The Situationist

A New Situationist Contributor – Thomas Blass

Posted by The Situationist Staff on November 6, 2011

We are thrilled to introduce a new Situationist Contributor, Dr. Thomas Blass.

Thomas Blass is an internationally acclaimed social psychologist and the recognized expert on obedience to authority as well as, more broadly, the research and legacy of Stanley Milgram. A Holocaust survivor born in Budapest, Hungary during World War II, Dr. Blass was a child when the Nazis occupied his country in 1944 and murdered 550,000 of his fellow Hungarian Jews (nearly 70%).

Although many of his relatives had been deported to, and murdered in Auschwitz and elsewhere, Dr. Blass survived the war. Subsequently, he left Hungary together with his mother. After spending a couple of years in a displaced persons camp near Salzburg, Austria, they emigrated to Toronto, Canada where Dr. Blass spent part of his childhood.  He relocated to the United States for his secondary and higher education and stayed on to make it his permanent home.

He received his B.A. in mathematics and Ph.D. in social psychology from Yeshiva University in New York and then held research positions at the University of Maryland Psychiatric Institute, Sheppard-Pratt Hospital, and Downstate Medical Center. For most of his career he has been at the Department of Psychology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he is currently a Professor of Psychology.

Although over the years he has had a variety of research interests, for the last 20 years his energies have been focused primarily on in-depth research on the life and work of Stanley Milgram, resulting in over 20 publications and an equal number of papers presented at professional conferences. He has created and taught, since 1987, a course on the social psychology of Stanley Milgram. Click here to view Dr. Blass’s Milgram-related publications.

He is the author of the first and only biography about Milgram, and he was awarded the J.R. Kantor Fellowship by the Archives of the History of American Psychology for the 1998-1999 year for his research for the biography. At its annual convention in 2001, the American Psychological Association honored him for his work on Milgram by asking him to give one of the annual prestigious G. Stanley Hall lectures.

He has recently been elected to Fellow status by the American Psychological Association in recognition of his “outstanding contribution in the field of psychology [which] is certainly enhanced by your diligent work and commitment, and the public is better served.” He is on the Editorial Board of the journal, Social Influence.

His two latest books — The Man Who Shocked the World and The Individual in a Social World — are pictured in the right margin of the blog.

Click here to go to Thomas Blass’s university webpage.


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