Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Donelson R. Forsyth

Donelson R. Forsyth

A social and personality psychologist, Forsyth studies groups, leadership, social cognition, and moral judgment. His general analyses of group development, structure, performance, and change are complemented by his in-depth analyses of the psychological and interpersonal consequences of success and failure at the group and individual level. Much of his work in the area of ethics examines individual difference in moral philosophies, which he measures using the Ethics Position Questionnaire (

He has authored over 150 books, chapters, and articles on groups and related topics, and his work has appeared in the Group Dynamics, the Journal of Personality, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, American Psychologist, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. His books (both edited and coauthored) include College teaching: Practical insights from the science of teaching and learning (2016), Leading through conflict: Into the fray (2016), Group dynamics (2014), For the greater good of all: Perspectives on individualism, society, and leadership (2011), and Our social world (1999). He has received grants in excess of a total of $1 million for research from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. In 1996 he founded the journal Group Dynamics and served in 2008 as the president of Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy.

He was recognized as the Outstanding Group Psychologist by the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy in 1996 and received the State of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 2002. He was recognized as a G. Stanley Hall Lecturer by APA in 2008, and received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2014. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Primary Interests:

  • Causal Attribution
  • Group Processes
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Social Cognition


Journal Articles:

  • Forsyth, D. R. (2016). Group psychology in the new millennium: Fifteen years on. Group, 40(1), 17-22.
  • Forsyth, D. R., Garcia, M., Zyzniewski, L. E., Story, P. A., & Kerr, N. A. (2004). Watershed pollution and preservation: The awareness-appraisal model of environmentally positive intentions and behaviors. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 4, 115-128.
  • Forsyth, D. R., Lawrence, N. K., Burnette, J. L., & Baumeister, R. F. (2007). Attempting to improve the academic performance of struggling college students by bolstering their self-esteem: An intervention that backfired. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 447-459.
  • Forsyth, D. R., van Vugt, M., Schlein, G., & Story, P. A. (2015). Identity and environmental sustainability: Place-based social identity increases environmental engagement. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 15, 233–252.
  • O’Boyle, E. H., Forsyth, D. R., Banks, G. C., Story, P. A., & White, C. D. (2015). A meta-analytic test of redundancy and relative importance of the dark triad and five-factor model of personality. Journal of Personality, 83, 644-664.
  • O’Boyle, E. H., Jr., Forsyth, D. R., Banks, G., & McDaniel, M. (2012). A meta-analysis of the dark triad and work outcomes: A social exchange perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 557-579.
  • O'Boyle, E. H., Jr., Forsyth, D. R., Story, P. A., & Banks, G. C. (2013). The dark triad–intelligence connection: No support for the “Evil Genius” hypothesis. Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 789-794.
  • Story, P. A., & Forsyth, D. R. (2008). Watershed conservation and preservation: Environmental engagement as helping behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28, 305-317.
  • Van Tongeren, D. R., Burnette, J. L., O’ Boyle, E., Worthington, E. L., & Forsyth, D. (2014). A meta-analysis of intergroup forgiveness. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9, 81-95.

Other Publications:

  • Forsyth, D. R. (2015). How do leaders lead? Through social influence. In A. Goethals, S. Allison, R. Kramer, & D. Messick (Eds.), Contemporary conceptions of leadership (pp. 185-200). New York: Palgrave.
  • Forsyth, D. R. (2014). The psychology of groups. In R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener (Eds), Noba textbook series: Psychology. Champaign, IL: DEF Publishers.
  • Forsyth, D. R. (2013). Social influence and group behavior. In I. B. Weiner (Ed. in-chief) Handbook of psychology (Vol. 5, H. Tennen & J. Suls, Eds., pp. 305-328). New York: Wiley.
  • Forsyth, D. R. (2010). Group process and group psychotherapy: Social psychological foundations of change in therapeutic groups. In J. E. Maddux & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Social psychological foundations of clinical psychology. New York: Guilford.
  • Forsyth, D. R., & Nye, J. L. (2008). Seeing and being a leader: The perceptual, cognitive, and interpersonal roots of conferred influence. In C. Hoyt, G. Goethals, & D. R. Forsyth (Eds.), Social psychology of leadership. New York: Praeger.
  • Forsyth, D. R., & O’Boyle, E. H., Jr. (2012). Ethics position theory and unethical work behavior. In R. A. Giacalone & M. D. Promislo (Eds.), Handbook of unethical work behavior: Implications for individual well-being (pp. 221-236). New York: M.E.Sharpe.

Courses Taught:

Donelson R. Forsyth
Jepson School of Leadership Studies
Jepson Hall
University of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia 23173
United States of America

  • Phone: (804) 289-8461

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