Professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB),
James J. Blascovich is the co-founding director of the university’s Research Center for Virtual Environments where he investigates social influences and social interaction within technologically mediated environments. In addition, he has developed the biopsychological model of challenge and threat and validated patterns of cardiovascular responses as markers of these motivational states. Dr. Blascovich uses his model to explain and test motivational aspects of social phenomena, including intra-individual processes such as stigma, stereotypes, social comparison, and social facilitation, and behavioral outcomes such as performance. His work has contributed to our understanding of social psychophysiological processes, social behavior in virtual environments, group dynamics, non-verbal communication, and leadership among other social processes. A graduate of Loyola University in Chicago, he earned his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Nevada in 1972. He began his teaching career there and, in 1973, moved on to Marquette University as an assistant professor of psychology. He was promoted to associate professor in 1977. Three years later, he joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo where he held appointments in psychology, family medicine, and health behavioral sciences and was named a full professor of psychology in 1993. He served as founding director of Buffalo’s Center for the Study of Behavioral and Social Aspects of Health for six years. In 1995, he was named to his present position at UCSB. Dr. Blascovich has been an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and an Australasian Social Psychology/Society for Personality and Social Psychology Visiting Teaching Fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the Mind Science Foundation among other funders. He chaired the recent National Academy of Science/National Research Council Committee on priorities for basic behavioral and social sciences research for the military and serves as a member of the NAS/NRC Committee on Military Intelligence Methodology for Emergent Neurophysiological and Cognitive/Neural Science Research in the Next Two Decades. A charter fellow of the American Psychological Society, a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and an elected member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, he is president and a member of the board of the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology and has been president of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology and of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). He is the recipient of the 2007 Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, a Tom Slick Research Award from the Mind Science Foundation, a 2006 Spielberger EMPathy Symposium Leadership Award from the American Psychological Foundation, SPSP’s Distinguished Service Award, and the UCSB’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research. Presently a member of the editorial boards of Psychological Science, Media Psychology, Psychological Inquiry, and Presence, Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, Dr. Blascovich was formerly an associate editor of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, co-editor of a special issue on social psychophysiology of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, and guest editor of Emotion. He is the author or co-author of more than 120 articles in academic journals and chapters in volumes of collected works as well as the co-editor of three books, including (with E.S. Katkin) Cardiovascular Reactivity to Psychological Stress and Disease (1993), (with Stephen E. Feinberg and Paul Stern) The Polygraph and Lie Detection (2002), and (with Christine R. Hartel) Human Behavior in Military Contexts, which was published by the National Academies Press last year.