Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

John C. Turner

John C. Turner


After a long illness, Professor Emeritus John Charles Turner died on July 24, 2011, in the company of his daughters, Jane and Isobel, and their mother, Penny. Social Psychology Network is maintaining this profile for visitors who wish to learn more about Professor Turner's work.

Please see below for more information:

I did my undergraduate B.A. Honours in Social Psychology at the University of Sussex and my Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Bristol, both in the UK. After my Ph.D. I worked in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bristol, first as a research associate with Henri Tajfel and Howard Giles and then as a lecturer in social psychology and personality. In 1982/1983 I spent a year at the Institute For Advanced Study, Princeton, USA, in the School of Social Sciences, and then moved to Australia, to Macquarie University in Sydney.

After some years I moved in 1990 to the ANU in Canberra as Professor of Psychology. I was Head of Department for two terms and Dean of the Faculty of Science for one during the 1990s. I was awarded the Henri Tajfel Memorial Medal by the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology in 1999. I have supervised PhD and honours students at Bristol and Macquarie Universities and ANU on topics including leadership, group cohesion, crowd behaviour, group polarization, the salience of social categorizations, minority influence, self-categorization and stereotyping, categorization and social judgement, the self-concept and the formation of stereotype content.

My research interests are in social psychology and have covered a number of topics over the years: intergroup relations, prejudice, stereotyping, the nature of the psychological group and group processes, social influence, leadership, power and the self-concept. I have had a longstanding interest in social identity and self-categorization processes since I developed social identity theory with the late Henri Tajfel in the 1970s and originated self-categorization theory in the early 1980s.

Currently my research (with Kate Reynolds, Kris Veenstra and others) has two related themes: (1) the emergence of perceived illegitimacy in intergroup relations and (2) the nature of social power. The link between them is the problem of how social change takes place in the relations between social groups, a problem that derives from social identity theory and the general position that prejudice is not caused by pathological individual attitudes but by the conflictual nature of relations between social groups. Another aspect of this problem which I have been working on with collaborators is the aetiology of "the prejudiced personality". What exactly is a prejudiced personality? We have been exploring the idea that what we call prejudiced personalities are not fixed products of cultural learning but the varying self-categorical reflections of group beliefs and ideologies applied to the production of personal identity in contemporary social contexts.

Primary Interests:

  • Group Processes
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Persuasion, Social Influence
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

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Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • David, B., & Turner, J. C. (2001). Self-categorization principles underlying majority and minority influence. In J. P. Forgas & K. D. Williams (Eds.), Social influence: Direct and indirect processes. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
  • Reynolds, K. J., & Turner, J. C. (2001). Understanding prejudice, discrimination and social conflict: A social identity perspective. In M. Augoustinos & K. J. Reynolds (Eds.), Us and them: Understanding the psychology of prejudice and racism. London, UK: Sage.
  • Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (2004). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In M. J. Hatch & M. Schultz (Eds.), Organizational identity: A reader (pp. 56-65). New York: Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Courses Taught:

  • Introduction to Psychology

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