Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Stephen Read

Stephen Read

Stephen J. Read received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. He has been at USC in the Department of Psychology since 1984 and served as chair of the department until 2001.

Dr. Read's research specialities are social perception and causal reasoning in social interaction, computational models of personality and motivation, and coherence based models of judgment. Among the specific topics he is interested in are: the role of causal reasoning in the coordination of social interaction, specifically close relationships, the use of parallel constraint satisfaction systems to model legal and everyday reasoning, and developing a comprehensive model of social perception and causal reasoning. He is also generally interested in neural network models of social reasoning, and he is working on how to model personality, motivation and emotion in computer based intelligent or autonomous agents. His teaching specialities are Social Cognition and Research Methods.

Dr. Read has received several federal grants. He was Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation grant entitled "Explanatory Coherence in Social Explanation" and on a grant from the State of California entitled "Simulating Safer Sex: Interactive video HIV intervention." He is currently a PI on a grant from the National Science Foundation on constraint satisfaction models of legal and everyday reasoning and on a grant from the US Army on modeling personality, motivation, and emotion in intelligent or autonomous agents. He is also co-PI on a grant from the National Insitute of Allergy and Infectitious Diseases to investigate the use of Interactive Video to teach individuals to better negotiate safer sex.

He is well known for his work on a knowledge structure approach to causal reasoning and the applications of this work to understanding behavior in close relations. Dr. Read has published widely on causal reasoning, analogical reasoning, and close relationships. He is currently a member of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the American Psychological Society, the Cognitive Science Society, the Society for Judgement and Decision Making, and the Society for Text and Discourse.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Causal Attribution
  • Close Relationships
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Person Perception
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:


Journal Articles:

  • Read, S. J. (1987). Constructing causal scenarios: A knowledge structure approach to causal reasoning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 288-302.
  • Read, S. J., & Cesa, I. L. (1991). This reminds me of the time when...: Reminding in explanation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 27, 1-25.
  • Read, S. J., Jones, D. K., & Miller, L. C. (1990). Traits as goal-based categories: The importance of goals in the coherence of dispositional categories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1048-1061.
  • Read, S. J., & Marcus-Newhall, A. R. (1993). Explanatory coherence in social explanations: A parallel distributed processing account. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 429-447.
  • Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (2002). Virtual personalities: A neural network model of personality. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 357-369.
  • Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (1993). Rapist or "regular guy": Explanatory coherence in the construction of mental models of others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 526-540.
  • Read, S. J., & Montoya, J. A. (1999). An autoassociative model of causal learning and causal reasoning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 728-742.
  • Read, S. J., & Urada, D. (2003). A neural network model of the outgroup homogeneity effect. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7, 146-169.
  • Read, S. J., Vanman, E. J., & Miller, L. C. (1997). Connectionism and Gestalt principles: (Re)Introducing cognitive dynamics to social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1, 26-53.
  • Simon, D., Snow, C. & Read, S. J. (2004). The redux of cognitive consistency theories: Evidence judgments by constraint satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 814-837.

Other Publications:

  • Miller, L. C., & Read, S. J. (1991). On the coherence of mental models of persons and relationships: A knowledge structure approach. In G. J. O. Fletcher & F. Fincham (Eds.), Cognition in close relationships. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (1998). On the dynamic construction of meaning: An interactive activation and competition model of social perception. In S. J. Read & L. C. Miller (Eds.), Connectionist models of social reasoning and social behavior. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (1994). Dissonance and Balance in belief systems: The promise of parallel constraint satisfaction processes and connectionist modeling approaches. In R. C. Schank & E. J. Langer (Eds.), Beliefs, reasoning, and decision making: Psycho-logic in honor of Bob Abelson (pp. 209-235). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (1989) Inter-personalism: Toward a goal-based theory of persons in relationships. In L. Pervin (Ed.), Goal concepts in personality and social psychology (pp. 413-472). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Courses Taught:

Stephen Read
Department of Psychology
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California 90089-1061
United States

  • Phone: (213) 740-2291

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