The Legacy of Solomon Asch: Essays in Cognition and Social Psychology

The Legacy of Solomon Asch: Essays in Cognition and Social Psychology

The Legacy of Solomon Asch: Essays in Cognition and Social Psychology

The Legacy of Solomon Asch: Essays in Cognition and Social Psychology


This volume honors Solomon Asch, a pioneer in social psychology whose experiments in this field are considered classic. Asch has made important contributions to the fields of memory, learning and thinking, and perception along with extending Gestalt theories to social psychology research.

Former students and colleagues honor Asch with essays that either expand on his research or describe original research on new topics of related interest. An interesting and informative text for faculty and researchers in the fields of cognition and perception as well as social, experimental, and personality psychology.


This volume, a tribute to Solomon Asch, reflects the many areas of psychology to which he has made fundamental contributions: to cognition, perception, social psychology, and personality theory. His contributions also reflect a deep interest in theoretical psychology, notable for his extension of Gestalt psychology to topics beyond those dealt with by the founding fathers. Thus he stands as one of the few generalists of this century. This volume is divided into sections that correspond to these diverse interests. A unifying thread running through all of Asch's writings is his abiding humanistic concerns. These come together in a reiterated theme: the belief in the ultimate rationality of human conduct.

In varying ways, the list of contributors reflects Asch's interests and his influence, as well as his institutional connections. Some were his graduate students and research assistants at the New School for Social Research and at Rutgers University. Others were his faculty colleagues at the New School, Swarthmore College, Rutgers, and Pennsylvania Universities. However, quite a few of those whose essays appear in this volume were not directly his students or departmental colleagues, but are themselves important psychologists who have been deeply influenced by his ideas, research, and style of thinking.

The first chapter in this volume is a biography of Asch, tracing his career as an investigator. Therefore not much need be said here by way of preface. However, I do want to mention two points about Asch that distinguish him from most of his contemporaries, including many outstanding psychologists. There is, first, the point already made, the breadth of his interests. Then, there is the interesting fact that Asch's list of publications is unusually short (see pages 293-295). But what a list it is! Virtually every paper, to say nothing of his book, Social Psychology, is now a classic, a landmark contribution, constituting a paradigm that has given . . .

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