Herbert Kelman has been a leading scholar in social psychology for almost half a century. His distinction between three processes of influence-compliance, identification, and internalization-first introduced in the 1950s, has become a classic in the field. His book with Lee Hamilton, Crimes of Obedience: Toward a Social Psychology of Authority and Responsibility (1989), presents a theoretical and empirical analysis with implications for educational and organizational steps to promote individual responsibility and to prevent such horrors as torture, massacres, and genocide.
Early in his career, as one of the founders of the peace research movement, he began exploring the potential contributions of social psychology to international relations. His edited volume, International Behavior: A Social Psychological Analysis (1965), became the first definitive text in this emerging field. In the 1960s, his research in the field focused on nationalism and national identity, and on international educational and cultural exchanges. In the 1970s, it turned to the development of interactive problem solving, an unofficial third-party approach to the resolution of international and ethnic conflicts, anchored in social-psychological theory and following the scholar-practitioner model. He and his colleagues have applied this approach to the Palestinian-Israeli and other protracted conflicts between identity groups. His problem-solving workshops with politically influential Israelis and Palestinians helped lay the groundwork for the Oslo agreement in 1993.
Throughout his career, he sought to apply psychological theory and research to major social issues, always placing the moral dimension at the center of his work. Within the profession, he has spoken out courageously-and systematically-on ethical issues in psychological research, including deception, manipulation of human behavior, exploitation of powerless populations, and the social uses of psychological knowledge.
In all of his activities, Kelman has represented the highest ethical and humane values, as well effective generation and use of social-psychological theory. He has served as a model of the social responsibility of psychologists.