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Department of Psychology unveils the Robert B. Cialdini Social Psychology Laboratories

Interactive display and plaque depict Cialdini’s contributions to field of social psychology


Portrait of Robert Cialdini, ASU professor emeritus of psychology.

The ASU Department of Psychology gathered to celebrate and unveil the naming of the Robert B. Cialdini Social Psychology Laboratories. The event was punctuated with the revealing of an interactive display and plaque that depict Cialdini’s contributions to ASU and to the field of social psychology.

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April 21, 2022

The ASU Department of Psychology gathered to celebrate and unveil the naming of the Robert B. Cialdini Social Psychology Laboratories. The event was punctuated with the revealing of an interactive display and plaque that depict Cialdini’s contributions to Arizona State University and to the field of social psychology.

Cialdini is an ASU professor emeritus of psychology and marketing and has given 51 years of service to the university. He has spent his entire career researching the science of influence, earning him an international reputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance and prosocial behavior. Cialdini has published over 200 articles, books and reports, and he is widely known for his book "Influence," a New York Times No. 1 bestseller, now in its third edition with over 5 million copies sold worldwide, and in over 40 languages.

“Bob Cialdini is unquestionably one of the greatest social psychologists of the last century,” said Katherine Milkman, professor of psychology at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of “How to Change.”

A video touch display at the unveiling highlighted many of Cialdini’s accomplishments, but also the impact he has had on the current leaders of social psychology and influence, such as Milkman, Angela Duckworth, Adam Grant and Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler. 

“He is everything that we hope to be as academics and, frankly, as people,” said Noah Goldstein, professor of management and organizations, and Bing ('86) and Alice Liu Yang Endowed Term Chair in Teaching Excellence at the UCLA Anderson School of Business. “When I tell people that Bob Cialdini was my mentor, the most common response I receive is ... ‘Bob Cialdini is my hero.'”

The interactive screen on the display allows students to navigate through the career of Cialdini, both as inspiration and in gratitude for what his legacy enables the department to do. Videos include: “Bob’s Research”; “Ethical Influence”; “Full-Cycle Psychology”; “Bob and ASU”; “The Secret to Bob’s Success”; “Who is Bob Cialdini?” and “Giving Back."

Cialdini’s scientific accomplishments have earned him numerous honors — he has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; he has earned the highest-level distinguished scientific contribution awards from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for Consumer Psychology; and he has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Basel (Switzerland), the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Poland) and Georgetown University. 

“Since arriving on the ASU campus in 1971 as a new assistant professor, Robert Cialdini has been giving to the Department of Psychology — through his ground-breaking research, compelling teaching and mentoring, and generous service to the broader community. Cialdini represents everything ASU social psychology strives to be,” said Steven Neuberg, Foundation Professor of psychology and chair of the ASU Department of Psychology.

The event celebrated Cialdini’s role in pushing the social psychology area forward and also took a look at the future of social psychology and what his support enables the department to do. His generous philanthropic gifts, with his wife, Bobette Gorden, have launched the Psych for Life Initiative, built a Student Success Center within the department, created the Psychology LEAP Forward Fund, and enabled seed funding for student-generated research projects.

Naming the social psychology labs in Cialdini’s honor aims to continue the goal of using full-cycle psychology — bringing studies out into the world and showing people ethical ways to use psychology. 

Cialdini was modest in accepting the surprise praise extended his way, making sure that all know his work and success were also made possible by his life partnership with Gorden. 

“Bobette’s middle name is Joy – and there is onomatopoeia there. She’s been my helpmate, my teammate, my playmate and my soulmate. I wouldn’t be here without Bobette Joy Gorden,” said Cialdini.

 

For a recap stream of the event, watch this video.

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