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2012 Award Citations
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2012 SPSP Award Citations


The 2012 Jack Block Award

Dan McAdams

Dan McAdams has been the leading thinker over the past quarter century in the study of personality, identity, and human development. His work has spanned the study of generativity in adult development, the role of power, intimacy, and redemption in human lives, modernity and the self, the psychological study of religion, and autobiographical memory. He is best known for developing a life-story theory of human identity, through which he has demonstrated that people form sense of purpose in their lives by creating "personal myths." This pioneering work is marked by the linking of theory and research, the integration of quantitative and qualitative methods, and an unparalleled ability to draw not only from various areas within psychology, but also from theology, history and philosophy. His book, The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By, received APA's 2006 William James Award and the 2007 Association of American Publishers Award for excellence in professional and scholarly publishing. While advancing the field of personality in important and creative ways, Dan McAdams has been an extraordinary ambassador, representing the best of personality psychology to the social sciences and humanities, and through his lucid writing, to the general public.


The 2012 Donald T. Campbell Award

Daniel Wegner

Dan Wegner is internationally recognized for the originality and quality of his scholarship. He is known within and beyond social psychology for his work on the role of thought in self-control and in social life. In particular, his work on thought suppression has been highly influential, showing that people who are asked not to think about something become preoccupied with thinking about that very thing. As a result, we often end up thinking about the doubts, worries, fears, and alarms that we have tried to erase from our minds. A creative and generative theoretician, his research has also broken new conceptual ground in exploring: transactive memory, or how people in groups and relationships remember things cooperatively; action identification, or what it is that people think they are doing; and conscious will and apparent mental causation, or how we are sometimes misled into thinking that we are the authors of our actions. In each of these research areas, he has identified a topic that had been neglected by previous researchers and conducted highly original and provocative experiments to demonstrate both the importance of the phenomenon and the value of the theoretical ideas he offered to account for it. Dan Wegner has been a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a recipient of the William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.



The 2012 Career Contribution Award

Samuel Gaertner

For more than a third of a century, Samuel Gaertner has been a major contributor to social psychology’s study of how to reduce intergroup prejudice, discrimination and conflict. Such widely used concepts as "aversive racism” and "common ingroup identity” derive directly from his extensive laboratory and field research. And, together with Jack Dovidio, Sam formed one of the most notable and productive mentor-student teams in the discipline’s history. Sam received his B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1964 and his Ph.D. from the City University of New York in 1970 where he worked with Stanley Milgram. As Professor of Psychology at the University of Delaware, he has served social psychology in multiple editorial roles. He has been a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations as well as the current co-editor of Social Issues and Policy Review. Not surprisingly, Sam’s important contributions have received repeated recognition – including the prestigious Kurt Lewin Memorial Award and twice (with Dovidio) the Allport Intergroup Relations Prize.


The 2012 Career Contribution Award

Phillip Shaver

Phillip Shaver is social psychology’s leading figure in research relating attachment theory to romantic love, couple communication, relationship loss, and grieving. Drawing on his initial insight that infant attachment theory should apply throughout life, Phil went on to demonstrate this point empirically and develop it theoretically. His brilliant and generative insight launched a major area of study within social psychology. In addition, his impactful contributions to the field of emotions include individuals’ and cultures’ cognitive representations of emotions and how conceptions of everyday emotions vary across cultures. Phil received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1970 and has held faculty positions at Columbia, New York University, the University of Denver, SUNY Buffalo, and University of California, Davis, where he is currently Distinguished Professor of Psychology. Phil is the author of numerous research articles and books that have influenced the development of theory and research on both relationships and emotions, including a 2007 book (with Mario Mikulincer) on adult attachment. In addition, Phil has given tirelessly to the field through his many editorial responsibilities and leadership positions.


The 2012 Robert B. Cialdini Award

Richard P. Larrick, Thomas A. Timmerman, Andrew M. Carton, and Jason Abrevaya

Richard LarrickEach year the Cialdini Award recognizes the publication that best explicates social psychological phenomena principally through the use of field methods and settings and that Timothy Timmermanthereby demonstrates the relevance of the discipline to communities outside of academic social psychology.

The winners of the 2012 Cialdini Award are Richard P. Larrick, Thomas A. Timmerman, Andrew M. Carton and Jason Abrevaya for their paper entitled "Temper, Temperature, and Temptation: Heat-related Retaliation in Baseball”, published in Psychological Science, 2012, Volume 22. In this article the authors analyze data from over 50,000 major league baseball games to examine the factors that affect the probability of a pitcher hitting a batter. Consistent with past research, they find that pitchers are more likely to hit batters in hot Andrew Cartonweather, but that this effect Jason Abrevayaoccurs only when one of their own teammates has been hit earlier in the game. Using archival data from a field setting where passions often run high, this research demonstrates that heat does not directly affect aggression but rather facilitates aggressive responses to provocation. The authors’ clever and innovative use of field data to explore social psychological phenomena exemplifies Bob Cialdini’s genius for deriving important insights into human behavior from easily observable real-life events.




The 2012 Diener Award in Personality

Richard Robins

Rick RobinsDr. Rick Robins’ many contributions to the field of personality psychology, integrating individual differences with social and developmental processes, are innovative and programmatic. He is a broad and creative theorist, a careful and sophisticated methodologist, and productive researcher. His contributions fall into three broad areas: (a) the nature and development of personality and its consequences for psychological functioning, (b) self-esteem processes and development, and (c) the regulation and expression of self-conscious emotions. He has also published important papers about trends in the field of psychology. Several important features characterize his work: the use of both longitudinal and experimental designs; the use of multiple measures and data sources; the study of people in naturalistic interactions and contexts; an emphasis on individual differences as well as general social processes; and an attempt to understand development across the lifespan, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood. Overall, his work is theoretically driven, programmatic, and focused on important topics and questions. Dr. Robins recently co-edited the Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research, which serves as a contemporary definition of the field. He also recently published two articles that compare and contrast the research methods, statistical procedures, and underlying theoretical assumptions of researchers in personality and social psychology. In a "Perspectives” for Science, Dr. Robins discussed the implications of recent findings in the field of personality psychology for a number of broader scientific and societal issues, including health and mortality, criminality and drug abuse, academic and job success, and the capacity to have successful and lasting relationships. Dr. Robins is truly a leader in the field of personality psychology, and his work provides an intellectual foundation for many important areas within personality psychology, and between personality and social psychology.

The 2012 Diener Award in Social Psychology

Dacher Keltner

Dr. Dacher Keltner embodies the qualities that this award seeks to recognize: groundbreaking research and theory (with a particular emphasis on positive emotion and status hierarchies), wide visibility both within the field (he has served as associate editor for JPSP, is currently an associate editor for Psychological Review, and is co-author of an influential textbook) and outside of the field (he is director of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and was recognized as one of the world’s top 50 visionaries by Utne Magazine in 2008), and research that bridges disciplines (in particular, social psychology, business, biology, and evolutionary thought). Dr. Keltner also has contributed greatly to the field through his outstanding teaching and mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Keltner’s four books and 150 publications have made significant contributions to social psychological topics centering around positive emotion, morality, and status. His articles typically appear in our field’s top journals and a number of them been singled out for distinction. In contrast to the dominant emphasis in psychology on social problems, Dr. Keltner’s research consistently emphasizes the positive side of human nature. He is widely credited with establishing a new research area in the study of positive emotions, including laughter, awe, and pride, among other topics. He is also widely recognized for his contributions to the study of power and hierarchy,and most recently, his groundbreaking empirical work on the psychological legacy of social class.


2012 Distinguished Scholar Award

James Pennebaker

James ("Jamie”) Pennebaker is one of the most broadly influential psychological scientists in the world today. His wide-ranging research on self-disclosure, language use, symptom perception, and health has had an extraordinary impact on personality and social psychology, clinical and health psychology, cognitive science, life-span developmental studies, and even scholarship in the humanities. His initial work demonstrated how social factors influence the perception of physical symptoms, with implications for treatment-seeking and well-being. In a series of studies that have been replicated and expanded in scope, Pennebaker and his team famously showed that writing about personal trauma and other negative life experiences can have long-term positive effects on physical health and psychological well-being. Pennebaker’s groundbreaking experiments on self-disclosure and health opened up broader inquiries into the nature of language use in everyday life. Through computer text analysis programs and other methods, he also has examined the general question of how the words we use in talk and writing reflect our underlying feelings, thoughts, and personality, and how they influence the nature and meaning of social behavior. Pennebaker’s methods for analyzing language use have been applied to everything from personal conversations and diaries to the full corpus of Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays. The findings and implications of this remarkable body of work have been published in many scientific papers and chapters, inspiring whole new areas of research, and they have reached the general public through Pennebaker’s highly successful popular books, such as the The Secret Life of Pronouns.


The 2012 Media Achievement Award

Claudia Hammond

Claudia Hammond is the author of two excellent books (Emotional Rollercoster, Time Warped), she is a regular contributor to numerous top-flight newspapers and magazines (e.g., The Guardian, The Times, Psychologies), and she is probably best known for her work as presenter of All in the Mind and Mind Changers on BBC’s Radio 4, and Health Check on BBC’s World Service. She has won several awards and much acclaim for her coverage of humanitarian and science issues. Her books and radio programs vividly illustrate the relevance of personality and social psychology to contemporary issues. Several years ago, when asked about her aims (in an interview with Ian Florance in The Psychologist), she stated, "What I hope might happen in the future is that just as the field of economics is suddenly catching on to the decades of psychological research on decision-making, that other fields might start to do the same and to realize that there’s all this research out there which could be put into practice. Expert panels and commissions wouldn’t dream of not including an economist. I’d like to see a day when they all have a psychologist too.” The 2012 Media Achievement award recognizes her long-standing, high-quality work in bringing us closer to that day.



2012 Media Book Prize For The Promotion Of Social And Personality Science

James Pennebaker

The 2012 Media Book Prize goes to James W. Pennebaker, for The Secret Life of Pronouns: What our Words Say About Us. Before reading this book, anyone other than the most devoted lexiphile might ask, "Who cares about pronouns?” But Pennebaker shows why pronouns matter: they reflect our personality, goals, and context. The science is compelling, the thrust is novel, and the conclusions furnish a provocative basis for expanding the way we understand and study human behavior. By weaving in references to online self-tests, well-known public figures, and literary characters, Pennebaker has created a book that is engaging, fun, and accessible to readers well beyond the field of Psychology. As such, The Secret Life of Pronouns generates broad interest in the science of psychology and the importance of the research done in our field.


The 2012 Media Prize

Benjamin Le

                  Benjamin Le, Gary Lewandowski, & Timothy Loving

Founded and administered by Benjamin Le, Gary Lewandowski, and Timothy Loving, provides informative, engaging, and interesting coverage of important research on the topic of relationships. The general public voraciously consumes popular books and Gary Lewandowskiadvice columns about relationships, but has had very little access to scientific perspectives on the topic. fills that gap by featuring work published in the major journals of personality and social psychology, providing an important platform for researchers to speak directly to a general audience. This non-profit site has Timothy Lovingpublished several hundred articles about relationships and has a high level of Internet traffic, with over 1,000 people visiting the site each day. The 2012 Media Prize recognizes the major contribution the site has made to informing broader audiences about the important work being done by social and personality psychologists on the science of relationships.


2012 Methodological Innovation Award

David Kenny

David Kenny is a giant among methodologists in psychology. His record of methodological innovation within social and personality psychology is unparalleled. His influential early article on mediation was followed by many other contributions. Widely admired are his sophisticated models of interpersonal perception and truth and bias in judgment. His methodological achievements include innovative research designs (such as the round robin) and analytic approaches for questions involving nonindependent data in dyads and groups. David Kenny has also applied these and other innovative approaches to answer substantive questions such as "Do people know how others view them? and "Do we know how much people like one another? He is also a master of writing clear explanations of complex techniques, both in journal articles and monographs on psychological methods. This award symbolizes the great appreciation that social and personality psychologists have for his many important contributions to methodology.




2012 SPSP Award for Distinguished Service to the Society

 Monica Biernat and Chris Crandall

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology is delighted to present Monica Biernat and Chris Crandall with its Award for Distinguished Service to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.While serving the field in numerous other ways, and while making important and creative research contributions that continue to add greatly to the intellectual vigor of the field, Biernat and Crandall served ably as editors of the Society’s newsletter, Dialogue, for two four-year terms from January 2001 to December 2008. Under their stewardship, Biernat and Crandall kept Society members abreast of news, developments, and events related to the Society and to the broader field of social and Chris Crandallpersonality psychology during a time in which the activities of the Society expanded greatly. Their editorial work kept members informed about the opinions and thinking of other members, including thoughts of top scholars. It exposed members to debates about cutting-edge issues within the field. Their editorial tenure kept members informed in a lively and engaging way. Biernat and Crandall have served the Society in a number of other ways, expressing a deep commitment sense of professional responsibility and generosity of their time and effort. Monica Biernat also served SPSP in a variety of other capacities, including Division 8 Council Representative (2001-2003), member and Chair of the Convention Committee (2007-2009), and Secretary-Treasurer of the organization (2010-2012). With gratitude for their longstanding service to the society, we present Monica Biernat and Chris Crandall with the 2012 SPSP Service to the Society Award.


2012 SPSP Service Award on Behalf of Personality and Social Psychology

Claude Steele

This award honors Claude Steele for his service on behalf of Social and Personality psychology.Dr. Steele is well-known for his many important theoretical and empirical contributions to social psychology. In addition to those contributions, Dr. Steele has served the fields of personality and social psychology in numerous ways. He has served on the boards of numerous professional societies in the field of psychology. As an internationally known scholar, he has represented social and personality psychology in the governance of national organizations, including the Board of the Social Science Research Council, the Board of Directors of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and National Science Board, which advises the President of the United States and the Congress on scientific matters. As a member of the National Academy of Sciences, he advocated for increasing the number of social scientists in the Academy. As the Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, he raised funds to restore the Center to fiscal health. Dr. Steele has served as the voice of social psychology, presenting social psychological research to other disciplines and to the public. His expert testimony in two cases that were ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, demonstrated the relevance of social psychological research on stereotype threat and the achievement of African-American college students to issues of national import. The Society recognizes his extraordinary contributions as a public face of social and personality psychology, and an advocate for our research to the nation and the world.


2012 SPSP Theoretical Innovation Prize

Tessa West & David Kenny

Tessa WestThe 2012 SPSP Theoretical Innovation Prize has been awarded to Tessa V. West and David A. Kenny for their innovative 2011 Psychological Review article entitled "The Truth and Bias Model of Judgment.” (Vol. 118, pp. 357–378).Despite broad interest in the processes of accuracy and bias in psychology, there is no single framework to define and measure them. Rather, theoretical models have been developed to address accuracy and bias within particular domains. As a result, the meaning of accuracy and bias, and the methodological approaches used to examine them, vary considerably. In their innovative article, West and Kenny propose the truth and bias (T & B) model, a single, integrative framework for the study of accuracy and bias across domains within psychology. The T & B model specifies that judgments are pulled by two forces, truth and bias. Countering the intuition that accuracy and bias are negatively related, they highlight the insights that truth and bias may be positively, negatively, or not at all related, and that psychological mechanisms may operate on truth and bias independently: Some mechanisms can lead perceivers to be both accurate and biased, others can lead to more accuracy and less bias, and yet others to more bias and less accuracy. Importantly, West and Kenny articulate how the parameters of their model can be translated into empirical methods that researchers can employ to develop and refine hypotheses of accuracy and bias as they operate across a range of domains. West and Kenny illustrate the broad applicability of their model by demonstrating how it sheds light on theoretical issues in the domain of close dyadic relationships. By virtue of its scope and conceptual sophistication, West and Kenny’s article has the potential to stimulate exciting new lines of inquiry in social and personality psychology, as well as in neighboring disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. For these reasons, West and Kenny are highly deserving winners of the 2012 SPSP Theoretical Innovation Prize.

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