2017 - James Blascovich
Jim Blascovich, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has enriched psychological research through two important methodological innovations. In the context of his multi-modal biopsychosocial paradigm, which distinguishes the motivational states of threat vs. challenge, he shed new light on a broad range of issues in social and health psychology by combining cardiac measures with measures of thoracic resistance, allowing him to illuminate the physiological underpinnings of threat and challenge and their modulation by social factors. Dr. Blascovich also pioneered the use of immersive virtual environment (VR) technology in social and personality psychology. Due to Dr. Blascovich’s innovative work, VR methods are now increasingly used in basic and applied research in social and personality psychology. Dr. Blascovich not only pioneered the use of these methodologies through his research and publications, but also made them broadly available to the field by initiating, leading, and supervising regular NSF sponsored workshops that teach these methods to other scientists. In recognition of his outstanding methodological contributions, Jim Blascovich is awarded the 2017 Methodological Innovator Award.
2016 - Dr. Charles (Chick) Judd
The Society for Personality and Social Psychology is pleased to present the 2016 Methodological Innovation Award to Dr. Charles (Chick) Judd for his ongoing record of major methodological contributions to social and personality psychology. Dr. Judd has made major contributions to the literatures on mediation (including mediated moderation and moderated mediation), latent variable analysis and structural equation modeling, models of interdependence, moderation, and generalizing effects by treating stimuli as random factors. Professor Judd has been a leader in promoting models of psychological process in statistical analysis of experimental results. Back in the early 1980s he and David Kenny anticipated many of today’s discussions about the benefits and challenges to developing and testing causal theories via mediation analyses. He continues to make contributions in this area, specifically addressing mediation of within-subjects effects and how indirect effects can occur in the absence of an overall effect. In the 1990s Judd and McClelland published a highly influential paper explaining why tests of moderation sometimes have very low power. Most recently Dr. Judd’s work has focused on a very important issue in current social-psychological research: The problem of generalizing effects across stimuli. Beyond these contributions, Dr. Judd has made major contributions to graduate education through his highly lauded Handbook of Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology, edited with Harry Reis, and his book Data Analysis: A Model Comparison Approach, written with Gary McClelland. In sum, it is especially notable that Dr. Judd’s methodological contributions are driven by practical problems encountered in actual research. Thus it is especially appropriate that this award comes from SPSP as it is the members of this organization who have benefitted, and will continue to benefit from Dr. Judd’s work.
2015 - Robert Rosenthal, Ph.D.
Robert Rosenthal is being honored with the 2015 Methodological Innovation Award for multiple landmark contributions to rigorous methodology in psychology. In the 1960s Dr. Rosenthal alerted researchers to the impact of experimenter bias on psychological research, first by demonstrating its existence, then by pointing to the importance of nonverbal communication and finally by providing procedures to minimize experimenter bias effects. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Rosenthal extended his interest in unintended effects to education, where the impact of teacher expectations on performance became widely known as the Pygmalion Effect. In the late 1970s and 1980s Rosenthal defined the “file drawer” problem in meta-analysis and offered statistical and methodological solutions to adjust for selection bias. During this period, he also made a number of contributions to statistical methodology, including different ways to define effect sizes in meta-analysis, methods for comparing levels of significance across studies, and the advantages of formulating focused contrasts in analyses of experimental data. In the 1990s with his student N. Ambady, he offered “thin slice” methodology that showed that several seconds of verbal and non-verbal information about a person was sufficient to form implicit impressions that were systematic and lasting. Dr. Robert Rosenthal’s methodological contributions to experimenter bias, non-verbal communication, statistical methods and meta-analysis have had a profound impact on psychological research methodology and on the field of psychological science more broadly.
2014 - James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D.
James W. Pennebaker
has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Methodological Innovation Award for his groundbreaking work in promoting the analysis of natural language as a tool to understand basic processes in social psychology. After impressive work showing that writing about their feelings facilitated people's recovery from trauma, he then explored ways in which people's patterns of word use were associated with recovery. He formalized this methodology by developing the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), a computer program that provides summaries of verbal content of any body of text. LIWC advanced previous approaches to text analysis by incorporating special dictionaries of words that linked word counts to psychologically meaningful word categories, such as the distinction between first-person pronouns and second and third person words, past/present/future words, positive/negative emotions, and power/inclusion references. By providing a helpful web page and staff-supported software, Pennebaker and his colleagues have allowed researchers to apply LIWC methodology to a wide range of psychological questions, including relationships, emotional expression, power differentials and complexity of cognition, using a variety of text material, such as samples of verbal production, poetry, e-mails and electronic texting. LIWK has been applied to the prediction of academic, physical health, and mental health outcomes, and is likely to generate the discovery of new hypotheses, new phenomena, and new ways of thinking about the discipline of social/personality psychology and hence is an appropriate achievement that warrants this special award.
2013 - Anthony Greenwald
The Society for Personality and Social Psychology is pleased to award the 2013 Methodological Innovation Award to Professor Anthony Greenwald. The Implicit Association Test (IAT), which Dr. Greenwald developed with colleagues, represents a truly novel approach to measuring unconscious attitudes and prejudices, and has reinvigorated the empirical and theoretical investigation of the differences between implicit and explicit attitudes and their relationships to each other. The IAT has been used in behavioral research in education, health, law, forensics, marketing, medicine, and other fields, and of course in social and personality psychology. Greenwald’s seminal article on the IAT has been cited over 4,500 times, and his collected works on implicit cognitions have been cited over 12,000 times. The website Project Implicit which he and colleagues developed is visited by tens of thousands visitors weekly. Throughout his career Greenwald has made significant methodological contributions: the key role methodological innovation plays in advancing theory, when to use within-subject research designs, reconsideration of the null hypothesis, unconscious semantic priming, and improving student evaluations. He is one of personality and social psychology’s most rigorous scientists. Greenwald is one of the preeminent methodological innovators in the fields of personality and social psychology, and the IAT that he and his collaborators invented has created a new research area in psychology.
2012 - 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.