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The Carol and Ed Diener Award in Personality Psychology
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Award Description

Past Recipients

Past Citations

The Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology

Nominations Closed

The Carol and Ed Diener Award in Personality Psychologyis designed to recognize a scholar (approximately 15-25 years from their first tenure-track appointment) whose work has added substantially to the body of knowledge to the personality field and/or brings together personality psychology and social psychology.

The recipient receives a $1,000 honorarium, in addition to up to $1,500 in convention attendance expenses. This Award is endowed by FPSP.

A generous gift by Ed and Carol Diener to FPSP has endowed this award for outstanding contributions to the field of personality psychology by scientists in their mid-career. The Foundation thanks Carol and Ed Diener for this award and SPSP for administering the selection of the award recipient.


2013 Andrew Elliot
2012 Richard Robins
2011 Laura King
2010 Todd Heatherton
2009 Oliver John
2008 David Watson
2007 Brent Roberts



The recipient of the 2013 Carol and Ed Diener Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Contributions to Personality Psychology is Andrew J. Elliot. Dr. Elliot received his Ph.D. in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin and has spent his career at the University of Rochester where he is currently a Professor of Psychology. The recipient of three different early career awards, Dr. Elliot has made significant and substantial contributions to personality/social psychology. His research on approach/avoidance motivation has fostered renewed excitement about classic theoretical questions. His work in this area has clear and far reaching implications for research in emotion, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and sport and exercise psychology. His research integrating perceptual processes in social judgments implicates as well evolutionary frameworks and the psychology of gender. The quality of his work is demonstrated in its profound impact. He was named the most impactful scholar at his career stage in 2010. Federally or privately funded for the last 17 years, Dr. Elliot’s scholarship reveals a rare combination of theoretical depth, empirical rigor, methodological acumen, and deep interest in questions that matter to the world at large.

His great accomplishments are all the more remarkable considering the time and energy Dr. Elliot has generously shared with the field in various roles. He has been active in a diverse array of service roles on a host of committees within our science. Perhaps most importantly, he has served in numerous editorial capacities, representing the interests of personality psychologists, with vision, wisdom, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm, and compassion. Dr. Elliot has been a tremendous asset to personality science. For his scientific and professional contributions, the selection committee proudly honors Andy Elliot.


Dr. 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 recipient of the 2011 Carol and Ed Diener Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Contributions to Personality Psychology was Laura King. Dr. King received her Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of California Davis and began her career at Southern Methodist University. She moved to the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2001, where she is now the Frederick A. Middlebush Professor. Dr. King has made significant and substantial contributions to personality psychology for the past 20 years. Her research on life meaning and positive psychology has been well received by the field, as indicated by her receiving the Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology. Dr. King has published many important findings about the happiness of specific groups, such as gay adults, and these studies have informed the understanding of the personality dynamics of these groups, as well as how people make meaning from life. Throughout her career she has focused on how people fulfill their wishes, what factors contribute to experience of living a good life, and the subjective nature of self-reflection.

The Foundation

The Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology is a recently formed organization that has been established to raise funds and sponsor philanthropic activities advancing the discipline. As a non-profit charitable organization incorporated in the state of New York, the Foundation is an independent entity legally separate from related organizations, but shares the commitment of those organizations to personality and social psychology. It focuses on development and fundraising, seeking gifts and donations to fund activities that would augment and broaden the vigor of personality and social psychology. In doing so, it seeks to provide crucial support for forward-looking and long-term activities supporting discovery and teaching in personality and social psychology.


Nominations Closed

Nominations for this award have closed. The Carol and Ed Diener Award in Personality Psychology will be presented at the annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, which will take place in Long Beach, California, February 26-28 2015.

Members of this year’s Award Nomination Panel for the Diener Award in Personality are Shige Oishi (Chair), Andy Elliot, and Jen Lilgendahl.

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