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Awards honor excellence in social and personality psychology

Racial prejudice and stereotyping, pay-what-you-want pricing, cross-cultural training – these are just a few of the research areas of this year's winners of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual awards. Each of the recipients has made a unique and significant contribution to understanding the individual and social factors shaping people's personalities, interactions, and behaviors. 
The Society's highest awards – the Jack Block and Donald T. Campbell awards – go to Charles S. Carver of the University of Miami and John Dovidio of Yale University, respectively. Carver's research on self-regulation over the past 30 years has helped shape modern personality psychology. His work has also examined individual differences in stress and coping and, more recently, the role of certain genes in self-regulation. Dovidio's work has shed light on modern stereotyping and discrimination, in particular how contemporary forms of prejudice and discrimination are more subtle and less recognizable than traditional racism. He is currently executive officer of SPSP and past president of the Society. 
The recipients of this year's Career Contribution awards are Thomas Pettigrew and Harry Triandis. Pettigrew, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been at the forefront of research on racial prejudice. An expert on black-white relations in the United States, he has also conducted inter-group research in Australia, Europe, and South Africa. Triandis, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has made significant contributions to the field of cross-cultural psychology, how human behavior and mental process differ among and between cultures. He has applied his work to design cultural training to help minority groups adjust to society. 
Pay-what-you-want pricing is at the center of this year's Robert B. Cialdini Award for excellence in a published field study. Ayelet Gneezy of the Rady School of Management at University of California, San Diego, and her colleagues conducted a field study involving approximately 115,000 individuals, some of whom were informed that half of their payment of choice for a photo souvenir would go to charity. Payments were five times higher compared to other conditions, showing how corporate and charitable interests can be aligned to benefit all parties. The paper, "Shared Social Responsibility: A Field Experiment in Pay-What-You-Want Pricing and Charitable Giving,” was published with co-authors Uri Gneezy, Leif Nelson, and Amber Brown in Science in July 2010.
Recipients of the Carol and Ed Diener mid-career awards in personality and social psychology are Laura King of the University of Missouri and Galen Bodenhausen of Northwestern University, respectively. Laura King studies personality development in adults, and her work on happiness and meaning of life has attracted broad interest. Galen Bodenhausen is an internationally renowned expert on the mental processes underlying social attitudes, impressions, judgments, and decisions, as well as mental illness stigma.
The 2011 Media Achievement Award goes to David Brooks for showcasing the relevance of personality and social psychology to current events through his insightful articles, columns, and books. Brooks is a columnist at the the New York Times, senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and a commentator on "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer." Winners of the 2011 Media Prize are Jon Hanson of Harvard Law School and Michael McCann of Vermont Law School for creating the Situationist, an online forum for scholars, students, lawyers, policymakers, and interested citizens to discuss the effects of situational forces on society. 
The remaining SPSP awards for 2011 are as follows:
  • The 2011 Murray Award: Michelle Fine of the Graduate Center - City University of New York for her extensive contributions to the study of social injustice, including working with urban youth and young adults in real-world settings.
  • The 2011 SPSP Service Award for Distinguished Service to the Society: Richard Petty of Ohio State University for his varied work for SPSP, including as editor of its journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, president of the Society, chair of the Publications Committee, as well as for his significant contribution in the creation of the new journal Social Psychological and Personality Science
  • The 2011 SPSP Award for Distinguished Service to the Society: Mark Snyder of the University of Minnesota for his work as SPSP president and his contributions to the leadership of the Foundation for Social and Personality Psychology.
  • The 2011 SPSP Award for Service on Behalf of Personality & Social Psychology: Rep. Brian Baird, former U.S. Congressman in Washington (1999-2011), for his steadfast commitment to support and defend scientific research in general, and social and personality psychology in particular.
  • The 2011 Theoretical Innovation Prize: Mark Landau of the University of Kansas with co-authors Brian Meier, Lucas Keefer for their September 2010 Psychological Bulletin article entitled "A Metaphor-Enriched Social Cognition,” which examines how people come to understand the social world through the conceptual metaphors that surround them.
A ceremony at the 2012 annual SPSP meeting in San Diego, CA (Jan. 26-28) will honor all of this year's award recipients.
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