Theoretical Innovation Prize

This award recognizes a distinguished article or book chapter that provides innovative theoretical contribution to social and/or personality psychology.

Sponsor: Division 8


The SPSP Theoretical Innovation prize recognizes theoretical articles that are especially likely to generate the discovery of new hypotheses, new phenomena, or new ways of thinking about the discipline of social/personality psychology. Theoretical contributions may be judged innovative and generative even before they have accumulated substantial empirical support. Therefore an article may be judged worthy for the prize even if it runs the risk of empirical invalidation in the future. The emphasis of the prize is on a contribution's conceptual innovation and potential to motivate new research and further conceptual investigation, rather than on its current level of empirical support.

The prize recipient will receive a cash award of $750.

The prize committee does have the option of not awarding a prize.


Any kind of innovative theoretical contribution can be considered for the prize, including presentations of new theories, new theory-based integrations of disparate areas of inquiry, and significant extensions of existing theories to new areas of inquiry. Theoretical contributions are eligible for the prize regardless of the format of their presentation, whether in stand-alone theoretical papers, within conceptually based literature reviews, or in some other written format that highlights conceptual innovation.
Eligible articles are those published as papers in peer-reviewed journals or as book chapters.

Books and unpublished manuscripts are not eligible.

How to Apply

Eligible articles may be nominated by their authors or by other members of SPSP. The Prize Committee may also consider additional eligible papers even if not nominated by their authors or other individuals.

Nominations should include:
• An electronic file (PDF or Microsoft Word format) of the nominated piece
• A brief, one-page, nominating letter, also in electronic format, describing how the piece excels on the prize criteria.

Past Recipients

Kurt Gray, PhD
Liane Young, PhD
Adam Waytz, PhD


F.R. Conrey 
J.W. Sherman 
B. Gawronski 
K. Hugenberg   
C. Groom


E.R. Smith 
G. Semin 


D.K. Simonton 


Hunyady and J.T Jost 
Barsalou Niedenthal 
L.W. Winkielman 
P. Krauth-Gruber and F. Ric 
F. Strack & R. Duutsch 


Christie H. Blanton
W. Fleeson
John V.S.Y Kwan