Jerry’s research has made a significant contribution to the field of personality and social psychology. He has published more than 100 articles, chapters and books during his career. One analysis identified him as among the most prolific researchers in his field between 1980 and 1989, the first decade of his career. That investigation found that he was decade’s fourth most published scholar in social psychology’s most prestigious journals. Jerry’s publications include a pair of books that summarize two programs of his research, Desire for Control: Personality, Social, and Clinical Perspectives (Plenum, 1992) and Returning Home: Connecting with Our Childhoods (Rowman-Littlefield, 2011). He also is the sole author of a best-selling college textbook, Personality (Sage, 2023), now in its eleventh edition.
Jerry’s research has received a significant amount of recognition within academia. In January 2009, American Psychologist (the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association) took the unprecedented step of devoting an entire issue to his research on obedience and comments about his research. Jerry has been awarded Fellow status by the American Psychological Association and by the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.
Jerry’s scholarship has also been widely recognized outside of academia. His research on obedience to authority was the subject of an hour-long broadcast on ABC News’ Primetime. That research was the subject of a New York Times editorial, and newspaper articles about the work have been listed among the most widely read and most frequently forwarded stories of the year. His research also has been the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary, How Evil Are You? Jerry has given numerous presentations to academic and nonacademic groups, including an invited address before the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, at the 2012 conference on “Living Memories of the Holocaust in Contemporary Society.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from California State University, Fresno, Jerry studied at the University of Missouri where he received his PhD in social psychology. From there, he was a professor of psychology at Wake Forest University and Santa Clara University.