Winner of the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding research, and the Nevitt Sanford Award from the International Society of Political Psychology, Jon A. Krosnick is Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor of Communication, Professor of Political Science, and (by courtesy) Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, director of the Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford, and director of the Summer Institute in Political Psychology at Stanford, as well as Research Psychologist at the U.S. Census Bureau and a Research Professor at the University of Illinois.
At Stanford, he has served as an affiliate of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS), a senior fellow and associate at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Associate Director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and Director of the Methods of Analysis Program.
His PhD is in social psychology from the University of Michigan, where he studied with psychologist/political scientist Donald Kinder, sociologists Duane Alwin and Howard Schuman, and psychologist Robert Zajonc. His first professorship was in the departments of psychology and political science at The Ohio State University, where he spent 18 years on the faculty. In addition, he has been an Adjunct Research Investigator at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, and a Research Advisor at the Gallup Organization.
Dr. Krosnick is a world-recognized expert on the psychology of attitudes, especially in the area of politics. He has been co-principal investigator of the American National Election Study, the nation's preeminent academic research project exploring voter decision-making and political campaign effects. For more than 30 years, Dr. Krosnick has studied how the American public's political attitudes are formed, change, and shape thinking and action. His publications explore the causes of people decisions about whether to vote, for whom to vote, whether to approve of the President’s performance, whether to take action to influence government policy-making on a specific issue, and much more.
His attitude research has focused primarily on the notion of attitude strength, seeking to differentiate attitudes that are firmly crystallized and powerfully influential of thinking and action from attitudes that are flexible and inconsequential. Many of his studies in this area have focused on the amount of personal importance that an individual chooses to attach to an attitude. Dr. Krosnick’s studies have illuminated the origins of attitude importance and the cognitive and behavioral consequences of importance in regulating attitude impact and attitude change processes.
Among the topics explored by Dr. Krosnick’s political psychologyresearch are: how policy debates affect voters’ candidate preferences, how the news media shape which national problems citizens think are most important for the nation and shape how citizens evaluate the President’s job performance, how becoming very knowledgeable about and emotionally invested in a government policy issue (such as abortion or gun control) affects people’s political thinking and participation, how people’s political views change as they move through the life-cycle from early adulthood to old age, and how the order of candidates’ names on the ballot affect voting behavior.
For twenty years, Dr. Krosnick has been conducting survey research on the American public's views of global warming. Many of his papers and public presentations on the topic can be seen on this website, which has provided support for much of his recent work on this topic.
Another major focus of his research has been on questionnaire design and survey research methods. His work in this area has illuminated the cognitive and social processes that unfold between researcher and respondent when the latter are asked to answer questions, and his on-going review of 100 years worth of scholarly research on the topic has yielded a set of guidelines for the optimal design of questionnaires to maximize reliability and validity. His recent research has focused on how other aspects of survey methodology (e.g., collecting data by interviewing face-to-face vs. by telephone or on paper questionnaires) can be optimized to maximize accuracy..
Dr. Krosnick has taught courses for professionals on survey methods for more than 30 years around the world and has served as a methodology consultant to government agencies, commercial firms, and academic scholars. His books on the topic include “Introduction to Survey Research, Polling, and Data Analysis” and "The Handbook of Questionnaire Design" (forthcoming, Oxford University Press).
In addition to the AAPOR Award and the Sanford Award, Dr. Krosnick's scholarship has been recognized with the Phillip Brickman Memorial Prize, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award, the Erik Erikson Early Career Award for Excellence and Creativity, two fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
As an expert witness in court, he has testified evaluating the quality of surveys presented as evidence by opposing counsel and has conducted original survey research to inform courts in cases involving unreimbursed expenses, uncompensated overtime work, exempt/non-exempt misclassification, patent/trademark violation, health effects of accidents, consequences of being misinformed about the results of standardized academic tests, economic valuation of environmental damage, change of venue motions, and other topics.
Dr. Krosnick’s Political Psychology Research Group (PPRG) is a cross-disciplinary team of scholars who conduct empirical studies of the psychology of political behavior and studies seeking to optimize research methodology for studying political psychology. The group's studies employ a wide range of research methods, including surveys, experiments, and content analysis, and the group often conducts collaborative research studies with leading news media organizations, including ABC News, The Associated Press, the Washington Post, and Time Magazine. Support for the group's work has come from U.S. Government agencies (e.g., the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics), private foundations (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), and Institutes at Stanford (e.g., the Woods Institute for the Environment). Dr. Krosnick also directs the Summer Institute in Political Psychology, an annual event that brings 60 students and professionals from around the world to Stanford for intensive training in political psychology theory and methods.
In his spare time, Dr. Krosnick spends time with his wife, Catherine Heaney, also a Stanford faculty member, and their daughter, Alexandra, who is in the Ph.D. program in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Dr. Krosnick also plays drums with the 25-year-old contemporary jazz group, Charged Particles, which has released two CD's internationally and tours across the U.S. and abroad (www.chargedparticles.com).