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Connecting the dots: Mobilizing theory to reveal the big picture in social psychology (and why we should do this)


Correspondence to: Naomi Ellemers, Social and Organizational Psychology Department, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands.



During the past 20 years, practices in social psychology have drifted toward the publication of brief research reports as the main outlet for empirical findings, resulting in an exponential increase of the number of publications in our field. Recent developments questioning the reliability of these findings have increased the focus on (methodological) details and have prompted efforts to establish the robustness of isolated phenomena. Both types of developments carry the danger of impeding rather than promoting progress in the field. We can only build a cumulative knowledge base when we succeed in connecting these dots. Developing and examining broader theories about psychological processes and their implications can help connect different insights and elucidate their further implications in a way that can be used and understood within and beyond the boundaries of our discipline. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.