Gary S. Gregg
Professor of Psychology
Kalamazoo College

Personality and Identity

       My research concerns the development and organization of what Erik Erikson termed "psycho-social identity," and how it integrates personality.  I mainly use "study-of-lives" interview methods first developed by Henry Murray and his colleagues, combined with narrative analysis strategies drawn from anthropology, socio-linguistics, and literary theory.  These interviews typically run eight to 20 hours with each person, consisting of 80 to 150 "story segments" in which self-representations and linkages of emotion and cognition can be studied in detail.  For a summary of my theory of self-representation, continue here.

Culture and Identity in Morocco

       In the late 1980s I conducted extensive "study of lives" interviews with young adults living in villages and small towns in the Ouarzazate province of southern Morocco.  This study used the same methodology I employed to elicit life-narratives from young adult Americans, and seeks to evaluate the model of identity I proposed in Self Representation.  In particular, I sought to identify psychological characteristics that appear to be "universal" (or at least shared by Americans and Moroccans), and that appear to be distinctive of southern Morocco's variant of Arab-Muslim culture.  For an overview of my Culture and Identity in a Muslim Society, go here.


Psychological Studies of Arab-Muslim Societies      Since returning from fieldwork in Morocco in 1988, I have been reviewing and synthesizing psychological writings on Arab-Muslim Societies -- especially those by Middle Eastern and North African scholars, and those published in Arabic.  My The Middle East:  A Cultural Psychology (Oxford, 2005) presents this work via a life-span development approach.  For an overview, go here.

Psychology of Modernization and Underdevelopment





     Using studies of Arab-Muslim Societies as a foundation, I am beginning a comparative investigation of psychological aspects of modernization and underdevelopment, focusing especially on the emergence of strong "religious revitalization," "fundamentalist," and "authoritarian" movements in some societies (e.g., Germany, Japan, the Middle East).  Theoretically it draws on work by Alex Inkeles, Gunnar Frank, Immanual Wallerstein, Hisham Sharabi, Mustafa Hijazi, Benjamin Barber, and the convergence of concepts from Amartya Sen, Axel Honneth, and recent models from social epidemiology.

Social Values of the "Millenial" Generation












      I recently began a pilot study of the religious, political, and personal values of American 18 to 24 year olds.  While nearly all of these approaches rely on questionnaire and survey responses, my students and I are currently conducting a roughly 2 1/2-hour (two-part) semi-structured interview with college students that explores their religious, political, and personal beliefs.  We are seeking to understand both (1) the psychological organization of ideology, and (2) how the rising "millenial" generation is thinking about the new world they are beginning to inhabit as adults, especially vis-a-vis globalization, climate change, "terrorism," and economic-cultural trends in American society.

     The last 15 years has seen a renewal of interest in the psychology of ideology, and the publication of interesting new theories -- including George Lakoff on the role of familial metaphors in organizing the liberal and conservative world-views, studies of "right wing authoritarianism" and "social dominance orientation" by Bob Altemeyer and Jim Sidanius, Jonathan Haidt's claim that evolution has hard-wired five core "moral imperatives," and John Jost's cross-cultural studies of "conservatism."  The study will evaluate these models along with classic theories, including those by Phillip Converse and Robert Lane.