Episode 51: Elliot Spitzer’s Wife: Hero or Victim?

MichaelSocial Psychology2 Comments

This past week it seems like people have been talking as much about Elliot Spitzer as they have about his wife Silda. In fact, emotions may be running higher about her behavior than about his. Why did she stand by and support him when it appears that he clearly betrayed her trust? Aside from gossip, what’s the tie-in to theories in psychology? Would you believe that the “Covariation Principle” can be applied to this and many similar situations where we are trying to figure out why people do what they do? Have a listen and learn how we use consensus, consistency and distinctiveness information to make important decisions.


Resources on the Covariation Principle

  • Here’s an excellent explanation of the covariation principle works. This is from a site called “CROW – Course Resources on the Web” which has lots of excellent resources on psychology.


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2 Comments on “Episode 51: Elliot Spitzer’s Wife: Hero or Victim?”

  1. Hey Michael from a big fan in Scotland! I have been wondering if you knew of any experiments which back up the covariation model? Im having a wee bit of trouble figuring out how it could be done.

  2. Paul,

    Thanks for the comment. Well, let’s see. It does look like most of the research on Kelly’s covariation model is old (1980s). I did find one recent article here:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-8309.1996.tb01081.x/abstract

    I’ll keep my eye out for more, but yea, this isn’t a lively area for research any more. But I wouldn’t interpret that as a sign that people don’t think there’s a lot to the theory. I think most psychologists wouldn’t argue with what Kelly says about covariation. It’s just not a “hot topic” any more.
    Hope this is helpful and thanks again!

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