Kathleen Vohs has authored more than 150 scholarly publications and served as editor of 8 books. Vohs has won multiple awards, including the SAGE Young Scholar Award (2008) and the International Society for Self and Identity Outstanding Early Career Award winner (2009). She held the Canada Research Chair at UBC, was a McKnight Land-Grant Professor (2007-2009) and McKnight Presidential Fellow (2008-2010) at UMN, and holds an Honorary Chair in Experimental Consumer Research at Groningen University, Netherlands. Recently, she won the Anneliese Maier Research Award (Humboldt Foundation). She has written invited articles for Science and New York Times. She currently works as the Land O’ Lakes Chair in Marketing for the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She recieved her Ph.D. and 3 year NIH-sponsored post-doctorate from Dartmouth College, and has been a member of SPSP since 1997.
Why did you join SPSP?
I couldn't imagine not joining! Being a part of our field’s flagship society is a huge part of my identity as a social and personality psychologist. To be a bone fide participant in our field, it seemed to me that you just had to be a part of SPSP.
What led you to choose a career in social psychology?
Fun question! My mother was a gerontological nurse, who cared for Alzheimer’s patients. My father was an accountant. She cares desperately about understanding and helping people. He cares desperately about numbers, analytics, and processes. Together, they made me who I am: a scientist who is deeply interested in figuring out why people act the way they do — through numbers and systematic processes.
Summarize your current research, and any future research interests you plan to pursue.
My current research is so exciting. Right now we are working on big theory papers about depletion and money priming. Also continuing empirical projects on those two topics. Fun new work on messiness leading to enhanced creativity, meaning in life, death cues and meaning, and a couple of neat papers with children on money priming and on kids’ interest in material goods over experience. The future looks similar - I am on track to work on these ideas for the next while.
What is your most memorable SPSP Annual Convention experience?
The first one and the conference in San Diego, 2012. Todd Heatherton, my PHD advisor, was putting together the first meeting and I helped him with everything that needed help - which was a lot. Organizing symposium submissions, the lay out of the posters, how to deal with the problem (which we never had) of extremely low attendance. I was program co-chair along with the awesome Veronica Benet-Martinez for the 2012 meeting and so I was heavily invested in that one.
How has being a member of SPSP helped to advance your career?
Being an SPSP member has put me in contact with the cutting-edge scientists and scholars that are helping to lead our field. Plus through the journals and the conference, I get to see the breadth and depth of the terrific work that’s being done.
Do you have any advice for individuals who wish to pursue a career in social psychology?
Sure! Work, work, work, and work. This career is one of persistence, and so the harder you work, the more successful you are likely to be. Keep positive! This job is mostly a series of “no, go away” messages so keeping positive and excited about the fact that you are helping to figure out how the world works is key.
Outside of psychology, how do you spend your free time?
Travel, lots of it. Seeing my collaborators in different cities and countries has me on the road a lot. When in town, I spend lots of time with my family, who all live in the Twin Cities (there are 10 of us). Running, biking, yoga, hanging with friends pretty much fills up the rest of the hours.