William G. Graziano

Degree: PhD (1976) Minnesota

Research Interests:

Do you think of yourself as being a “people person?” If so, you may also say that you like people, have skills in dealing with others, enjoying being around people, and go out of your way to maintain good relations with others. Not everyone believes they are “people persons.” Are people persons really different in the way they think, feel and behave compared to people who are not people persons? In collaboration with Purdue’s College of Engineering, we began research on Person-Thing Orientation. When people look out to the environment around them, they can differ in orienting primarily toward other people or toward things. These two orientations are related to preferences for academic majors and even responsiveness to other people. Women as a group are more people oriented and less thing oriented than are men. Nevertheless, women majoring in engineering are more thing oriented than are men majoring in psychology. Overall, male and female students who major in engineering or basic sciences are more thing-oriented than students who major in other areas. Encouragement seems to have a bigger, more direct effect on students who are people-oriented than on their peers. Differences in person and thing orientation may help us understand sex differences in choices of academic courses, majors, careers and even how people make sense of the world around them.

Over the last 25 years, in collaboration with graduate and undergraduate students, we formed research teams to specific interpersonal aspects of people orientation like attraction, cooperation, helping and conflict. These seemingly different topics can be linked through motivation. To the best of my knowledge, we are the only research team in the world systematically investigation the Big Five dimension of agreeableness in terms of motivation to maintain good relations with others. These processes are linked to self-control and social accommodation, activities central to social living. We believe our studies show that persons who are motivated to get along with others, like more people, are less prejudiced, cooperate more with others, and give more help than do their peers.

Selected Publications:

* = publication with graduate and undergraduate students


West, S. G. & Graziano, W. G. (2012). Basic, applied, and full cycle social psychology: Enhancing causal generalization and impact. In Douglas T. Kenrick, Noah, and Sanford Braver (Eds.). Six degrees of social influence: Science, application and the psychology of Robert Cialdini. New York: Oxford University Press.

Graziano, W. G. & Tobin, R. M. (2013). The cognitive and motivational foundations underlying agreeableness. In M. D. Robinson, E. Watkins, & E. Harmon-Jones (Eds.). Handbook of Cognition and Emotion. (pp. 347-364). New York: Guilford. 

* Graziano, W. G. & Habashi, M. (2015). Searching for the prosocial personality. In D. A. Schroeder & W. G. Graziano (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Prosocial Behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 231-255.

Schroeder, D. A. & Graziano, W. G. (2015). The field of prosocial behavior: An introduction & overview. In D. A. Schroeder & W. G. Graziano (Eds.).The Oxford Handbook of Prosocial Behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-34.

Graziano, W. G. & Schroeder, D. A. (2015). Gaining the big picture: Prosocial behavior as an end product. In D. A. Schroeder & W. G. Graziano (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Prosocial Behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 721-738.

Graziano, W. G. & Schroeder, D. A. (2016). Sin, morality, and opponent motives for prosocial behavior. In Joe Forgas, Paul van Lange & Lee Jussim (Eds.)  Social psychology & morality. New York:  Taylor & Francis Psychology Press.

Journal Articles:

Graziano, W. G., Habashi, M. M., & Woodcock, A. (2011). Exploring and measuring differences in person-thing orientation. Personality & Individual Differences. 51, 28-33. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.004.

* Tobin, R. M. & Graziano, W. G. (2011). The disappointing gift: Dispositional and situational moderators of children's emotional expressions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 110 (2), 227-240. DOl: 10.1 016/j.jecp.20 11.0211.02.010.

Graziano, W. G., Habashi, M. M., Evangelou, D., & Ngambeki, I. (2012). Orientations and motivations: Are you a "people person," "thing person," or both? Motivation and Emotion. DOl 1 0.1007 Is 11031-011-9273-2.

* Woodcock, A., Graziano, W. G., Branch, S., Ngambeki, I., & Evangelou, D., & (2012). Engineering students' beliefs about research: Sex differences, personality and career plans. Journal of Engineering Education, l01(3), 1-17.

* Woodcock, A., Graziano, W. G., Branch, S. E., Habashi, M. M., Ngambeki, I. & Evangelou, D. (2012). Person and thing orientations: Psychological correlates and predictive utility. Social psychological and personality sciences. (2), Online Version April 24, 2012. DOl: 10.1177/ 1948550612444320.

* Branch, S. E. , Woodcock, A.. & Graziano, W. G. (2015). Person orientation and encouragement: Predicts interest in engineering research. Journal of Engineering Education, 104, 119-138.

* Hales, A., Williams, K., Kassner, M., & Graziano, W. G.  (2016). Disagreeableness as a cause and consequence of ostracism. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin42, 782-797.

* McIntyre, M. M. & Graziano, W. G. (2016). Seeing people, seeing things: Individual differences in selective attention. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin. 42, 1258-1271.

* Habashi, M. M., Graziano, W. G. & Hoover, A. (2016).  Searching for the prosocial personality: A Big Five approach to linking personality and prosocial behavior. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin. 42, 1177-1192.

*Wesselmann, E., Kassner, M. P., & Graziano, W. G. (2016).  Personality’s Top 40: An assignment to motivate students to apply personality concepts to their favorite songs. Teaching of Psychology. 43, 159-163.

Turton, G. M., Nauta, M. M., Wesselmann, E. D. , McIntyre, M. M., & Graziano, W. G. (2018).  The associations of Greek and religious organization participation with college students’ social well-being and purpose. Journal of Psychology. 152(4), 179-198. 

Schroeder, D.A. & Graziano, W. G. (2018). Prosocial behavior. In T. D. Nelson Ed.). Social Psychology. (pp. 245-285).  New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Schroeder, D.A. & Graziano, W. G. (2018). Prosocial behavior as a human essence. In M. vanZomeren & J. F. Dovidio (Eds.). The Oxford handbook of the human essence.  (pp. 109-122).  New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Graziano, W. G. & Tobin, R., M (2018). Agreeableness: A Three-Level Integration. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Personality and Individual Differences. (pp. 212-234). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.


Person Thing Lab logo

William G. Graziano

Professor, Social Psychology

Mailing Address:
Department of Psychological Sciences
Purdue University
703 Third Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081 USA

Campus Address:
Psychological Sciences, Room 2170

E-mail: graziano@purdue.edu
Telephone: (765) 494-7224
CV: William Graziano.pdf

Psychological Sciences, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-6061 FAX: (765) 496-1264

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