Jim Blascovich

James Blascovich

Distinguished Professor Emeritus/Research Professor

Advisor Status:
Not accepting graduate applications

Research Area

Social Psychology


Professor of Psychology. Jim earned his B.S. in psychology at Loyola University of Chicago (1968) and Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno (1972). He held academic positions at the University of Nevada, Reno (72-73), Marquette University (73-80), and SUNY at Buffalo (80-95) before coming to UCSB. He directs the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior. Jim is a past President of both the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc (Div. 8 of APA), and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

He is a Member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, a Charter Fellow of the American Psychological Society, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He was a recipient of the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize in 2007. He was a awarded the Inaugural Australasian Social Psychology Society/Society of Personality and Social Psychology Teaching Fellowship (2002), and Erskine Fellowship (2005) at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has served on several National Research Council panels and numerous editorial boards. His research has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for more than 20 years and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Laboratory, and other agencies.


Jim Blascovich’s two major research interests are social motivation, and social influence within technologically mediated environments. Relevant to the former, he has developed a biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat. He has validated patterns of cardiovascular responses as markers of challenge and threat using them along with subjective and behavioral measures in empirical investigations guided by his theoretical model. He has applied his model to various social phenomena including intraindividual processes such as attitudes and dispositions as well as interindividual processes such as stigma, stereotypes, social comparison, and social facilitation. Jim is also co-Director of the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior with Jack Loomis, a perceptual scientist in the department. He uses immersive virtual environment technology to empirically investigate social influence processes within virtual environments including conformity, non-verbal communication, collaborative decision-making and leadership. This work is guided by his formal model of social influence within immersive virtual environments.

Selected Publications

Blascovich, J. & Bailenson, J. (2011). Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Words and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution. New York: Morrow.

Blascovich, J., Mendes, W.B., Vanman, E. & Dickerson, S. (2011). Social Psychophysiology for Social and Personality Psychology. London: Sage.

Allen, K. M., Blascovich, J., & Mendes, W.B. (2002) Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The Truth about Cats and Dogs. Psychosomatic Medicine64, 727-739.

Bailenson, J., Beall, A.C., Loomis, J., Blascovich, J., & Turk, M.C. (2004). Transformed social interaction: Decoupling representation from behavior and form in collaborative virtual environments. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments13, 428-441.

Blascovich, J., Loomis, J., Beall, A., Swinth, K., Hoyt, C., & Bailenson, J. (2002). Immersive virtual environment technology as a research tool for social psychology. Psychological Inquiry13, 103-125.

Blascovich, J., & Mendes, W.B. (2010.). Social Psychophysiology and Embodiment. Handbook of Social Psychology, 5th Edition. New York: Wiley.

Blascovich, J. Mendes, W. B., Hunter, S.B. & Lickel, B. , & Kowai-Bell, N. (2001). Perceiver threat in social interactions with stigmatized others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology80, 253-267.

Blascovich, J., Seery, M., Mugridge, C., Weisbuch, M., & Norris, K. (2004). Predicting athletic performance from cardiovascular indicators of challenge and threat. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology40, 683-688.

Blascovich, J., Spencer, S., Quinn, D., & Steele, C. (2001). African-Americans and high blood pressure: The role of stereotype threat. Psychological Science12, 225-229.

Mendes, W.B., Blascovich, J., Lickel, B., & Hunter, S. (2002). Challenge and threat during interactions with White and Black men. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin28, 939-952.

Mendes, W. B., Reis, H.T., Seery, M., & Blascovich, J. (2003). Cardiovascular correlates of emotional disclosure and suppression: Do content and gender context matter. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology84, 771-792.