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Indiana University Bloomington

Jim Sherman

Dr. Jim Sherman

Professor Emeritus


sherman [at] | personal website

office: PY 358 | (812)855-8163

lab: Sherman Social Cogntion Research Lab
PY 224 | (812)855-0136


Social cognition; human judgment; impressions of individuals and groups; language, metaphors, cognitive embodiment; and law and psychology

Educational Background

  • B.A., Harvard University
  • M.A., University of Michigan
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan

Areas of Study

  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Science

Research Topics

  • Social cognition
  • Human judgment
  • Impressions of individuals and groups
  • Adolescent health behavior

Research Summary:

As should be apparent from looking at the selection of my publications below, I am quite eclectic as to research areas and interests. I will briefly describe several of these areas. In one line of work, my colleagues and I have developed a model of preferences, called the feature-matching model. This model involves the factors of shared versus unique features and the direction of comparison in which options are compared. This model has been successful in predicting the option that is chosen, the difficulty in making the decision, and the satisfaction with the chosen option.

In another line of work, I have focused on impressions of individuals and groups. We have demonstrated that the processes of person impression formation and group perceptions involve similar processes, although the former gives more play to on-line impression formation, whereas the latter involves memory-based processes to a greater extent. Perceived entitativity and group types have also played a substantial role in the work on group impressions. Research in the area of counterfactual thinking has identified the functions and affective consequences of counterfactual generation.

Recent work has focused on counterfactual generation as a way to understand the finding that general and abstract objects or events (e.g. "Starving children") are treated very differently from specific items (e.g., "Ann Smith, who is a starving child"). We have also investigated what makes counterfactual thoughts powerful in affecting judgments and feelings. Recent work has investigated language differences and how these differences affect mental representations. For example, some language (e.g., English) use adjective-noun word other. Others (e.g., Italian) use non-adjective word order. This difference sin word order affects probability judgments, similarity judgments, memory, and stereotypes.

I have also worked on the interface of psychology and the law. In one project, we discuss the role of "sticky metaphors" for anger and fear of the legal doctrine of voluntary manslaughter (heat of passion murders and why men who kill adulterous wives out of anger benefit from this doctrine but battered wives who kill out of fear do not.

Representative Publications

Below is a list of publications over the past 3 years, as well as a very selective list of publications for previous years. For a comprehensive list, you can go to Psychinfo.

2012 - Mata, A., Ferreira, M. B., & Sherman, S. J. Flexibility in motivated reasoning: Strategic shifts of strategies in covariation judgment. Social Cognition.

2012 - Rydell, R. J., Sherman, S. J., Boucher, K. L., & Macy, J. T. The role of motivational and persuasive message factors in changing implicit attitudes toward smoking. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34, 1-7.

2011 - Halberstadt, J., Sherman, S. J., & Sherman, J. W. Why Barack Obama is Black: A cognitive account of hypodescent. Psychological Science, 22, 29-33.

2011 - Petrocelli, J. V., Percy, E. J., Sherman, S. J., & Tormala, Z. L. Counterfactual potency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 30-46.

2011 - Percy, E. J., Hoffmann, J. L., & Sherman, S. J. "Sticky metaphors" and the persistence of the traditional voluntary manslaughter doctrine. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, 44, 383-427.

2010 - Sherman, S. J., & Percy, T. J. The psychology of collective responsibility: When and why collective entities are likely to be held responsible for the misdeeds of individual members. Journal of Law and Policy, 19, 137-170.

2010 - Crump, S. A., Hamilton, D. L., Sherman, S. J., Lickel, B., & Thakkar, V. Group entitativity and similarity: Their differing patterns in perceptions of groups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 1212-1230.

2009 - Petrocelli, J. V., & Sherman, S. J. Event detail and confidence in gambling: The role of counterfactual thought reactions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 61-72.

2009 - Percy, E. J., Sherman, S. J., Garcia-Marques, L., Mata, A., & Garcia-Marques, T. Cognition and native language grammar: The organizational role of adjective-noun word order in information representation. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 16, 1037-1042.

2009 - Hamilton, D. L., Sherman, S. J., Crump, S. A., & Spencer-Rodgers, J. The role of entitativity in stereotyping: Processes and parameters. In T. D. Nelson (Ed.), Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination (pp. 179-198). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

2009 - Sherman, J. W., Kruschke, J. K., Sherman, S. J., Percy, E. T., Petrocelli, J. V., & Conrey,F. R. Attentional processes in stereotype formation: A common model for category accentuation and illusory correlation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 305- 323.

2008 - Novick, L. R., & Sherman, S. J. The effects of superficial and structural information on on-line problem solving for good versus poor anagram solvers. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 1098-1120.

2008 - McCrea, S. M., Liberman, N., Trope, Y., & Sherman, S. J. Construal level and procrastination. Psychological Science, 19, 1308-1314.

2007 - Sherman, S. J., & Hoffmann, J. L. The psychology and law of voluntary manslaughter. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 20, 499-519.

2007 - Rose, J. S., Chassin, L., Presson, C., Sherman, S. J., Stein, M. D., & Col, N. A latent class typology of young women smokers. Addiction, 102, 1310-1319.

2007 - Kay, A. C., Jost, J. T., Mandisodza, A. N., Sherman, S. J., Petrocelli, J. V., & Johnson, A. L. Panglossian ideology in the service of system justification: How complementary stereotypes help us to rationalize inequality. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 305-358.

2007 - Chassin, L., Presson, C. C., Rose, J., & Sherman, S. J. What is addiction? Age-related differences in the meaning of addiction. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 7, 30-38.

2007 - Chassin, L., Presson, C., Morgan-Lopez, A., & Sherman, S. J. “Deviance proneness” and adolescent smoking 1980 vs. 2001: Has there been a “hardening” of adolescent smoking? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 264-276.

2007 - Spencer-Rodgers, J., Hamilton, D. L., & Sherman, S. J. The central role of entitativity in stereotypes of social categories and task groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 369-388.

2007 - Liberman, N., Trope, Y., McCrea, S. M., & Sherman, S. J. The effect of level of construal on the temporal distance of activity enactment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 143-149.

2006 - Ferreira, M. B., Garcia-Marques, L., Sherman, S. J., & Sherman, J. W. (2006). Automatic and controlled components of judgment and decision making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 7997-813.

2006 - Krosnick, J. A., Chang, L., Sherman, S. J., Chassin, L., & Presson, C. (2006). The effects of beliefs about the health consequences of cigarette smoking on smoking onset. Journal of Communication, 56, S18-S37.

2006 - Johnson, A. L., Crawford, M. T., Sherman, S. J., Rutchick, A. M., Hamilton, D. L., Ferreira, M., & Petrocelli, J. V. (2006). A functional perspective on group memberships: Differential need fulfillment in a group typology. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 707-719.

2006 - Scholten, M., & Sherman, S. J. Tradeoffs and conflict: The double-mediation model. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 237-261.

2006 - Lickel, B., Rutchick, A., Hamilton, D. L., & Sherman, S. J. Intuitive theories of group types and relational principles. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 28-39.

2005 - Castelli, L., Zecchini, A., De Amicis, L., & Sherman, S. J. The impact of implicit prejudice about the elderly on the reaction to stereotype confirmation and disconfirmation. Current Psychology, 24, 134-146.

2005 - Chassin, L., Presson, C. C., & Sherman, S. J. Adolescent cigarette smoking: A commentary and issues for pediatric psychology. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 30, 299-303.

2005 - Chassin, L., Presson, C. C., Rose, J., Sherman, S. J., Davis, M. J., & Gonzalez, J. L. Parental style and smoking-specific parenting practices as predictors of adolescent smoking onset. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 30, 333-344.

2005 - Sherman, S. J. A psychologist’s perspective on capital juries. Indiana Law Review, 80, 47-67.

2003 - Sherman, S. J., & Johnson, A. L. Perceiving groups: How, what, and why? In G. V. Bodenhausen & A. J. Lambert (Eds.), Foundations of social cognition: A Festschrift in honor of Robert S. Wyer, Jr (pp. 155-180). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

2002 - Crawford, M.T., Sherman, S.J., & Hamilton, D.L. Perceived entitativity, stereotype formation, and the interchangeability of group members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1076-1094.

2000 - Lickel, B., Hamilton, D. L., Wieczorkowska, G., Lewis, A., Sherman, S. J., & Uhles, A.N. Varieties of groups and the perception of group entitativity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 223-246.

1999 - Sherman, S. J., Houston, D. A., & Eddy, D. Cancellation-and-focus: A feature matching model of choice. European Review of Social Psychology, 10, 169-197.

1999 - Sherman, S. J., Beike, D. R., & Ryalls, K. R. Dual-processing accounts of inconsistencies in responses to general versus specific cases. In S. Chaiken & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual process theories in social psychology (pp. 203-227). New York: Guilford.

1996 - Hamilton, D. L., & Sherman, S. J. Perceiving persons and groups. Psychological Review, 103, 336-355.

1995 - Houston, D. A., & Sherman, S. J. Cancellation and focus: The role of shared and unique features in the choice process. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 31, 357-378.

1994 - Beike, D. R., & Sherman, S. J. Social Inference: Inductions, deductions, and analogies. In R. S. Wyer & T. K. Srull (Eds.), Handbook of social cognition, Second Edition (Volume 1, pp. 209-285). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

1990 - Johnson, M. K., & Sherman, S. J. Constructing and reconstructing the past and the future in the present. In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (Volume 2, pp. 482-526). New York: Guilford Press.

1987 - Sherman, S. J. Cognitive processes in the formation, change, and expression of attitudes. In M. P. Zanna, J. M. Olson, & C. P. Herman (Eds.), Social influence: The Ontario Symposium, Volume 5 (pp. 95-106). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

1986 - Skov, R. B., & Sherman, S. J. Information-gathering processes: Diagnosticity, hypothesis confirmatory strategies, and perceived hypothesis confirmation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 22, 93-121.

1983 - Sherman, S. J., & Fazio, R. H. Parallels between attitudes and traits as predictors of behavior. Journal of Personality, 51, 308-345.

1980 - Sherman, S. J. On the self-erasing nature of errors of prediction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 211-221.