Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Norbert L. Kerr

Norbert L. Kerr

I am currently (Summer, 2010) appointed half-time at Michigan State University and an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent in Canterbury. I am in the midst of a phased-retirement. I will be fully retired and assume emeritus status in the Fall of 2014. In the meantime, I am not accepting new graduate students as advisees, although I do continue to serve on a few graduate student committees (as non-chair).

My current work focuses primarily on five topics--group motivation gains, social dilemmas, social exclusion, juror/jury behavior, and a vaguely defined topic which we might call "how social psychologists (among others) write up their work".

1. Over 70 years ago, Otto Koehler provided evidence for intriguing group motivation gains. My current work (done in collaboration with Deborah Feltz and Brandon Irwin of the Department of Kinesiology) has been extending this phenomenon to increase motivation to exercise in exercise grouips using health video games.

2. My current social dilemma work has been focusing on the effectiveness of overt or subtle threats of social exclusion as a mechanism for social control in social dilemmas.

3. I've become interested in the "front end" of the sociometer--how we detect threats to our inclusionary status. We've done some work identifying the cues people use to communicate social rejection/marginalization.

4. With some colleagues in Law and Communications, I've been studying a number of questions, including a) what is the effect of allowing jurors to discuss trial evidence prior to jury deliberation?, b) does the heinousness of a crime bias juror decision making?, and c) how does the mode of presentation of information (e.g., physical exhibit vs. video images) alter jurors' reactions?

5. I continue to be interested in what I termed HARKing (hypothesizing after the results are known; cf. Kerr, 1998). We're currently doing some archival research to document the incidence and form that such HARKing takes in psychology.

Primary Interests:

  • Group Processes
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Research Methods, Assessment


Journal Articles:

  • Feltz, D. L., Kerr, N. L., & Irwin, B. (2011). Buddy up: The Köhler Effect applied to health games. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 33(4), 506-526.
  • Hertel, G., Kerr, N. L., & Messe, L. A. (2000). Motivation gains in groups: Paradigmatic and theoretical advances on the Koehler effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 580-601.
  • Kerr, N. L. (1998). HARKing (Hypothesizing After the Results are Known). Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 196-217.
  • Kerr, N. L., & Hertel, G. (2011). The Köhler group motivation gain: How to motivate the “weak links” in groups. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5, 43-55.
  • Kerr, N. L., & Levine, J. L. (2008). The detection of social exclusion: Evolution and beyond. Group Dynamics, 12(1), 39-52.
  • Kerr, N. L., MacCoun, R., & Kramer, G. P. (1996). Bias in judgment: Comparing individuals and groups. Psychological Review, 103, 687-719.
  • Kerr, N. L., Messé, L. M., Seok, D., Sambolec, E., Lount, R. M., & Park, E. S. (2007). Psychological mechanisms underlying the Köhler motivation gain. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(6), 828-841.
  • Kerr, N. L., Niedermeier, K., & Kaplan, M. (1999). Bias in jurors vs. juries: New evidence from the SDS perspective. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 80, 70-86.
  • Kerr, N. L., Rumble, A. C., Park, E. S., Parks, C. D., Ouwerkerk, J. W., Gallucci, M., & van Lange, P. A. M. (2009). “One bad apple spoils the whole barrel”: Social exclusion as a remedy for the One Bad Apple Effect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 603-613.
  • Kerr, N. L., Seok, D., Poulsen, J., Harris, D., & Messé, L. M. (2008). Social ostracism and group motivation gain. European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol 38(4), Jun 2008, 736-746.
  • Kerr, N. L., & Tindale, R. S. (2004). Group performance and decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 623-655.
  • McDonald, M. M., Asher, B. D., Kerr, N. L., & Navarrete, C. D. (2011). Fertility and intergroup bias in racial and minimal group contexts: Evidence for shared architecture. Psychological Science, 22, 855-859.
  • Messe, L. A., Hertel, G., Kerr, N. L., Lount, R. B. Jr., & Park, E. S. (2002). Knowledge of partner's ability as a moderator of group motivation gains: An exploration of the Koehler discrepancy effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(6), 935-946.

Other Publications:

  • Kerr, N. L. (2012). Social dilemmas. In Frontiers in Social Psychology (J. Levine, Editor). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Kerr, N. L. (2010). Juror emotion and juror judgment. In Richard L. Wiener & Brain H. Bornstein, (Eds.), Emotion and the Law: Psychological Perspectives. 56th Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Kerr, N. L. (1996). "Does my contribution really matter?": Efficacy in social dilemmas. In W. Stroebe & M. Hewstone (Eds.), European Review of Social Psychology (Vol. 7). Chichester: J. Wiley.
  • Kerr, N. L., & Bray, R. M. (2005). Simulation, realism, and the study of the jury. In Neil Brewer & Kipling Williams (Eds.), Psychology and law: An empirical perspective. New York: Guilford.
  • Levine, J. M, & Kerr, N. L. (2007). Inclusion and exclusion: Implications for group processes. In A. E. Kruglanski and E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.

Courses Taught:

Norbert L. Kerr
Department of Psychology
Psychology Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
United States

  • Work: (616) 439-0562
  • Mobile: (517) 256-8460
  • Fax: (517) 432-2476
  • Skype Name: norbert.l.kerr

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