Spring 2020

Newsletter Editor: Manfred Schmitt (



  • Letter from the President
  • Obituary of Ronald L. Cohen
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship of Social Psychology/ Social Cognition at NYU Shanghai
  • Justice-Related Books
  • Recent Justice-Related Publications
  • ISJR Membership and Listserv


Letter from the President


Dear ISJR Members,


This year has ended up challenging us in ways that none of us expected as we all celebrated on the 31st of December last year. All of our members, regardless of country, have been hit in one way or another by COVID-19. To those of you who have been ill yourselves, who have cared for and comforted loved ones, and possibly even lost friends and family to the COVID virus, you have my deepest sympathy. Some of our members – particularly our post-graduate members – are also likely to have lost employment. And, undoubtedly, all of us have had our own research and teaching interrupted and challenged. I am among those who have had to make considerable changes to my working arrangements, but I consider myself to be deeply fortunate to be able to continue working and remain healthy. I do wish everyone well, and hope that each of you and your families remain healthy and secure over the coming months.


ISJR Conference


As you are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our Society most directly through the cancelling of our biennial conference. Although this decision may now seem to be one that would be rather easy to make, in light of the spread of the virus, it is one that neither the conference organizing team nor the ISJR Executive took lightly. We were all engaged in frequent communications over many weeks, monitoring national and international guidelines, examining ISJR policies, and considering costs to both our Society and our members. We made the right decision, but it was not an easy one to make. On behalf of the entire Executive, I want to thank David Patient and his conference-organizing team for their stellar work on the conference. We all know the enormous amount of work that goes into organizing conferences, and the relief that is felt when it is all over. David and his team have graciously agreed to postpone this relief and continue in their roles for another year, doing their best to ensure that ISJR 2020 will be ISJR 2020+1. I also want to thank individual ISJR members for their patience with us. Undoubtedly, many people purchased plane tickets, booked hotels, wrote papers, and eagerly anticipated the collegial and scholarly discourse for which our conferences are renowned. Our society exists of and for our members, so all of these factors were on our minds when we contemplated cancelling the conference. But so too was each member’s health and wellbeing.


Fortunately, David and his team have already set the new dates for our conference, which will be held on 6 – 9 July, 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal. I should say that, in setting these dates, I first contacted the presidents of ISPP, EASP, and ESPP in an attempt to coordinate next year’s conferences as best as possible. The next stage, too, of course, is to plan for the subsequent ISJR conference, which would normally be held in 2022. The role of identifying a conference organizer in our Society falls to the incoming president. I have been in close contact with our president-elect, Tyler Okimoto, and know he has been hard at work on this task. Unfortunately, his efforts here have also been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the uncertainty is leading people to be more cautious about agreeing to step in. I will certainly be lending my support to Tyler with this task. The question now facing us, of course, is whether to organize the subsequent conference for 2022 or simply maintain a two-year gap between conferences, and plan instead on 2023. My personal preference is to do all we can to plan on 2022, as this will also allow the presidential terms of our Society to coincide with our conferences. We will keep you informed.


ISJR Executive


Of course, I should also send out another congratulations to Tyler Okimoto for being elected as our next president. I have known and worked with Tyler for many years now, and believe he embodies the very attributes of our broader membership: he is extremely scholarly and extremely friendly! Congratulations, Tyler. Our Society is in good hands. As for the other ISJR roles, our policies stipulate that the Treasurer and Secretary are to be voted in during our conference AGMs. In light of the cancellation of our 2020 conference, Elizabeth Mullen and Thomas Schlösser have agreed at my request to continue in their current roles. Manfred Schmitt has also agreed to continue for another year in his role as our Newsletter editor and EC member in charge of filing the taxes of our Society to the German tax office. I want to thank each of them for their outstanding and continued hard work on behalf of our Society. Finally, I want to acknowledge and thank the one person whose work is typically behind the scenes: our Society’s webmaster, Anette Weidler.


ISJR COVID-19 Research Grants


The ISJR Executive has also been involved in several other activities. First, as everyone is aware, we have instituted our Society’s first offering of research funding to support justice-related research in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no question the pandemic is creating a variety of justice-related challenges, including inequities in medical care and employment, and enhanced opportunities for the expression of intergroup enmity. We received a total of eight applications, which were reviewed by a Committee of five people comprised of me (as ISJR President), Elizabeth Mullen (ISJR Treasurer), Thomas Schlösser (ISJR Secretary), Tyler Okimoto (ISJR President-Elect), and Linda Skitka (ISJR member not currently on the Executive). On behalf of the Committee, I want to thank all applicants for their efforts in submitting an application, and for their continued support for ISJR. We were all impressed with the proposals, and were all enthusiastic about the possibilities of what the work could reveal. The dedication of all applicants to the study of social justice, and their willingness to direct their own work to help understand and solve some of the injustices we are all experiencing in the context of COVID-19 was inspirational. Ultimately, our rankings were of worthy research in the context of limited funds. I am happy to announce the following successful applications, and look forward to learning results of their research:


Research Group Title of Research

Krystyna Adamska (University of Gdansk, Poland),
Małgorzata Grabus (Sopot University of Applied Sciences, Poland) & Diana Sendlak Brundin (Halmstad University, Sweden)


Compliance with the Restrictions and Punitiveness in Times of the Pandemic: The Role of Egalitarian Culture





Mario Gollwitzer (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany), Zoe Magraw-Mickelson (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany), Gabrielle S. Adams (University of Virginia, USA), Marion Fortin (University of Toulouse 1, France), & Friederike Funk (NYU Shanghai, China)


Mapping Pro- and Anti-Social Behaviors During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Within-Person Behavioral Polarization and the Role of Moral Expansiveness






Gabriel Nudelman (The Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo, Israel), Kathleen Otto (Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany), & Shanmukh V. Kamble (Karnatak University, Dharwad, India)

The Effect of Just-World Beliefs on COVID-19 Risk Perceptions, on Behaviors to Reduce Transmission, and on Well-Being.




ISJR Awards


Another task that has engaged the efforts of the Executive is the enjoyable – but very difficult – efforts to choose recipients of the ISJR Lifetime Achievement Award and ISJR Early Career Award. It is my personal pleasure to announce Norm Feather as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Norm has spent his career studying the psychology of achievement, values and justice (among other things). His work is always deeply conceived and well-articulated. He has been an active member of our Society well into his retirement. For those of us who know Norm personally, and have had a chance to work with him, we know him as a sincere but deeply modest man who has always been open and encouraging to the next generation of justice researchers. It is hard for me to conceive of a more deserving person for this award. In line with ISJR practice, Norm has been invited to speak at the 2021 conference. As for the Early Career Award, I cannot emphasize just how difficult this task was. The work of all members nominated for this award unquestionably puts me to shame. Each is deserving of recognition, high praise, and admiration. In the end, the Committee made the unusual but appropriate decision to offer two Early Career Awards this year, one to Jesse Graham and one to Anna Baumert. Each of these early career scholars has made outstanding theoretical and empirical contributions to justice research, and will undoubtedly continue to have substantial impact across our field. As with the Lifetime Achievement Award, both Jesse and Anna have been invited to speak at the 2021 conference. Congratulations to all of our award winners! Congratulations, too, to those who were nominated but were not final recipients of our awards. It was a great privilege for me to read each person’s CV and spend more time reading their published work. I hope to see everyone at our next conference.

ISJR Financial Statement

One final note is that the Executive will endeavour to provide members via e-mail with a financial statement of the Society that would normally be presented during the conference AGM.

Once again, I hope everyone remains well and in good fortune. And I hope to see you all in Portugal in 2021!

Michael Platow, ISJR President


Obituary of Ronald L. Cohen

Photo of Ron taken by Manfred Schmitt at the 2014 Conference of our Society in New York.
Photo of Ron taken by Manfred Schmitt at the 2014 Conference of our Society in New York.

Our esteemed and beloved justice colleague Professor Emeritus Ronald L. Cohen passed away on March 31, 2020. He was 75 years old.


Ron Cohen has been an essential part of our network for many years. In 1987 a small international group meeting on justice was held at Leiden, the Netherlands, subsequent to which Mel Lerner founded the journal Social Justice Research. Ron’s invited contribution to the inaugural issue gave a brilliant overview of the previous two decades of research on distributive justice. For 19 years Ron served as an Associate Editor of the journal. 


In 1997, primarily under the leadership of Leo Montada, the network of social scientific justice researchers morphed into an institutionalized association: The International Society for Justice Research (ISJR). Ron was one of ISJR’s nine founding members. Over the years, Ron participated in most ISJR conferences. He functioned as the ISJR On-Line Newsletter Editor for one year. 


In an era when many academics moved from university to university, Ron was bonded to one school: Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, USA. Bennington is well-known to most social scientists due to Theodore Newcomb's classic studies of political attitudes among women who attended the elite college in the 1930s and 1940s. Together with Ted Newcomb and Duane Alwin, Ron analyzed five decades of data, including some he had collected in the 1980s. The result was the 1991 book Political attitudes over the life-span: The Bennington women after fifty years (University of Wisconsin Press).


In fact, Ron moved to Bennington the year before he was granted his PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan. He moved to Bennington with his wife Judy whom he had met in 1968 in a police paddy-wagon following their arrests at a student demonstration. Judy and Ron, who married two months after meeting, were active members of the New University Conference (NUC), a radical political left organization that aimed to transform the university and society to align with principles of justice and freedom. Together, at the University of Michigan, Ron and Judy led a course on white racism. 


Ron taught some of the most popular classes at Bennington College. Students loved him and, more importantly, grew into themselves under his guidance. One of Ron's students, Lydia Brassard, now an anti-racist educator, reflected on her studies with Ron: "Being taken so seriously forced me to take myself and my thoughts seriously in a way that was intellectually and personally transformative". Another student of Ron's, Tugce Kurtis, who is now a social psychology professor, remembered Ron as a teacher who recognized the potential in every student and strived to bring out the best in each one. Ron's innovative teaching earned him a 2007 Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI).


Ron’s classes were profoundly interdisciplinary, famed for their eclectic and comprehensive reading lists. For instance, in one popular course called "SHHH! The Social Construction of Silence," Ron's reading list ranged from the cultural critic Susan Sontag, to sociologist Erving Goffman, to the Israeli psychologist Dan Bar-On. Ron's favorite classes to teach were transdisciplinary meditations on fundamental human problems, such as his popular class "Human Natures" which he co-taught with evolutionary biologists. One course, which he co-taught with a philosopher, examined bodily waste and the essence of disgust. 


Ron was not just a matinee idol. Working hard behind the scenes, Ron was known for his thoughtful, substantial, and lengthy comments on his students' papers. Ron's office door was always open to students, and he never stopped a conversation. In addition to his day-to-day role as a professor of social psychology, Ron served as the Dean of Studies (1973-1976), and the Dean of Faculty (1985-1991) at Bennington College.


As he himself noted, Ron's approach to teaching was in line with his Jewish heritage. Ron had been a red-diaper baby, born to a socialist Jewish family in Chicago. His parents were deeply involved in the leftist political resistance during the McCarthy era. In line with his heritage, Ron seasoned his teaching with a great deal of humor. He encouraged students to sharpen their thinking through questioning their common-sense assumptions and he told many stories that students were invited to interpret. 


Ron's commitment to justice stretched outside the research lab and the classroom to the local community of Bennington, Vermont. Ron was an active and dedicated member of the Center for Restorative Justice in Vermont. For ten years Ron was part of the restorative justice panel, in which members of the community met with offenders, discussed the consequences of their offenses, and negotiated just reparation to victims and community. 


Ron died of complications that arose from dementia. He was surrounded by his beloved and loving family. He is survived by Judy, his wife of 51 years; daughters Rebecca, Jessie (and spouse Allen Hutcheson) and Hannah (and spouse Haidi Arias); four granddaughters: Lily & Martha Hutcheson, and Mila & Remi Arias; his mother; and four siblings and their families.


Ron will be greatly missed by his many colleagues and friends. Our ISJR justice community is extremely saddened by this untimely and tragic loss of our warm-hearted, considerate, and humble colleague and friend. We salute Ronald L. Cohen and express gratitude to have known him and to have benefitted from the wisdom of his published works and from his hard and sustained behind-the-scenes labor, labor that has helped to make us the community that we are.


Ella ben Hagai, Department of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton.
Kjell Törnblom, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich.
Faye J Crosby, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz.


Postdoctoral Fellowship of Social Psychology/Social Cognition at NYU Shanghai

Job Description:


The Social Psychology research group at NYU Shanghai, led by Dr. Friederike Funk, invites applications for a full-time postdoctoral researcher position. The initial appointment is for one year (2020/21). The successful candidate will work on a new project funded by the NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development at NYU Shanghai, awarded to Dr. Friederike Funk (NYU Shanghai) and Dr. Ying Lu (NYU Steinhardt, New York), that will examine the cultural variability and gender specificity of criminal stereotypes using statistical face model approaches and other techniques. For more information about the position and the application process, please contact:




Required is a doctoral degree in psychology, preferably with a research focus in the fields of social psychology, legal psychology, justice research, cognitive psychology, or social cognition.
Experience in conducting psychological research in lab settings as well as in onlinesettings is required.


Successful candidates should know the scientific literature on spontaneous impressions from faces, person perception, and stereotypes and should be interested in interdisciplinary applications. They should demonstrate the ability to analyze complex data (e.g., repeated measures ANOVA, multilevel modeling) using statistical software package R and/or SPSS, and the willingness to learn new methods using various software (e.g. for the sake of developing statistical face models). They should be fluent in English and demonstrate interpersonal and intercultural communication skills both to work in an international environment and to interact with local (Chinese) research participants. Candidates need to demonstrate intellectual independence and self-management skills that allow them to coordinate research projects with other team members.


Justice-Related Books

Van den Bos, K. (2020). Empirical legal research: A primer. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.



Empirical Legal Research: A Primer is a great book. It makes clear that doing empirical research is important, enriching and fun. It explains in a very simple, clear and effective way how to set up and carry out such research and what part of empirical research you can carry out yourself and when you need the help of an expert. If I had never done any empirical legal research myself, I'm sure that I would want to start immediately after reading this book.
Bert Marseille, University of Groningen, the Netherlands


This textbook provides law students, legal scholars and practicing lawyers with a broad and easily accessible introduction to empirical methods for legal research. Even the most math phobic will profit from this textbook which makes it easy and painless to become an informed consumer and an enthusiastic practitioner of empirical research projects in law.
Tom Tyler, Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology, Yale University


Empirical Legal Research: A Primer is a wonderful introduction to, and continuing reference for, the use of empirical methods to study legal issues.  At a time when policy research, evidence-based legal process, and fact-based input into legal decisions are becoming more and more important, this book is a valuable resource for law students, legal scholars, practicing lawyers, and policy makers.  The book is accessible and interesting—I recommend it!
Allan Lind

This textbook is a very accessible and practical guide to empirical legal research. The non-technical explanations of interviews, surveys and experiments make it easy to understand the pros and cons of each method and to know when to use them. It will be perfect as a textbook in an interdisciplinary methods course for law students.
Sanne Taekema, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Recent Justice-Related Publications of ISJR Members

Baumert, A., Maltese, S., Reis, D., MacLeod, C., Tan-Mansukhani, R., Galang, A. J. R., Salanga, M. G. C., & Schmitt, M. (in press). A Cross-cultural study of justice sensitivity and its consequences for cooperation. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12, 1-9 (online first;


Jasso, G. (2019). Distributive Justice. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Second Edition. Oxford, UK: Wiley Blackell.


Jasso, G. (2019). Factorial Survey. In P. A. Atkinson, S. Delamont, & R- Williams (Eds.), Sage Encyclopedia of Research Methods. London, UK: Sage Publications.


Jasso, G. (in press). New Results Linking Inequality and Justice. Journal of Mathematical Sociology. Prepublished 26 March 2020. .


Jasso, G. (in press). Is and Ought: From Ideas to Theory to Empirics. In A. M. Bauer, & M. I. Meyerhuber (Eds.), Empirical Research and Normative Theory (pp. 105-127). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.


Konow, J. (2019). Can Ethics Instruction Make Economics Students More Pro-social? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 166, 724-734.


Konow, J. (2020). Is Fairness in the Eye of the Beholder? An Impartial Spectator Analysis of Justice. In A. M. Bauer & M. Meyerhuber (Eds.), Empirical Research and Normative Theory (pp. 237-271). Berlin: De Gruyter.



Konow, J., Tatsuyoshi S., & Akai, K. (in press). Equity versus Equality: Spectators, Stakeholders and Groups. Journal of Economic Psychology.


Nudelman, G., & Otto, K. (2020). Personal Belief in a Just World and Conscientiousness: A metaanalysis, facetlevel examination, and mediation model. British Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/bjop.12438


Van den Bos, K. (2020). Injustice and violent extremism: Methodological directions for future justice research. In E. A. Lind (Ed.), Social psychology and justice (pp. 162-180). New York: Routledge.


Van den Bos, K. (2020). Unfairness and radicalization. Annual Review of Psychology, 71, 563-588.


Van den Bos, K. (2020). Empirical legal research: A primer. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.


Van den Bos, K., Schiffelers, M.-J., Bal, M., Grootelaar, H., Bertram, I., Jansma, A., & De Haas, S. (2020). Seksueel misbruik en aangiftebereidheid binnen de gemeenschap van Jehovaâs getuigen [Sexual abuse and willingness to report sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesss community]. The Hague: Ministry of Justice and Safety.


Vargas-Salfate, S., Paez, D., Oriol, X., Gondim, S., da Costa, S., & Techio, E. (2020).Nationalistic collective rituals, intergroup relations, and legitimation of national social systems. International Review of Social Psychology, 33(1), 1. doi: 10.5334/irsp.291

ISJR Membership and Listserv

You are not a member and would like to join ISJR? Please go to our website to the "Membership" tab: and click "Become a member.”




As a member you will be automatically subscribed to the ISJR listserv. Otherwise, to subscribe to the ISJR listserv, go to:




If you are already a member of ISJR, please make sure you renew your membership and keep your membership details updated (in particular your email!):




For further information, please email to: