American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
July/August 2017

Brashears and Simpson Will Edit Social Psychology Quarterly

Dawn T. Robinson, University of Georgia

Matthew Brashears

Matthew Brashears

One of our discipline’s oldest journals, Social Psychology Quarterly (SPQ), launched in 1937, one year after American Sociological Review (although the American Sociological Association did not take over the journal until 1955). SPQ was the first ASA journal to have co-editors, paving the way for the current trend of editorial teams among ASA journals. This summer, the stewardship of SPQ transitions to a new dynamic duo, Matthew E. Brashears and Brent Simpson. Brashears and Simpson will become the 25th editor(s)-in-chief of the journal. This editorial transition will take the journal to the University of South Carolina, a powerhouse in the subfield of social psychology for decades.


Matthew E. Brashears

Matt Brashears received his PhD from the University of Arizona in 2008 and spent time on faculty at Cornell University before taking a position as Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina. Matt’s research focuses on the ecological and psychological processes that connect individuals and collective dynamics. His current research focuses on linking cognition to social network structure, in particular, the effects of error and error correction on network diffusion. He is also interested in covert social networks – because, who isn’t? He is particularly well known for addressing some burning questions: are American’s social circles really shrinking, why, and how do we know? This is the kind of catchy work that has gotten several of Matt’s published papers covered all over print and broadcast media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox News, and ABC. His research has been supported by numerous grants from Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. Matt is truly an impressive scholar, churning out high-impact research that appears in an array of highly visible journals, including Nature Scientific Reports, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Networks, Journal of Mathematical Sociology, Sociological Science, and Social Psychology Quarterly.

Brent Simpson

Brent Simpson

Brent Simpson

Brent received his PhD from Cornell University in 2001 and spent a year at Texas A&M University before relocating to the University of South Carolina where he is now Professor of Sociology. Brent has also spent time on super cool visiting stints at University of Oxford and Stockholm University. Brent studies altruism, cooperation, collective action, and social networks. He is especially well known for his rigorous work on the foundations of moral behavior — and especially behavior social dilemmas. Brent is a truly extraordinary scholar who has published nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received nine separate grants from the National Science Foundation. Brent’s work appears in Nature Scientific Reports, American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Sociological Methods & Research, Social Forces, and, of course, Social Psychology Quarterly.

Brent knows how to write a research article. His previous research has been honored by the Coleman Prize from the ASA Rationality and Society Section of the ASA, the Junior Scholar Competition of the Conference on Social Networks and Social Capital, the Outstanding Article Award by the Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section of the ASA. He also knows how to review an article. He’s served as a regular reviewer for more than 20 journals and presses and currently serves as a consulting editor for Sociological Science.

The Team and Their Plans

Matt and Brent are both central players in the field and have a deep familiarity with the publishing and editing process. Together, they have served on five editorial boards and reviewed for dozens of journals and presses. Brent is the incoming Chair-elect of the ASA Social Psychology Section and Matt is in the middle of a term on the section’s Council. There is no doubt that they have what it takes to shoulder this important task.

The subfield of sociological social psychology is every bit as methodologically and substantively diverse as the larger field of sociology—posing a daunting challenge for any particular set of editors. Matt and Brent plan to tackle these challenges with their dream team, including a soon-to-be-announced Deputy Editor whose skills include deep expertise in qualitative and interpretive social psychology. Their dream team consists of individuals who can widen their combined knowledge base and social networks and ensure continued representation across the methodologically diverse field of sociological social psychology.

Besides the all-important task of designing the new cover for the journal, Matt and Brent have bigger designs on their mind. Their plans for stewardship of SPQ include building on the momentum already developed by the stellar previous editorships, including the current editors, Richard Serpe and Jan Stets. They plan to continue the efforts of previous editorial teams to further streamline and accelerate the review and decision-making process. In addition, they plan to develop new guidance for reviewers to further reduce uncertainty at various stages of the review process. They hope to encourage submissions from a wider circle of sociologists and scholars across the globe and to adopt a more proactive stance toward publicizing research appearing within the pages of SPQ. Matt and Brent plant to continue the publishing popular research note format for publishing pithy contributions and encouraging the use of online supplements. Moreover, they want to move SPQ to the forefront of the movement for research responsibility and replicability by encouraging data deposits as well as the sharing of procedures, methods, robustness checks, code, and other information useful for reproduction and replication of empirical findings. In short, they want to make sure that the journal is in top shape for its next 80 years. Sociology’s premier journal in social psychology could not be in better hands.