Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology

Extremism and the Psychology of Uncertainty

Sunday, April 6, 2008
symposium poster

The 2008 Claremont Applied Social Psychology Symposium was an outstanding, sold-out success.  This day-long event addressed the relationship between uncertainty and extremism, asking whether and how feelings of uncertainty about oneself, the future, and the world we live in, may contribute to forms of extremism, for example zealotry, ideological orthodoxy, religious fundamentalism, hate crimes, delinquency, cults, drug abuse, genocide, and terrorism. Around a social psychology core, the symposium took a broad perspective with contributions from general psychology, sociology, the study of leadership, developmental psychology and the study of religion. Associated with the symposium, there will be a book in the Claremont Applied Social Psychology Series, published by Blackwell.


Albrecht Auditorium
Claremont Graduate University
925 N. Dartmouth Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711

The Symposium on Applied Social Psychology is hosted on the Claremont Graduate University campus in beautiful Claremont, Southern California.

Schedule of Speakers

8:30 – 9:00 amz
Check-In and Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:10
Michael Hogg
Claremont Graduate University
Opening Remarks

9:10 –9:45
Fathali Moghaddam

Georgetown University
Collective uncertainty, catastrophic evolution, and Islamic terrorism

9:45 – 10:20
Ian McGregor

York University, Canada
Religious zeal after goal frustration

10:20 – 10:55
Jennifer Merolla

Claremont Graduate University
Authoritarian attitudes in times of threat

10:55 – 11:15 Morning Break

11:15 – 11:50
Arie Kruglanski

University of Maryland, College Park
The need for certainty as a psychological nexus for individuals and society

11:50 – 12:25
Kees van den Bos
Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Radical worldview defense in reaction to personal uncertainty

12:25 – 1:55 Lunch Break
Maps to local dining options will be provided.

1:55 – 2:30
Dominic Abrams

University of Kent, United Kingdom
The defiance and defense of group norms: Why extremism is the bread and butter of social life

2:30 – 3:05
Todd Pittinsky

Harvard University
Contrasting effects of social consensus certainty on the extreme acts of allophiliacs and bigots

3:05 – 3:25 Afternoon Break

3:25 – 4:00
Jason Siegel
Claremont Graduate University
Dying to be popular: Adolescents – why do they go to extremes?

4:00 – 4:35
Ervin Staub
University of Massachusetts
Uncertainty as a source of mass violence: Genocide, terrorism and passive and active bystanders

4:35 – 4:45
Michael Hogg
Claremont Graduate University
Closing Remarks

4:45 – 6:00 Wine and Cheese Reception with the Speakers

For additional information, call the Claremont Graduate University Psychology Department at (909) 607-9016 or e-mail


Special arrangements may be made for guests with disabilities or other needs at any of our events by simply informing our staff in advance.

Conference Planning Committee

Michael Hogg
Professor of Social Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
Danielle Blaylock
Doctoral Student, Claremont Graduate University
Paul Thomas
DBOS Director of External Affairs, Claremont Graduate University