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Susannah B. F. Paletz

Susannah B. F. Paletz

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I combine my fundamental psychology training with my applied field experience to identify and untangle social and cultural factors affecting teamwork and creativity, particularly in multidisciplinary and/or multicultural teams. As of May 2013, I am an Associate Research Scientist at the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Study of Language, studying culture, teamwork, and creativity. I have developed expertise in several areas, including the social psychology of team creativity, knowledge diversity in teams, and cross-cultural psychology. My research on teams has been applied to science, engineering, and aerospace domains. I have collected and/or analyzed survey, experimental, interview, archival, and audio-video observational data, using a variety of statistical and methodological techniques.

I completed both the Psychology major and the Science in Society program at Wesleyan University (1994, Phi Beta Kappa), receiving High Honors on my thesis examining student attrition from science and mathematics majors. After college, I worked as a research assistant for Dr. William McAuliffe at the National Technical Center for Substance Abuse Needs Assessment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I earned my M.A. (December 1999) and Ph.D. (December 2003) in Social/Personality Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. I studied social and personality effects on group creativity with Dr. Maslach and co-authored a paper with Dr. MacCoun on bias in the interpretation of scientific evidence. My dissertation, which was funded by an NSF East Asia fellowship, a Northern California Phi Beta Kappa scholarship, and a Sigma Xi grant-in-aid, assessed lay theories of creativity using original survey data from Japan, China, and the United States. With Dr. Peng, my former dissertation adviser, I continue to examine the effects of culture on creativity.

From March 2004-August 2008, I was a civil servant Research Psychologist at NASA Ames Research Center. There, I researched team composition and cohesion, organizational risk factors, individual and team selection, and aviation decision-making. I worked in the Distributed Team Decision Making laboratory and the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) laboratory, collaborating with Drs. Judith Orasanu, Christopher Bearman (now at Central Queensland University), Alonso Vera, Irene Tollinger, Yuri Tada, and others. My work in the HCI laboratory earned me Ames Spotlight Awards; the HCI lab's work on improving problem reporting software and processes resulted in the whole team receiving Group Achievement Awards from Johnson Space Center and Ames Research Center.

From 2011-2013 I was a principal investigator and research associate at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant via the Science of Science Innovation and Policy Program. That work was a natural extension of my postdoctoral fellowship (University of Pittsburgh, NSF, 2008-2011). I continue to collaborate with Drs. Christian Schunn and Kevin Kim, and graduate student Joel Chan from there. With these colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, I code and statistically analyze conversations to examine the interplay of social and cognitive micro-events. With Chunchi Lin at the National Taiwan University and Ella Miron-Spektor at Technion University (Israel), I am developing and testing a model of conflict and cognition in multinational groups.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Communication, Language
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Group Processes
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • Paletz, S. B. F. (2011). Project management of innovative teams. In M. Mumford, (Ed.), Handbook of organizational creativity (pp. 421-455). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Paletz, S. B .F. (2009). Individual selection and crew assembly: A gap analysis for exploration missions. In S. B. F. Paletz & M. K. Kaiser (Eds.), Behavioral health and performance technical gap analysis white papers (NASA Technical Memorandum NASA/TM—2009-215381, pp. 141-198). Moffett Field, CA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center.
  • Paletz, S. B. F., & Schunn, C. D. (2012). Digging into implicit/explicit states and processes: The case of cognitive/social process interaction in scientific groups. In R. Proctor & E. J. Capaldi (Eds.), Psychology of science: Implicit and explicit reasoning (pp. 436-455). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Peng, K., & Paletz, S. B. F. (2011). Cross-cultural psychology in applied settings. In P. R. Martin, F. M. Cheung, M. C. Knowles, M. Kyrios, L. Littlefield, J. B. Overmier, & J. M. Prieto (Eds.), The IAAP handbook of applied psychology (pp. 525-542). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Courses Taught:

  • Survey and Cross-Cultural Research Methods
  • Mobile: (650) 793-3039

Susannah B. F. Paletz
Center for Advanced Study of Language
7005 52nd Avenue
College Park, Maryland 20742
United States

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