Nosek et al., 2010, Cumulative and career-stage citation impact of social-personality psychology programs and their members


Nosek, B. A., Graham, J., Lindner, N. M., Kesebir, S., Hawkins, C. B., Hahn, C., Schmidt, K., Motyl, M., Joy-Gaba, J . A., Frazier, R., & Tenney, E. R. (2010). Cumulative and career-stage impact of social-personality psychology programs and their members. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1283-1300. [Request paper]

Notable article outliers

The analyses in this article focused on citation impact of individuals and programs. It included 611 active members of 97 social-personality psychology programs in Canada and the U.S. Another level of analysis is the impact of individual scientific works. The presents a list of works by at least one of the members of our sample that have been cited more than 1500 times (as of August 2009). The most extreme outlier – Baron and Kenny (1986) – has been cited more than 17,000 times. How big is that? There are 55 programs in our sample of 97 for which the sum total of citation counts of every work by every member of the program is less than the citation count of Baron and Kenny (1986).

This mind-boggling example inspires an obvious question: What is the translation of times cited to some conceptual understanding of the article’s impact? There is no definitive answer. Through our review of thousands of articles, we offer as intuitive guides these tentative benchmarks for works that have had some time to “mature” (scaled by a factor of 3 approximately):

100 times cited = high impact
300 times cited = widespread impact
1000 times cited = citation classic
3000 times cited = transformational impact

These should be understood as relatively arbitrary breakpoints on the continuous distribution of citation counts. They may not apply in fields for which citations accumulate more quickly or more slowly than psychology. All of the highly-cited scholars in the present sample have multiple “high impact” scientific works, and most have at least one that meets the “widespread impact” mark. It is unusual for an author to have more than one “citation classic,” though there are multiple examples of that among the highest impact scientists. And, finally, 22 articles in our search and review of many thousand surpass the “transformational impact” benchmark (Appendix F). Note also, that by these benchmarks, Baron and Kenny (1986) re-earns “citation classic” status annually for being cited more than 1000 times each year so far this century.

Number of cites Authors Year Article Title Journal or Book Title
17196 Baron & Kenny 1986 The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
11300 Fishbein & Ajzen 1975 [book] Belief, Attitude, Intention, and Behavior
9824 Ajzen & Fishbein 1980 [book] Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior
8406 Aiken & West 1991 [book] Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions
7667 Ajzen 1991 Theory of planned behavior Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
6922 Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall 1978 [book] Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation
6520 Kahneman, Slovic, & Tversky 1982 [book] Judgment under certainty: Heuristics and biases
6300 Watson, Clark, & Tellegen 1988 Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
5807 Deci & Ryan 1985 [book] Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior
5731 Fiske & Taylor 1991 [book] Social Cognition
5355 Markus & Kitayama 1991 Culture & the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, & motivation Psychological Review
5001 Shrout & Fleiss 1979 Intraclass correlations: Uses in assessing rater reliability Psychological Bulletin
4385 Nisbett & Wilson 1977 Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes Psychological Review
4211 Nisbett & Ross 1980 [book] Human Inference: Strategies and Shortcomings of Social Judgment
3956 Eagly & Chaiken 1993 [book] The Psychology of Attitudes
3898 Cohen & Wills 1985 Stress, social support and the buffering hypothesis Psychological Bulletin
3359 Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell 1987 [book] Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory
3347 Slovic 1987 Perception of risk Science
3317 Taylor & Brown 1988 Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health Psychological Bulletin
3163 Ajzen 1985 From intentions to actions Action-Control: From Cognition to Behavior
3061 Collins & Loftus 1975 A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing Psychological Review
3007 Mischel 1968 [book] Personality and Assessment
2882 Hackman & Oldham 1980 [book] Work Redesign
2796 Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub 1989 Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
2770 Ajzen 1988 [book] Attitudes, Personality, and Behaviour
2695 Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin 1985 The satisfaction with life scale Journal of Personality Assessment
2592 Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein 1983 A global measure of perceived stress Journal of Health and Social Behavior
2591 Deci 1973 [book] Intrinsic Motivation
2555 Lind & Tyler 1988 [book] The Social Psychology of Procedural Justice
2488 Dweck & Leggett 1988 Social cognitive approach to motivation Psychological Review
2481 Petty & Cacioppo 1986 [book] Communication and Persuasion
2471 Baumeister & Leary 1995 The need to belong Psychological Bulletin
2317 Main, Kaplan, & Cassidy 1985 Security in infancy, childhood, and adulthood: A move to the level of representation Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
2316 Ryan & Deci 2000 Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being American Psychologist
2251 Devine 1989 Stereotypes and prejudice Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
2213 Heatherton, Kozlowski, Frecker, & Fagerström 1991 The Fagerström Test for nicotine dependence: A revision of the Fagerström Tolerance Questionnaire. British Journal of Addiction
2150 Watson & Clark 1984 Negative affectivity: The disposition to experience aversive emotional states Psychological Bulletin
2135 Salovey & Mayer 1990 Emotional intelligence Imagination, Cognition, and Personality
2121 Hackman & Oldham 1975 Development of the job diagnostic survey Journal of Applied Psychololgy
2074 Dweck 1986 Motivational processes affecting learning American Psychologist
2067 Bartholomew & Horowitz 1991 Attachment styles among young adults: A test of a four-category model Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
2016 Scheier & Carver. 1985 Optimism, coping and health: Assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies Health Psychology
2014 Markus & Nurius 1986 Possible selves American Psychologist
1980 Watson & Tellegen 1985 Toward a consensual structure of mood Psychological Bulletin
1965 Petty & Cacioppo 1986 The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion Advances in Experimental Social Psychology
1960 Ross 1978 The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process Cognitive Theories in Social Psychology
1905 Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz 1998 Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The Implicit Association Test Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1890 Hackman & Oldham 1976 Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory Organizational Behavior
1889 Maslach & Jackson  1981 [book] The Maslach Burnout Inventory
1852 Garner, Olmstead, & Polivy 1983 Development and validation of a multidimensional eating disorder inventory for anorexia nervosa International Journal of Eating Disorders
1837 Higgins 1987 Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect Psychological Review
1836 Janoff-Bulman 1992 [book] Shattered Assumptions
1804 Markus 1999 Self-schemata The Self in Social Psychology
1787 Russell 1980 A circumplex model of affect Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1782 Ajzen & Fishbein 1977 Attitude-behavior relations Psychological Bulletin
1749 Steele 1997 A threat in the air American Psychologist
1736 Crocker & Major 1989 Social stigma and self-esteem: The self-protective properties of stigma Psychological Review
1734 Ajzen & Madden 1986 Prediction of goal-directed behavior Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 
1682 Carver & Scheier 1981 [book] Attention and self-regulation: A control theory approach to human behavior
1646 Jones & Nisbett 1972 The actor and the observer: Divergent perceptions of the causes of behavior Attribution: perceiving the causes of behavior
1632 Langer 1975 The illusion of control Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1624 Petty & Cacioppo 1996 [book] Attitudes and Persuasion
1618 Snyder 1974 Self-monitoring and expressive behavior Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1597 Greenwald & Banaji 1995 Implicit social cognition: Attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes Psychological Review
1592 Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison & Sowa 1986 Perceived organizational support Journal of Applied Psychololgy
1563 Dweck 2000 [book] Self-Theories
1550 Watson & Pennebaker 1989 Health complaints, stress, and distress: Exploring the central role of negative affect Psychological Review
1540 Eagly 1987 [book] Sex Differences in Social Behavior: A Social Role Interpretation
1539 Carver & Scheier 2001 [book] On the Self-Regulation of Behavior
1521 Werner & Smith 1981 [book] Vulnerable, but Invincible: A Longitudinal Study of Resilient Children and Youth 
1519 Deci & Ryan 2000 The "what" and" why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior Psychological Inquiry
1514 Bargh & Chartrand 1999 The unbearable automaticity of being American Psychologist
1503 Mischel 1973 Toward a cognitive social learning reconceptualization of personality Psychological Review
1501 Cacioppo & Petty 1983 Effects of need for cognition on message evaluation, recall, and persuasion Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


Citations Home page, Brian Nosek's Website