Craig Anderson grew up on a small family farm in northern Indiana. In his senior year he was named his high school’s Athelete of the Year and the region’s Kiwanis Club Athelete of the Year (following in his brother’s footsteps, the only siblings to have won this award). He graduated as the co-valedictorian. After graduating from high school he joined the US Army Reserve. He received his BA in psychology and sociology from Butler University in 1976. His MA in psychology from Stanford University was awarded in 1978; Lee Ross was his MA advisor. He received his PhD in psychology from Stanford University in 1980, with J. Merrill Carlsmith serving as his dissertation advisor.
Professor Anderson was an Assistant (1980-1985) and Associate (1985-1988) Professor at Rice University, and a Visiting Professor at Ohio State (1984-1985). He joined the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1988 and became Full Professor there in 1992. He has served on Faculty Councils at Rice (1987-1988) and at Missouri (1995-1996). He also served as Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Psychology at Missouri from 1988-1996, and as Director of Graduate Admissions from 1988-1991. He was Faculty Advisor to Psi Chi (1991-1996) and to the Graduate Association of Students in Psychology (1992-1996). He also served as President, and incorporated the Stephen’s Elementary Parents’ Organization, 1994-1995.
He joined the Iowa State University faculty in 1999, as Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology. In 2004, Professor Anderson was presented with the “Iowa State University Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research.” In 2005, he was awarded the title “Distinguished Professor,” the highest faculty honour given by Iowa State University. He served six years as Department Chair, completing his term in 2005.
In 2007, he founded the Centre for the Study of Violence, and currently serves as its Director.
Anderson’s main research interests are in social and personality psychology, with a strong emphasis on cognitive psychology. Most of his current research focuses on aggression. Most of that research focuses on the potentially harmful effects of exposure to violent video games. Other aggression research under way in his lab includes work on jealousy, attribution and appraisal processes, temperature effects, and effects of violent media of various types. For example, Anderson and his colleagues have shown that hot temperatures increase aggressive behaviour under some circumstances, in both laboratory and field settings. This research has also shown that global warming will likely produce substantial increases in violent crime. Other research has shown how life experiences influence the way people think about guns, which in turn influences the effects of weapon primes on aggressive thoughts and behaviour. Still other research has shown that men who are prone to sexual aggression against women also tend to behave more aggressively against women in non-sexual ways, and that they specifically target women rather than other men.
Credits to Iowa State University
Published: 29 March 2014
Last update: 07 March 2015