The Psychology of Cultural Change: Introduction to the Special Issue

Michael E.W. Varnum, Igor Grossmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Human societies are not static. Attitudes, norms, institutions, behavior, and cultural products shift over time, sometimes with dizzying speed. However psychological science has either largely ignored cultural change or tacitly treated it as a source of noise. These changes in fact have important implications not only for psychological theory and research, but also policy, public health, and daily life. The present special issue draws together cutting-edge research and theory that addresses what one might think of as “the What,” the “Why,” and the “How” of cultural change. The articles encompass a range of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches and focus on a diverse set of phenomena and processes ranging from personality to prejudice, to collective memory. Here we provide a brief overview and introduction, laying out our hopes to encourage more psychologists to consider cultural change in their own research and to join us in the emerging field of cultural dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-837
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021


  • Big data
  • Computational models
  • Computational social science
  • Cultural change
  • Cultural evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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