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Social Psychology

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports research and infrastructure to advance knowledge of human social behavior, including neural and physiological patterns; thought and emotion processes; and intentions, actions and habits that explain ways of thinking about and relating to others.

Supports research and infrastructure to advance knowledge of human social behavior, including neural and physiological patterns; thought and emotion processes; and intentions, actions and habits that explain ways of thinking about and relating to others.


The Social Psychology Program at NSF supports research and research infrastructure to advance basic knowledge in social psychology. Projects funded by the Social Psychology Program support the NSF mission to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense. Proposals considered by the Social Psychology Program must communicate both the intellectual merit of the science and its broader societal impacts.

Proposed research should carry strong potential for creating transformative advances in the basic understanding of human social behavior. Among the many research topics supported are social cognition, attitudes, social and cultural influence, stereotypes, motivation, decision making, group dynamics, aggression, close relationships, social and affective neuroscience, social psychophysiology, emotions, prosocial behavior, health-related behavior, and personality and individual differences. Proposals that develop new theories or methods for understanding social behavior are highly encouraged. Research samples should represent substantial ranges of ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures and other dimensions of human populations.

Interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and convergent research approaches are encouraged. Proposals involving non-human animals are considered only if the research offers clear and direct contributions to understanding human social behavior. The program does not fund research that seeks to improve clinical practice as its primary outcome, nor does it consider proposals with disease-related goals, including work on the etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality or malfunction in human beings or animals.

In assessing intellectual merit, the Social Psychology Program places highest priority on research that is theoretically grounded, based on empirical observation and validation, and with designs appropriate to the questions asked. In assessing broader impacts, the Social Psychology Program places highest priority on proposals that offer strong potential to benefit society, strengthen our national security interests, improve the quality of life, broaden participation in science, enhance infrastructure for research and education, and include a plan for sharing the results with a wide variety of audiences.

The Social Psychology Program expects the methods, measures and data that result from NSF support to be openly shared with other researchers and the public. For further guidance proposers should consult Data Management for NSF SBE Directorate Proposals and Awards. The Data Management Plan should articulate how the proposed research will engage with best practices of open science. Researchers are expected to engage in open science practices, and deviations from that should be well-justified.

The Social Psychology Program accepts regular research proposals, including Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) proposals, proposals for research in undergraduate institutions (RUI), rapid response research proposals (RAPID) and early-concept grants for exploratory research (EAGER). The program also accepts small conference proposals for events (including workshops) being planned one year or more after submission. The Social Psychology Program does not accept proposals for doctoral dissertation improvement awards.

Investigators are encouraged to contact a Social Psychology program director before submitting a proposal to confirm its fit with the scope and priorities of the Social Psychology Program. Such contact will be most productive by sending a one-page (maximum) summary with an overview of the planned proposal, which includes a description of intellectual merit and broader impacts.

The Social Psychology program is always interested in identifying new reviewers. Potential reviewers should have a Ph.D. in psychology or related field and have a demonstrated area of expertise relevant to social psychology. Individuals interested in reviewing for the program should send a short description of their areas of expertise (2 sentences) and their CV to a Social Psychology program director.

Program contacts

To meet with a Program Director in the Social Psychology Program, sign up for an appointment or contact us via email. Send a one-page description of a proposal prior to discussing a prospective project.

Steven Breckler
Program Director
sbreckle@nsf.gov (703) 292-7369 SBE/BCS
Allen McConnell
Program Director
amcconne@nsf.gov (703) 292-7459 SBE/BCS
Tanika M. Malloy
Program Specialist
tmalloy@nsf.gov (703) 292-2484 SBE/BCS

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program