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Jonathan Gerber

Associate Professor of Psychology

B.Psych. (hon I), The University of Sydney
Ph.D., Macquarie University

Areas of expertise:


Dr. Gerber came to Gordon College in 2010. He began his teaching and research career in Australia where he received a Ph.D for experimental work on interpersonal rejection. He is interested in the ways that repeated exposure to a social situation influences immediate and long-term perception. He also conducts meta-analyses of social psychological phenomena, especially coolness and rejection. He is teaching social psychology, personality, research methods and statistics, and introductory psychology. In the past he has worked on a federally funded project addressing doctor shortages in rural Australia. His mentors include well-known figures in social psychology (Ladd Wheeler), psychometrics (Lazar Stankov), and measurement theory (Joel Michell) and he traces his intellectual lineage back to Leon Festinger, Raymond Cattell, and John Maze.


Dr. Gerber is fascinated by the ways that personality and social situations shape people’s perceptions of the world. He also conducts meta-analyses of social psychological phenomena, such as rejection and social comparison. He speaks regularly at regional, national, and international conferences.

Representative publications

  • Measuring the Existence of Cool Using a Social Relations Model  "There’s a big difference between what you think is cool and what you think others think is cool”. This research utilized advanced mathematical models to show that coolness only exists when we think about what other people think. Paper
  • On Being Rejected: A Meta-Analysis of Experimental Research on Rejection "Possibly the biggest puzzle in the rejection literature is that rejection makes people act prosocially some of the time and antisocially at other times." This highly-cited study suggested that rejection causes anti-sociality because people want to regain control. PaperPress coverage
  • Clarifying the relationship between ostracism and relational devaluation "It is not necessary to know someone in order to feel rejected by them. Whenever someone violates our expectation of social interaction, we will feel rejected." These three experimental studies that challenge the dominant view that rejection hurts because it devalues current relationships. Paper

Other work includes multi-country collaborations on nostalgia, popular writing for the Salem News, and various chapters dealing with rejection.


Dr. Gerber maintains an active interest in the intersection of faith and art.

For example, a recent paper of his discussed Sufjan Steven's album Illinoise and how to listen to it in an appropriate, minimalistic way. Gerber also serves as the faculty advisor for the College's radio station, Scot Radio. He has helped secure two equipment grants for the station, and has presented a show called The Hidden Tradition, which "explores pop music made by Christians in the 20th century, and looks at how that can inspire us as Christians and also inform as about the nature of redemptive creativity."


Dr. Gerber works closely mentoring and collaborating with students on research. Thus far, his work with these students has led to one paper, and numerous conference and poster presentations. 


Stay updated with Dr. Gerber's research quests and insights by following him on Twitter @ProfGerber and ResearchGate