Nicholas DiFonzo Headshot

Nicholas DiFonzo

Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts

Office Location

Nicholas DiFonzo

Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts


AB, Lafayette College; MA, Rider College; MA, Ph.D., Temple University


Nicholas DiFonzo, Ph.D. (Temple University, 1994) is Professor of Psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology. He has published over 50 articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries and technical reports on rumor. His books include Rumor Psychology: Social & Organizational Approaches (written with Prashant Bordia), and The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors. He has been interviewed by numerous radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, and online media, including Talk of The Nation, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2005 he received a major grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how rumors self-organize within networks structures. He has also received funding from the Institute for Public Relations to study corporate rumors, their effects, and how top corporate public relations officers handle them. Dr. DiFonzo has served as expert trial witness for corporations and government entities on the topics involving derogatory workplace rumors, malicious product rumors, and slanderous conspiracy rumors. Most recently, he has focused on the topics of rumor accuracy and on interpersonal forgiveness.


College of Liberal Arts Sponsored Research Support Program Faculty Research Associate, 2012-2014


Areas of Expertise
Social psychology

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
This course will provide a survey of the emerging field of Positive Psychology. Topics covered will include defining and assessing “the good life”; the relationships between life satisfaction and personal factors such as wealth, education, and longevity; cross-cultural perspectives; virtues and strengths; and biological factors (i.e., genetics and neurological correlates). The focus will be on contemporary empirical psychology literature, though the course will also draw on literature from historical, philosophical, and economic disciplines.
3 Credits
This course explores topics related to behaviors and mental processes of individuals in social situations. Topics include: methodology, social perception, social cognition, the self, attitudes, prejudice, attraction, social influence, pro-social behavior, aggression, and behavior in groups. Course activities include lecture, class demonstrations, and assignments.
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the psychology major to integrate material covered in earlier courses and examine broad topics in Psychology. The specific topics covered will vary from semester to semester. This course is an opportunity for faculty and students to examine issues that transcend sub-disciplines in psychology. Students will read original research and examine influential theories relevant to the topic.
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the social track. This course explores social psychological phenomena at the level of the group. It explores intragroup processes such as cohesion, norms, network structure, social influence, task productivity, group decision making and polarization. It also explores intergroup processes, especially those related to intergroup conflict and cooperation, such as social categorization, social identity, and stereotyping.
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the psychology major to demonstrate experimental research expertise, while being guided by faculty advisors. The topic to be studied is up to the student, who must find a faculty advisor before signing up for the course. Students will be supervised by the advisor as they conduct their literature review, develop the research question or hypothesis, develop the study methodology and materials, construct all necessary IRB materials, run subjects, and analyze the results of their study. This course will culminate in an APA style paper and poster presentation reporting the results of the research. Because Senior Project is the culmination of a student’s scientific research learning experience in the psychology major, it is expected that the project will be somewhat novel, will extend the theoretical understanding of their previous work (or of the previous work of another researcher), and go well beyond any similar projects that they might have done in any of their previous courses.

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
DiFonzo, Nicholas, Anthony Alongi, and Paul Wiele. "Apology, Restitution, and Forgiveness after Psychological Contract Breach." Journal of Business Ethics. (2018): 1-17. Web. «
DiFonzo, Nicholas, et al. "Network Structure Moderates Intergroup Differentiation of Stereotyped Rumors." Social Cognition 32. 5 (2014): 409-448. Print. «
DiFonzo, N., et al. "Rumor as Revenge in the Workplace." Group & Organization Management 39. (2014): 363-388. Print. «
DiFonzo, N., et al. "Network Structure Moderates Intergroup Differentiation of Stereotyped Rumors." Social Cognition 32. 5 (2014): 409-448. Print. «
DiFonzo, Nicholas. "The GBN-Dialogue Model of Outgroup-Negative Rumor Transmission: Group Membership, Belief, and Novelty." Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences 17. 2 (2013): 269-293. Print. *
DiFonzo, Nicholas, et al. "Rumor Clustering, Consensus, and Polarization: Dynamic Social Impact and Self-organization of Hearsay." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 49. 3 (2013): 378-399. Print. *
DiFonzo, Nicholas. "Rumour Research Can Douse Digital Wildfires." Nature. (2013) Web. *
Fine, G. A. and N. DiFonzo. "Uncertain Knowledge." Contexts 10. 3 (2011): 16-21. Print. *
Book Chapter
DiFonzo, Nicholas. "Conspiracy Rumor Psychology." Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them. Ed. Joseph E. Uscinski. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2018. 257-268. Print. «
DiFonzo, Nicholas and Prashant Bordia. "Rumors During Organizational Change: A Motivational Analysis." The Psychology of Organisational Change. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 232-252. Print. ˆ
Published Conference Proceedings
DiFonzo, Nicholas. "Framing Unplanned Pregnancy Decision Making within the Theory of Planned Behavior." Proceedings of the University Faculty for Life Annual Conference. Ed. Joseph W. Koterski. Rochester, NY: University Faculty for Life, 2017. Print. ∆
Invited Keynote/Presentation
DiFonzo, N. "Predictors of Forgiveness Seeking." International Meeting of the Christian Association of Psychological Studies. Christian Association of Psychological Studies. Washington, DC. 30 Mar. 2012. Conference Presentation. *
Difonzo, N. "Rumor Accuracy: Finding Facts or Fashioning Fallacies?" University of Baltimore Psi Chi Meeting. University of Baltimore Psi Chi Chapter. University of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD. 12 Oct. 2011. Lecture. ∆
Published Article
Stupak, Noah,Nicholas DiFonzo, Andrew J. Younge, and Christopher Homan. “SOCIALSENSE: Graphical User Interface DesignConsiderations for Social NetworkExperiment Software.” Computers in Human Behavior, 26.3 (2010): 365-370. Print. † ≠ *
DiFonzo, Nicholas. “Ferretting Facts or Fashioning Fallacies? Factors in Rumor Accuracy.” Social and Personality Compass, 4.11 (2010): 1124-1137. Print. ≠ *