John A. Bargh, newly named as the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, is a psychologist whose research focuses on automatic or unconscious social information processes such as those involved in a variety of phenomena, including motivation and goal pursuit, evaluation and liking, and social behavior.
Bargh directs the Automaticity in Cognition, Motivation, and Emotion Lab (ACME) at Yale. His research addresses the issue of free will and explores how much of it individuals possess. He is interested in the extent to which all social psychological phenomena — attitudes and evaluations, emotions, impressions, motivations, and social behavior — occur non-consciously and automatically. His current research explores how social goals, such as cooperation, achievement, and friendships, among others, are triggered and operate without a person’s awareness. He is also looking at the potential sources of these non-conscious motivations in “real life” settings. Bargh’s research has considerable implications for the nature and purpose of consciousness. By discovering those areas of social life in which conscious, deliberate processes are not necessary, more light can be shed on what is the true purpose of consciousness.
Bargh received his B.S. summa cum laude from the University of Illinois, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He served on the faculty of New York University from 1981 to 2003, where his most recent appointment was as the Julius Silver Professor of Psychology. He joined the Yale faculty in 2003 as professor of psychology and cognitive science.
Bargh is the co-editor of several books including “The Oxford Handbook of Human Action,” “The New Unconscious,” and “Unintended Thought.” He has contributed chapters to dozens of edited volumes and is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Bargh received an honorary doctorate from Radboud University, The Netherlands, in 2009 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2011. His awards include both the Early (1989) and Career (2014) Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the American Psychological Association, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Max Planck Society (Germany) Research Prize.