredibly excited to welcome the legendary Elliot Aronson to The Psychology Podcast. Aronson is an eminent social psychologist who is best known for his groundbreaking experiments on the theory of cognitive dissonance and for his invention of the Jigsaw Classroom, a highly effective cooperative teaching technique which facilitates learning while reducing interethnic hostility and prejudice. He is the only person in the 120-year history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its major awards: for writing, for teaching, and for research, and in 2007 he received the William James Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Association for Psychological Science, in which he was cited as the scientist who “fundamentally changed the way we look at everyday life.”

Over the course of our in-depth and wide-ranging discussion, Aronson:

  • Shares stories and key lessons from his famous mentors–Abraham Maslow and Leon Festinger–and how each of the two altered the course of his life,
  • Illuminates with examples some of his most fascinating findings in the field of Social Psychology,
  • Offers his take on the replication crisis and on what he calls the “TED-ification” of Psychology,
  • Imparts on us wisdom he’s gathered not just as a researcher and psychologist but also as a father and brother.

It was a pleasure to have a legend in the field on the show for such a comprehensive conversation, filled with stories and lessons. Enjoy!


Elliot Aronson’s memoir, Not By Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist, is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Not-Chance-Alone-Social-Psychologist/dp/0465031390 [Book]

To learn more about Aronson’s highly effective Jigsaw Classroom (from outcomes to implementation) visit https://www.jigsaw.org/ [Resource]

The Social  Animal – Through vivid narrative, lively presentations of important research, and intriguing examples, Aronson’s textbook offers a brief, compelling introduction to modern social psychology https://www.amazon.com/Social-Animal-Elliot-Aronson/dp/1429233419 [Textbook]

(Mentioned) Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003K15IOE [Book]

3 Responses to “Not by Chance Alone with the Legendary Social Psychologist Elliot Aronson”

  1. Melanie Fitzgerald says:

    I love the Psychology Podcast but this latest episode interviewing Elliot Aronson was particularly wonderful and an absolute joy to listen to. What an incredible and inspiring life and story he shared with us. Thanks Scott!

  2. Janine Zielasko says:

    Scott you inspire me.

    I’m a 27-year-old emergency medical technician who works for a rural ambulance service in Barrhead AB Canada.

    We often make long drives with sick patients into the capital city of Edmonton Alberta for continued care.

    On those drives I listen to your voice. You and your guests have huge impact in my life. I’m immensely thankful for the psychology podcast.

    It was concerning when I heard you weren’t using sponsors on your show any longer. I signed up for monthly payments, I hope it helps.

    If something should happen in which you are no longer producing your podcast, could you please record the former content and sell it as a CD or file?

    I would gladly purchase all the episodes. I don’t want there to be a future in which your content isn’t available to the general public.

    Thank you so very much for all your hard work.

  3. Roman R. - El Paso, TX says:

    This was another thought-provoking talk and the message at the end was very simple but as effective as any complex lesson or advice that can be dished out. Play the hand your dealt as best as you can, even if it’s a crappy one. And I don’t believe this means that accept getting screwed, but if you can’t do anything about, don’t let it own you.

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