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 Do You Study Meaning? Call for Submissions
Posted by: Kathleen Vohs
Title/Position: Distinguished McKnight University Professor
School/Organization: University of Minnesota
Sent to listserv of: SESP, SPSSI
Date posted: June 1st, 2016

Call for Submissions, Special Issue of Review of General Psychology:

“Finding Meaning: In Life, Experience, and Culture”

Editors: Kathleen Vohs, Roy Baumeister, and Mark Landau

We are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity to publish in a special issue of the Review of General Psychology on the topic of meaning. In recent years, researchers have made great strides in the empirical study of meaning. This special issue aims to showcase these discoveries, identify new questions, and stimulate research.

RGP tends to publish theory and literature review papers, although original data are not ruled out. The conceptual contribution is paramount, regardless of whether it is supported with a literature review or original data. Articles will go through the review process, although we intend to choose reviewers who are sympathetic to the importance of the topic and understand the goals of the special issue.

The study of meaning includes but is not limited to:

- Psychological mechanisms that contribute to a sense of meaning. - What makes experience meaningful, and how does the sense of meaningfulness relate to other fundamental aspects of life, including love, work, and misfortune?
- Causes and consequences of the loss of meaning.
- What impedes people from finding meaning?
- Socially meaningful uses of language, including insinuation, levels of meaning, and the power of metaphor.
- How people collectively negotiate meaning (in close relationships or groups) and cope with conflict among meaning sources.
- How and why do cultural meaning systems vary? Do those variations connect to differences in groups’ physical and historical contexts? Have sources of meaning shifted away from, or are conspicuously still attached to, traditional religious and political institutions?
- How does the pursuit of meaning shape perception, reasoning, and judgment? How does the motive to find meaning interact with other psychological motives, such as for control, belonging, and self-esteem?
- Relationships between subjective meaning and objective reality: Is meaning discovered or invented?

Manuscripts typically are 25-40 double-spaced pages, which includes references. Submissions will be due December 30, 2016. We expect to make first round decisions in April 2017, and invited revisions will be due in July 2017. We expect to be able to accept 8 to 12 papers.

If you have an idea for a submission and aren’t sure whether it is a fit, you are welcome to run it by us.

We intend to make this special issue a high-impact contribution to the scientific study of meaning. We hope to see a submission from you!

Kathleen (, Roy (, and Mark (

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